Month: March 2020

How Soviet Science Magazines Once Fantasized About Life in Outer Space

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Article by Winnie Lee                              March 13, 2020                            (atlasobscura.com)

• Alexandra Sankova, director and founder of the Moscow Design Museum, has mined the proliferation of “Space Age” artwork from the Soviet Union during the Cold War in her new book: Soviet Space Graphics: Cosmic Visions from the USSR, containing more than 250 otherworldly images. Sankova discovered that the popularity of the artwork in Soviet science magazines through the decades mirrored not only the national pride in Soviet space achievements, but was used as a powerful propaganda tool promoting the idea that the Soviet cultural revolution need not be limited to Earth.

• Soviet citizens lived vicariously through science magazines which depicted surreal and fantastical images of a future space-faring lifestyle. Scientists, astronauts, and aircraft engineers were treated like living legends. Science magazines were so popular that at their peak there were 200 different publications.

• But Soviet space illustrations were not drawn to entertain as much as to educate and promote the Communist mission. Posters, magazines, books, brochures, etc., were a most effective means of propaganda. They were fast and cheap to manufacture, and they presented material in a striking and vivid way, making information visual and generally understood.

• In the early days, Russian philosophers and inventors were at the forefront of promoting a fantastic technological future that included travel between planets and universes, and the existence of highly developed extraterrestrial civilizations throughout the entire universe. Soviet writers and illustrators followed suit. With the upsurge of science-related publications, books, novels, and short stories, and the production of science fiction films in the 1920s and then in the 1950s and 1960s, Soviet artists often had a technical education and a sincere enthusiasm for new discoveries in various fields of science.

• With the successful launch of the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1 satellite in the 1950s, the romanticization of space in science magazines was replace with real images of the universe and the newest versions of Soviet rockets, satellites and spacecraft. Illustrations tended to look like real photographs. These fantasy illustrations typically depicted Soviet cosmonauts in a lunar habitat or laboratory with a window view of the moonscape, rather than being in open space. The citizen was always depicted as part of a larger endeavor.

• In the 1960s, the “cosmic style” became the leading motif in Soviet design and architecture. Houses and public buildings began to resemble interplanetary ships, satellites, and flying saucers. Planets, rockets, and space stations dominated playgrounds. Stars and galaxies adorned the walls of schools. The streets were filled with slogans and posters saying, “Communists pave the way to the stars”.

• While previously the Soviet people had not shown much interest in meeting aliens, space exploration stimulated a creative class of Soviet people. Suddenly, alien themes became a popular topic in movies and animation. Scientists and cosmonauts were brought in as film consultants. Many ‘space’ films became instant Soviet classics.

• In the late 1960s and early 1970s when the Soviets and Americans made their first space flights, magazines were immediately filled with images of man in space. The scale of the artist’s imaginations became completely different, depicting massive star cities where people could live for years. A new avant-garde style emerged – vivid, futuristic and full of bright colors. Far off planets seemed like friendly, welcoming worlds.

• The traditional Soviet aesthetic was standardization and unification. It was almost impossible to introduce anything new. The space and defense industries, however, were areas in which new production was encouraged. Reflecting this openness, scientific and technical magazines would often provide sanctuary and ‘official’ employment to nonconformist, underground artists. In the 1970s, there was a shift in magazine design towards psychedelic graphics with unusual perspectives and more complicated characters and storytelling.

• By the 1980s, the space race was in decline (along with the Soviet Union itself). Not a trace of the dreams of the 1960s or the futurology of the 1970s remained. Soviet science magazines were in decline as well. The idealistic images had vanished. Illustrations became gloomier. Images were as realistic as possible, the colors less vivid. And the plots of stories centered on the everyday life of cosmonauts and scientists.

• Today, Russians no longer view space as an end in itself. It is now a means of survival where new sources of energy and technology may be found to address real modern issues, e.g.: the ecology, alternative energy, reasonable consumption, overpopulation, and waste recycling. The romanticism has vanished. Now, everyone sees the job of a cosmonaut or astronaut as basically the same as any other.

 

Alexandra Sankova, author of ‘Soviet Space Graphics’

A tall stele rises from a deeply cratered surface, casting a long, ominous shadow past a row of smaller towers. Straight lines connect the structures to each other, like streets on a map or the projected moves in a game of cosmic chess. The Earth floats serenely in the dark sky, next to the logo that reads Tekhnika—molodezhi, Russian for Technology for the Youth, a Soviet popular science magazine that launched in 1933. The magazine cover, from 1969, illustrated an article highlighting photographs from Luna 9, the Soviet unmanned spacecraft that was the first to survive a landing on the Moon a few years earlier.

 

 

This imagined moonscape is one of more than 250 otherworldly images from the upcoming, visually delightful book, Soviet Space Graphics: Cosmic Visions from the USSR, by Alexandra Sankova, director and founder of the Moscow Design Museum, which collaborated on the book with her. Space Age artwork proliferated alongside the Soviet Union’s popular science magazines—there were up to 200 titles at their peak—during the Cold War. From the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s, in particular, the cosmos became a battleground for world powers jockeying for global dominance. Though the Space Age began with the successful launch of the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1, it was the United States that, just three years after Luna 9, first put a man on a moonscape like the one on the magazine cover.

Soviet illustrations, even ones with whizzing UFOs and bafflingly futuristic machines, were not drawn to entertain as much as to educate and promote the Communist project. An open letter from cosmonauts to the public in a 1962 issue of Technology for the Youth

read “… each of us going to the launch believes deeply that his labor (precisely labor!) makes the Soviet science and the Soviet man even more powerful, and brings closer that wonderful future—the communist future to which all humanity will arrive.” Scientists, astronauts, and aircraft engineers were treated like legends, since outer space was such an important idea in the Soviet Union, according to Sankova. “Achievements of the USSR in the field of space have become a powerful weapon of propaganda,” she says. Soviet citizens lived vicariously through such images, and even the more surreal and fantastical visuals—living in space, meeting new life forms—demonstrated that the idea of cultural revolution need not be limited to Earth.

What do you think informed or inspired these artists’ distinctive takes on other worlds?

Two directions served as an inspiration for the illustrations: the intensive development of the scientific and technical sphere and the serious enthusiasm of designers and artists for new discoveries in various fields of science as a whole. Artists often had technical education. Another important factor that influenced the visuals was the upsurge of publications, books, novels, and short stories, and the production of science fiction films in the 1920s and the 1950 and 1960s.

Long before the dream of space flight came true, inventors and philosophers were convinced that travel between planets and even universes would become possible with time. In Russia, these ideas became widespread after the works of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky were published. In them, the scientist expressed his view that intelligent life must exist not only on Earth, but throughout the whole universe. Tsiolkovsky became famous not only for his work in engineering, but also for the conviction there must exist highly developed extraterrestrial civilizations capable of influencing the organization of matter and the course of natural processes, and for the aspiration to find a road to the cosmic intelligence and establish an organic connection between man and space.

Soviet writers had expressed the most unbelievable versions of encountering extraterrestrial civilizations. Then, in the 1970s and 1980s, space fantasy faded into the background, giving way to chronicles of the real space exploration program.

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Farmington NM 70th Anniversary of Mass UFO Sighting

 

Article by Mike Easterling                             March 17, 2020                          (daily-times.com)

• 70 years ago, during three days – March 16, 17 and 18, 1950 – the town of Farmington in the northwestern corner of New Mexico experienced a sustained UFO invasion. Hundreds of residents watched a display of saucer-shaped UFOs in broad daylight over these three days. But this area was a hotspot for UFOs at the time. Two years earlier in March of 1948, a saucer craft landed on a mesa near the town of Aztec, about 15 miles from Farmington, and was taken away by the military. And of course the infamous Roswell crashes (there were actually two downed craft there) had occurred only three years earlier in 1947 in the southeastern part of the state.

• Farmington was a smaller community in those days with a population of no more than 5,000 people. The sightings took place between 11 a.m. and 12 noon each day in the dusty skies over San Juan County. People stood on the streets looking up at the spectacle. The sightings were thoroughly documented in various regional newspapers at the time. An Associated Press story was picked up by newspapers across the country. References to the Farmington UFO incident exist in many government documents.

• The Farmington UFO armada has become family lore for many long-time residents. Patty Tharp recalls her uncle, Clayton Boddy, recalling the sighting when she was growing up. Clayton was the business manager of local newspaper, The Daily Times, in 1950. “He described the object and said several other people saw it, as well,” Patty said. She noted that he wasn’t the kind to call attention to himself by manufacturing outlandish stories. The Daily Times’ account chronicles how pedestrians along Main Street could be seen looking skyward and pointing, and the paper was “deluged” with calls from readers reporting the objects.

• The saucer-shaped objects appeared to play tag, traveling at “almost unbelievable speeds.” The paper quoted a former Army captain who was walking on Broadway Avenue: “All of a sudden, I noticed a few moving objects high in the sky. Moments later, there appeared to be hundreds of them.” The Army officer said they appeared to be flying at an altitude of approximately 15,000 feet. Witnesses emphatically denied a theory that the objects were bits of cotton floating in the air. Many reported seeing a single red object that appeared to be leading the others.

• Marlo Webb, who later became the mayor of Farmington, was a 26-year old automotive parts manager at the time. Someone alerted him to the objects in the sky so he went out to look at them. He watched 12 to 20 objects, loosely arranged but moving steadily from east to west. The objects moved in an unusual way — “sideways, on edge and at every conceivable angle,” said Webb. “They were darting around almost like leaves in the sky being blown around. This is what made it easy to determine that they were saucer-shaped.”

• Marilu Waybourn was in college in the spring of 1950 when the incident took place. When she came home on break, she must have heard a dozen stories from her friends about the UFOs. Some of her friends even took her to the landing site of one of the objects. It was “a large circle, about 60 feet in diameter, with the sagebrush flattened out and singed weeds around the edge.”

• Pauline McCauley was a little girl herding sheep south of town at the time of the sighting. She heard a sound above her, looked up and spied a circular object that looked like an upside-down bowl. She could see windows on the saucer, and she could see three people inside of it wearing striped caps and navy blue uniforms with brass buttons.

• Ron Boddy is the son of one witness, Clayton Boddy. Ron said that his father was a veteran of World War II and the Korean War and was not easily impressed. His father was still a major in the Army Reserve at the time of the incident. Ron recalled his father getting a phone call later from a military official asking him to refrain from doing any more interviews on the subject. “I remember him saying he was asked not to bring it up or talk about it,” Ron said. But Ron’s father felt that these were some sort of military craft, not extraterrestrial spacecraft.

• On the final day, March 18th, a UFO sighting occurred that day in the town of Tucumcari, New Mexico, to the east near Texas. An Air Force captain and two technical sergeants stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque reported seeing three strange objects in the sky. Newspaper accounts reveal that there were UFO sightings from that time period not just across New Mexico, but all over Texas and well into Mexico.

• A government official responded to the event by claiming the objects in the sky were the remnants of a ruptured, high-altitude U.S. Navy Skyhook balloon. But this isn’t plausible for an occurrence over a three day period. Also, there were no documented Skyhook balloon launches during that time frame.

• David Marler, an independent UFO researcher and author, has spent years studying the Farmington UFO incident. Marler says he is not sure why the Farmington UFO incident hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. His research has uncovered dozens of similar sightings in the American Southwest, Mexico and Central America during that same time period. “There was a lot more other than Farmington going on (during March 1950),” Marler said.

[Editor’s Note]   No doubt that this region of the United States was a hotspot for UFO sightings in the late 1940s and early 1950s. At the time, this region was sparsely populated but contained numerous Army and Air Force military bases. Could this ‘armada’ of UFO craft over northwest New Mexico have been a demonstration of the early stages of the Nazi German ‘Dark Fleet’ being built underneath the ice of Antarctica? Were the Roswell crashes by German/Reptilian servants – the bio-android Greys – a way to ‘seed’ technology to the U.S.?  Perhaps this region of the U.S. was chosen by the Germans/Reptilians as a good place to reveal themselves and their technology to the American military without causing a public panic, paving the way for the US military industrial complex to join with them to provide the industrial capacity to build more advanced spacecraft for both sides, which ultimately happened.

 

FARMINGTON — Farmington has reached the 70th anniversary of one of the more sensational events in its history this week, but it’s a safe bet to say few residents will pay much attention to that milestone – or even be aware of it.

UFO ‘armada’ over Farmington NM

From March 16 to March 18 in 1950, the city experienced a mass UFO sighting, with some reports indicating “hundreds” of residents saw strange objects in the sky in broad daylight over the three-day period.

Their accounts were reported in breathless fashion not just in this publication — “HUGE ‘SAUCER’ ARMADA JOLTS FARMINGTON” screamed the banner headline on page 1 of The Daily Times on March 18, 1950 – but in many others as well. Those include The Santa Fe New Mexican (“Farmington ‘Invaded’ by Saucer Squadron”) and the Las Vegas (New Mexico) Daily Optic (“‘Space Ships’ Cause Sensation”).

An account of the incident by The Associated Press was picked up by newspapers across the country.

It’s a fantastic story, one that might have seemed destined to leave an indelible impression on UFO history and the sizable community of amateur sleuths and researchers who have made it their duty to investigate and publicize such incidents.

And, yet, the Farmington UFO incident of 1950 largely has been lost to history, especially when it is compared to its in-state counterpart, the famed, alleged crash of an alien spacecraft on a ranch northwest of Roswell in June 1947.

While that incident — sketchy as its details may be — is widely regarded as the most famous UFO-related event in history, having achieved legendary status over the years, the Farmington event that took place a few years later barely registers on anyone’s radar.

With seven decades having passed, that remains true, even though Farmington’s brush with UFO fame, or infamy, holds up to scrutiny far better than most other incidents, many of them much better known. That’s the assessment of an Albuquerque man who studies such phenomena, but who acknowledges the need to take a skeptical approach to most UFO reports.

David Marler, an independent UFO researcher and author who works in the health care field, has spent years studying the Farmington UFO incident, delivering his findings in the form of a website that serves as the most exhaustive and in-depth report on the event. He labels it “one of the most dramatic and well-documented cases in the history of UFO phenomenon” and said his research has uncovered dozens of similar sightings in the American Southwest, Mexico and Central America during that same time period.

“There was a lot more other than Farmington going on (during March 1950),” he said.

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Hikers Accidentally Photograph a UFO in California

Article by Inigo Monzon                              March 23, 2020                            (ibtimes.com)

• March 22nd in Riverside, California, a married couple were hiking, and the wife decided to take a photo of her husband and their dog. When they viewed the photo, the husband noticed an object that appeared to flying across the sky behind him. The couple noted that they did not notice the object when they took the photo. It may have been flying too fast for the human eye to see.

• The unidentified flying object appeared to have a dark-colored body, but it did not resemble any traditional aircraft. The object did not show any visible means of propulsion.

• “Wife took this pic this morning while we were on a hike,” the hiking hubby stated. “When we looked at this pic, we saw this strange object. We noticed an odd hole in the clouds to the far left. Also a strange aura around the object. This was while viewing the pic as we did not see this with our eyes.”

 

A couple hiking in California accidentally captured a UFO with their camera. According to a UFO expert, it is possible that the strange object was moving too fast for the human eye to see.

Scott Waring of ET Data Base reported that the UFO sighting took place in Riverside, California, on March 22. It was spotted by a couple hiking in the region.

According to the eyewitness, he and his wife were hiking in the area when she decided to take his photo. As they were viewing the photo, he noticed an object that appeared to be flying across the sky behind him. The couple noted that they did not notice the object when they took the photo.

“Wife took this pic this morning while we were on a hike,” the eyewitness stated. “When we looked at this pic, we saw this strange object. We noticed an odd hole in the clouds to the far left. Also a strange aura around the object. This was while viewing the pic as we did not see this with our eyes.”

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