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Yes, I’m Searching for Aliens – And No, I Won’t Be Going to Area 51 to Look For Them

Listen to “E47 7-31-19 Yes, I’m Searching for Aliens – And No, I Won’t Be Going to Area 51 to Look For Them” on Spreaker.

Article by Bryan Keogh                 July 19, 2019                  (theconversation.com)

  • Astronomy professor Jason Wright is a participating scientist with SETI, the ‘Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence’, and the 2018 winner of the Frank Drake Award that SETI bestows on its researchers who are “dedicated to understanding humanity’s place in the universe”. “Believe me, no one wants to find evidence of extraterrestrial life more than those of us in this field,” says Professor Wright. “We scour the skies for evidence of such extraterrestrial technologies with some of the most advanced equipment in the world for understanding what’s going on in the sky, and we haven’t found anything compelling yet.”

  • With regard to the recent interest in “Storming Area 51” to emancipate aliens, Wright says, “I don’t know very much about Area 51, but I can say that the intense interest in the goings on there related to aliens reveals a deep public interest in what kinds of life might exist elsewhere in the universe.” Wright finds the most fascinating thing about Area 51 is Project Mogul, where the government floated balloons to detect Soviet nuclear testing in the 1940’s. Says Wright, “When one of those balloons… landed in a farm in Roswell, New Mexico it helped fuel the whole alien craze we’re still living with today.”

  • SETI’s space telescopes are designed to detect “biosignatures” with signs of microfossils or metabolism in the atmospheres of distant planets. But SETI is a privately funded operation. NASA and the National Science Foundation spend next to nothing looking for intelligent life in the universe, including technological life.

  • Says Professor Wright, “I see this (Frank Drake) award as validation of my work to help elevate the field of SETI as an academic discipline, and to persuade Congress, NASA and the public that it is worthy of public investment. It is, after all, the scientific approach to answering one of the most profound questions ever asked: Is Earth life unique? Or are there other beings like us out there in the universe?”

  • [Editor’s Note]  Frank Drake was a founding member of SETI and developer of the “Drake Equation” in 1961, which uses a list of subjective variables to determine that the number of planets similar to the Earth that could possibly host an extraterrestrial civilization advanced enough to use radio-wave communication is astonishingly small. This is the basis for SETI’s nearly 60-years of searching for extraterrestrial intelligence.

    As the most recent recipient of the Drake Award, Professor Wright is shilling for the re-establishment of SETI funding from the government which ended in 1993, even though SETI’s research has existed since the early 1960’s and they have found exactly nothing through this process. It seems that the purpose of SETI is to appear to the public to be scientifically searching for extraterrestrial civilizations, while actually finding nothing that might upset the Deep State’s cover-up of a long-standing extraterrestrial presence in our solar system. Wright pretends to know nothing about Area 51 or the Roswell crash, recognizing only Project Mogul which the Deep State used to cover-up the Roswell crash. This, apparently, is the primary criteria for being awarded the Frank Drake Award.

    This is further evidence that SETI is nothing more than a Deep State disinformation program to give the public the impression that serious scientists are doing serious work to locate extraterrestrial life, but there simply isn’t any in this universe to find besides humans on planet Earth. The “scientists” at SETI believe that they should be paid handsomely by the US government for doing the Deep State’s bidding.

 

What started as an internet joke has generated a stern military warning after more than a million people “signed up” to “raid” Area 51 – a secretive military installation in Southern Nevada long fancied by conspiracy theorists to be hiding evidence of a crashed UFO with aliens. The purpose of the planned raid is in order to “see them aliens.” In the following Q&A, astronomy professor Jason Wright discusses the public’s interest in answering the age-old question: Are we alone?

Professor Jason Wright

Since you have a longstanding scholarly interest in extraterrestrial life – and even wrote about the possibility of advanced civilizations in the distant past on Mars or Venus – I presume you’ve canceled your classes for Sept. 20 and signed up to go to the “raid” on Area 51?

To be honest, I was completely unaware of this “raid” until you brought it to my attention! I work in SETI, the scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence, and believe me, no one wants to find evidence of extraterrestrial life more than those of us in this field. We scour the skies for evidence of such extraterrestrial technologies with some of the most advanced  equipment in the world for understanding what’s going on in the sky, and we haven’t found anything compelling yet. But we’re not paying much attention to what happens in Area 51.

Do you think the public knows enough about Area 51? Or is the widespread interest in this raid a good barometric read on how frustrated people are that the government appears to be hiding something there?

I don’t know very much about Area 51, but I can say that the intense interest in the goings on there related to aliens reveals a deep public interest in what kinds of life might exist elsewhere in the universe.

Have you yourself ever tried to do any real research into the happenings in Area 51?

Not Area 51, exactly. The closest I’ve come was a talk I heard by a physicist describing the fascinating science carried out by the military back in the late 1940s, especially Project Mogul, which launched microphones on balloons to see if they could detect nuclear testing going on in the Soviet Union. It’s an amazing story of physics and engineering ingenuity. When one of those balloons with its disc microphones and radar reflectors landed in a farm in Roswell, New Mexico it helped fuel the whole alien craze we’re still living with today. It’s a shame, because the science-fiction-inspired “aliens” conspiracy theory is – from my standpoint – so much less fascinating than the story of the research that was going on then.

There was a time when the federal government provided researchers with money to search for – and teach about the search for – extraterrestrial life. And you’ve lamented that that is no longer the case. If you had your way, how much money do you think the federal government should give America’s researchers to search for aliens or evidence of aliens?

The search for life in the universe is a major priority for NASA and American science. Many of our missions to Mars and our space telescopes are designed with the detection of biosignatures in mind – “biosignatures” being signs of life like microfossils or evidence of metabolism in the atmospheres of distant planets. But despite the billions of dollars spent on these missions, I think many members of the public would be surprised to learn that NASA and the National Science Foundation spend next to nothing looking for intelligent life in the universe, including technological life that might, after all, be easier to find. I think the level of funding for the field should be determined the way the rest of science is, by competitive peer review of proposals for research. So, I don’t know what the “right” level is, but I know it’s not zero.

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The UFO Community Still Believes — and Science is Starting to Listen

by Chabeli Herrera                March 19, 2019                   (orlandosentinel.com)

• Over the past two years, scientists, politicians and professionals have increasingly been willing to touch the taboo subject of UFOs and perhaps lend a little credence to those who still believe.

• In December 2017, the New York Times reported that the U.S. had funded a secret, $22 million project to study UFO claims from 2007 to 2012. Declassified video taken in 2004 by two Navy F/A-18F fighter jets off the coast of San Diego showed a craft with no apparent propulsion moving at alarmingly fast speeds. Navy pilot Commander David Fravor who witnessed the Tic Tac-shaped craft told the Washington Post that it was “something not from Earth.”

• Harvard’s astronomy department chair, Avi Loeb, along with colleague Shmuel Bialy, wrote in a publication in Astrophysical Journal Letters that an interstellar object seen passing through our solar system called Oumuamua “is a lightsail, flowing in interstellar space as a debris from an advanced technological equipment.” Loeb theorized that, “Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization.”

• NASA’s Ames Research Center scientist Silvano Colombano went on record recently to suggest that NASA and the scientific community should be more open-minded in its approach to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. NASA is preoccupied with finding biosignatures through its Center for Life Detection Science than interested in analyzing alleged UFO sightings.

• MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) does analyze UFO sightings. It has 3,500 members in 42 countries. Barbara Stusse, 80, has been coming to MUFON meetings for three years. She says that her mother saw a UFO in 1947. In 1965, she read about Betty and Barney Hill and “believed it”.

• Kathleen Marden is MUFON’s director of experiencer research. She was 13 years old in September 1961 when her Aunt Betty Hill and her Uncle Barney Hill saw a UFO in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. There were two hours they couldn’t account for, and Barney was sure he’d seen eight to eleven figures dressed in black shiny uniforms that were “somehow not human”. Under hypnosis, the Hills related how they were abducted and physically examined inside the UFO. “They examined their hands, they took their shoes off, they examined their feet, they did tests on them that appear to be testing their nervous systems, as well,” says Marden. She has written about the government’s ‘tampering’ with the Hill case. But lately Marden has seen a recent shift in the credence that people give to the UFO phenomenon, with the 2017 New York Times article being the turning point.

• Trish Bishop of Kissimmee, Florida, relates her story of March 2013 at dusk when she saw a tall, muscular man wearing a formfitting tan colored uniform, boots and gloves was lingering in her backyard at the edge of a forest. But his face wasn’t human. His eyes bulged far out of their sockets. His jaw was over-sized. And his skin was white as chalk. Paralyzed with fear, she pretended not to watch the man while she called for help on her phone. Then man appeared to be climbing invisible steps. When he was about 10 feet off the ground, he turned his back to her and pulled himself up “into a UFO?” she thought — and he was gone. After four years, she got the nerve to report the incident to MUFON.

• The challenge with UFO and alien sightings has always been the lack of evidence. Bishop said she was too scared to take a photo of her alien. Little to no consequential evidence exists in other cases. University of Central Florida psychology professor Alvin Wang thinks that people project their predisposition to believe in conspiracy theories, and seek out others who reaffirm that belief. “[T]hey get …confirmation support, when they are members of UFO believers community,” said Wang.

 

He appeared as if a hologram at first — then solid — suddenly there and clear as you or I, at the edge of the forest behind Trish Bishop’s home in Kissimmee.

It was a Thursday in March 2013, the glow of the afternoon tucking in for the day behind the trees. He stood tall, at least 6-foot-3, perhaps 220 pounds and certainly muscular, wearing a formfitting tan colored uniform, boots and gloves. He lingered by the crape myrtle tree in the middle of the backyard.

When he turned around, it was his face, she remembers, that stopped her.

Bulging eyes jutting so far out of the sockets that Bishop wondered whether he could close them. Skin white as chalk.
And a jaw so large, it dispelled any notions the government worker had of the visitor being human.

“If you compare a human jawbone to his, we would be a chihuahua to a pit bull,” Bishop said.

Paralyzed with fear, she watched as what she believed to be an alien appeared to climb invisible steps, stopping often to snatch glances at her from where she sat on her back porch, fumbling with her phone to appear as though she couldn’t see him.

Her finger was pressed on the number “9” to dial for help.

When he was about 10 feet off the ground, he turned his back to her and pulled himself up — “into a UFO?” she thought — and was gone.

Bishop sat stunned. “I’ve got a freaking alien in my backyard,” she thought.

It would be four years before she told anyone her story, before she’d discover the Mutual Unidentified Flying Objects Network, a nationwide organization 50 years old, and file her report under case number 84886 with the local Florida chapter.

But she worried: Who would believe her?

These days, more people than you’d think.

Across restaurants and meeting rooms in the United States, MUFON groups still gather every month to discuss cases like Bishop’s with the enthusiasm that once gripped the nation during the Cold War, when UFO sightings still made a splash on the front page.

The Space Coast group, made up of some former NASA employees and engineers, has 118 members, the largest in the state. Across the U.S. they number 3,500, with additional offices in 42 countries.

For many years, they were alone entertaining UFO theories. No more.

In the past two years, scientists, politicians and professionals have increasingly been willing to touch the taboo subject and perhaps lend a little credence to those who still believe.

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UK Leads Hunt for Aliens With £25 Million Fund to Find Extraterrestrials

by Sean Martin                   March 8, 2019                    (express.co.uk)

• The UK Space Agency has announced it will spend £25 million on the ‘Planetary Transits and Oscillations of Stars’ mission, placing 26 telescopes and cameras around the globe which will look for habitable planets in the ‘Goldilocks zone’ in one million nearby star systems. The mission will be headquartered at the University of Warwick (Coventry, England).

• The telescopes will look at the transit zones of the star when a planet crosses the face of a star, and scientists can note a dip in brightness. The telescopes will then examine the chemical make-up of the planets, and look for ‘biosignatures’ – signs of life. Science Minister Chris Skidmore said, “(This mission) may eventually lead to us answering the question of whether extra-terrestrial life exists.”

• Professor Don Pollacco of the University of Warwick leading the PLATO Science Management Consortium, said, “These planets will be close enough to facilitate a historic search for signs of life in their atmospheres using the next generation of large telescopes. For the first time we will start to understand if life exists beyond the solar system.”

• The UK government will also spend £10million to help create the ‘Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer’, which will examine how space weather interacts with Earth. “Space weather – such as solar wind – is a potential threat to our communications systems here on Earth so this research examining how the wind interacts with our planet’s electromagnetic system is important,” said Skidmore.

• “[O]ur investment will ensure UK scientists and engineers will be leading participants in all aspects of the mission… through our ongoing membership of the European Space Agency,” Chris Lee, Chief Scientist at the UK Space Agency, said. “(This) is a game changer in Exoplanet science.”

 

The UK Space Agency has announced it is committing the large sum to a mission which will browse the universe for signs of life. The mission is known as Plato, short for Planetary Transits and Oscillations of Stars, and will use 26 telescopes and cameras around the globe which will examine one million nearby star systems. University of Warwick is heading the mission, which states the plan is to look for habitable planets that are orbiting the ‘goldilocks zone’ – a region around a host star where it is neither too hot nor too cold.

The telescopes will look at the transit zones of the star to determine this. The transit zone is when a planet crosses the face of a star, and scientists can note a dip in brightness.

The telescopes will then examine the chemical make-up of the planets, and look for ‘biosignatures’ – signs of life.

Science Minister Chris Skidmore said: “Work to discover Earth-like planets around other stars may eventually lead to us answering the question of whether extra-terrestrial life exists.”

Professor Don Pollacco, University of Warwick, which leads the PLATO Science Management Consortium, said: “These planets will be close enough to facilitate a historic search for signs of life in their atmospheres using the next generation of large telescopes.

“For the first time we will start to understand if life exists beyond the solar system.”

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FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. ExoNews.org distributes this material for the purpose of news reporting, educational research, comment and criticism, constituting Fair Use under 17 U.S.C § 107. Please contact the Editor at ExoNews with any copyright issue.

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