Tag: NASA

SpaceX docks with ISS: the dark side of corporations in space

Michael E. Salla, Ph.D.

Conceptal artwork of the SpaceX Dragon attatched to the ISS Station. Picture: NASA

Today the SpaceX Dragon craft caught up with and began docking with the International Space Station (ISS). After SpaceX’s successful launch on Tuesday morning, NASA’s administrator Charles Bolden said: “There were people who thought that [NASA] had gone away [with the retirement of the space shuttles]. But today says, No, we’re not gone away at all. We’ve got the SpaceX-NASA team, and they came through this morning with flying colors.” The SpaceX mission is part of a long term strategy of turning over supply and transport of the ISS to the private sector. The buzz word now is private sector cooperation with NASA in near Earth missions, while NASA concentrates on more expensive deep space missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond. Is private sector involvement in the space industry a good thing? According to the Obama administration, NASA and SpaceX CEO Edwin Musk, that’s a big affirmative. Yet, there is a historical dark side to private sector involvement in space missions.

In the movie Avatar, a private corporation is running a mining operation on the moon, Pandora, of a giant gaseous exoplanet in the Alpha Centauri star system. Driven by profit margins, the corporation displays few scruples in driving off the indigenous population from land where a precious metal, unobtanium, is found. The movie depicts a future where private sector involvement in space is dictated by greed, secrecy and unaccountable actions by corporate managers. The underlying premise is that such excesses would not have happened with a government run space mission such as NASA where public transparency and accountability is the norm. Could something similar happen in the future with SpaceX and other corporations destined to partner with NASA in space missions? More importantly, has the private sector already been deeply involved in space missions that have been conducted without public knowledge?

A glimpse into the hidden world of classified space missions is found in the memoirs of President Ronald Reagan. The entry for Tuesday, June 11, 1985 (page 334) reads:

Lunch with 5 top space scientist. It was fascinating. Space truly is the last frontier and some of the developments there in astronomy etc. are like science fiction, except they are real. I learned that our shuttle capacity is such that we could orbit 300 people.

This is curious since the Space Shuttle held a maximum of eight people and only five were built for space flight. Even if all five took off fully loaded at any one time, it would have been impossible to place and maintain 300 astronauts in orbit. Was Reagan revealing the existence of a highly classified space program different to NASA’s, that could accommodate hundreds of astronauts in orbit? Yes, according to dozens of military and corporate whistleblowers, who claim that a secret space program exists, and was built by private corporations.

According to whistleblower testimony, corporations have become the ultimate repository of the nation’s secrets concerning advanced technology programs involved in classified space missions. Even more significant are claims that some of these programs are related to the UFO phenomenon and extraterrestrial life. Whistleblowers have come forward to reveal how corporations have achieved control over these classified programs. A deceased corporate whistleblower revealed how during the mid-1980s, he worked for six months as an archivist for a large aerospace defense contractor based in California. It was a temporary assignment with his employer at an obscure office building. The archivist found many files dealing with flying saucers and extraterrestrial life. The files contained: “Reports, photos, media materials (tapes, films, video cassettes) and material from crashed saucers.” When asked where the files came from he revealed the “materials came from everywhere. CIA, Air Force, Navy, Army, DARPA, NORAD, DoD, FBI, and government officials to name most.”

 

If the archivist’s testimony is accurate, this means that prior to the mid-1980s UFO files were taken out of the possession of U.S. government agencies and military departments due to security concerns. One reason for this is that the proprietary rights of corporations would enable UFO files to remain hidden from the prying hands of congressmen, and private citizens using the Freedom of Information Act first passed in 1966 and strengthened in 1974.

The above scenario is supported by comments by Ben Rich, former CEO of Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works. In hand written responses to questions from John Andrews of the Testor Corporation in 1986, Rich confirmed the existence of both man-made and extraterrestrial UFOs. Most importantly, Rich revealed to Andrews how control of UFO files had slipped from the U.S. military to private corporations. Andrews relayed Rich’s responses to questions from UFO investigator William McDonald which confirmed:

There are two types of UFOs — the ones we build, and ones THEY build. We learned from both crash retrievals and actual “Hand-me-downs.” The Government knew, and until 1969 took an active hand in the administration of that information. After a 1969 Nixon “Purge”, administration was handled by an international board of directors in the private sector.

Former astronaut, Dr Edgar Mitchell has confirmed an incident in 1997 where the Head of Intelligence for the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff was supplied the code names of UFO related projects, but was denied need-to-know access. The first to report the incident was UFO researcher, Dr Steven Greer, who in 2001 revealed that Admiral Wilson was furious over his failure to gain access. On a July 4, 2008 CNN interview, Dr Mitchell confirmed Greer’s version of events when he said that Admiral Wilson “had found the people responsible for the cover-up and for the people who were in the know and were told, I’m sorry, admiral, you do not have need to know here and so, goodbye.” A reliable source furthermore revealed to UFO researcher Richard Dolan that Admiral Wilson was frustrated by attorneys of a corporation that denied him access.

The only means for private citizens to monitor government actions is to use the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Yet FOIA doesn’t cover private corporations that regularly fulfill thousands of government contracts in sensitive national security projects. The private sector has become a means of hiding the nation’s deepest secrets when it comes to advanced technology and space travel from an unsuspecting public.

The successful SpaceX mission appears to open a bright vista of future cooperation between corporations and government agencies in space. Yet this belies a darker history of corporate involvement in highly classified space missions involving advanced technologies, some of which are related to the UFO phenomenon. These classified programs have been conducted with no public transparency and accountability. History has shown that without transparency and accountability, governments cannot be relied upon to conduct policy in a way that is consistent with nation’s constitutional values. This is even less the case for private corporations, driven by profit margins and proprietary interests when it comes to advanced technology programs. Yes, let’s celebrate SpaceX’s accomplishments, but keep in mind that this doesn’t open up a new chapter of corporate government cooperation in space. Such cooperation has been secretly happening in the classified world for decades. Uncovering the dark history of corporate involvement in classified space missions will be truly something to celebrate.

© Copyright 2012. Michael E. Salla. Exopolitics.org

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Further Reading

Detecting extraterrestrial cities on exoplanets becomes possible

By Michael Salla, Ph.D.

An artist's concept of 55 Cancri e, a hot "super-Earth" that orbits its sun every 18 hours. Credit: NASA

For the first time, NASA has been able to detect infrared light from a rocky “super-earth” variety of exoplanets. The Spitzer Space Telescope detected infrared light from the exoplanet “55 Cancri e” which has a rocky core and is nearly twice the Earth’s diameter, and eight times its mass. While 55 Cancri e is much too close to its sun – 55 Cancri A – to sustain life as we know it, the detection is a historic first for NASA. The detection of infrared light on the super-earth category of exoplanets, prime candidates for finding extraterrestrial life, makes possible the discovery of alien cities in distant solar systems.

On May 8 NASA announced: “NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has detected light emanating from a “super-Earth” beyond our solar system for the first time. While the planet is not habitable, the detection is a historic step toward the eventual search for signs of life on other planets.”  According to Dario Borghino from  Gizmag: “This marks the first time that light has been detected from a planet of such a small size, and the find is telling astrophysicists where to look in their search for signs of life on planets beyond our own.”

The plot shows how the infrared light from the 55 Cancri system, both the star and planet, changed as the planet passed behind its star. Credit NASA.

The Spitzer Space Telescope was launched by NASA in 2003 and studies the universe in infrared light. In contrast to the Kepler Space Telescope that studies how distant stars dim as exoplanets cross in front of them, Spitzer analyzes infrared light directly from the exoplanet itself. Basically, as the exoplanet goes behind the sun, the total infrared light from the sun and exoplanet dims. In the NASA statement announcing the finding, the infrared light coming from both “55 Cancri e”  and its sun were analyzed in the attached table (on right).  As 55 Cancri e” dropped behind its sun, the total thermal emission dropped, and increased when the exoplanet appeared again in its orbit.

This raises the question, could Spitzer detect a large extraterrestrial metropolis giving off heat in a distant world? We can look for an answer from Dr. William Danchi, Spitzer program scientist who states:

The radiation that is measured is in the infrared, which is sensitive to the composition as well as temperature of the atmosphere of the planet. Spitzer was able to measure such a small diameter planet because it was hot, and hot objects emit exponentially more photons that cool objects. It would be much harder to detect a small, cool planet.

An earth like planet in a distant solar system orbiting the habitable region of its solar system, would be much cooler than 55 Cancri e which is much closer to its sun, but what if the habitable exoplanet was covered by very large extraterrestrial cities generating vast amounts of heat? Could the thermal infrared signature of an alien New York City be seen using the detection method pioneered by the Spitzer telescope?

Infrared satellite image of New York City, USA.

While Spitzer may lack the detection sophistication to measure the thermal signature of large alien metropolises, its replacement, the James Webb Space Telescope is being promoted as having such a capacity. According to NASA: “The [Spitzer] spacecraft is pioneering the study of atmospheres of distant planets and paving the way for NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope to apply a similar technique on potentially habitable planets.” The James Webb telescope launches in 2018, until then, we will have to rely on the Spitzer telescope which officially retires in 2014, to find an alien New York City.

© Copyright 2012. Michael E. Salla. Exopolitics.org

Permission is granted to include extracts of this article on websites and email lists with a link to the original. This article is copyright © and should not be added in its entirety on other websites or email lists without author’s permission.

Further Reading

1976 life on Mars controversy resurrected in new scientific report

By Michael E. Salla, Ph.D.

Viking 2 Lander photo of Martian surface in 1976

A team of scientists and mathematicians analyzing data from the 1976 Viking Mission have concluded that life on Mars was detected in one of the four experiments conducted by the two robotic landers. Their report, “Complexity Analysis of the Viking Labeled Release Experiments,” released last week in the International Journal of Aeronautical and Space Sciences” has resurrected a controversy over the results of the Viking Mission’s “Labeled Released experiment” designed by Dr Gilbert Levin. The Viking mission was the only Mars mission so far that was designed by NASA to detect life. Dr Levin was confident that the experiment had detected microbial life on Mars, but his NASA colleagues disagreed and his startling finding was forgotten in the Martian sands of time. This new scientific investigation has concluded that Levin was right all along.

Wikipedia summarizes NASA’s official position on the “Labeled Released experiment” and the position taken by Levin’s colleagues back in 1976:

In the [Labeled Release] LR experiment, a sample of Martian soil was inoculated with a drop of very dilute aqueous nutrient solution. The nutrients (7 molecules that were Miller-Urey products) were tagged with radioactive 14C. The air above the soil was monitored for the evolution of radioactive 14CO2 gas as evidence that microorganisms in the soil had metabolized one or more of the nutrients.…. The result was quite a surprise following the negative results of the first two tests, with a steady stream of radioactive gases being given off by the soil immediately following the first injection. The experiment was done by both Viking probes the first using a sample from the surface exposed to sunlight and the second probe taking the sample from underneath a rock both initial injections came back positive. Subsequent injections a week later did not, however, elicit the same reaction, and the result remains inconclusive.

Here is how Irene Klotz from Discovery News described the novel approach taken by scientists in the newly released report:

Researchers crunched raw data collected during runs of the Labeled Release experiment, which looked for signs of microbial metabolism in soil samples scooped up and processed by the two Viking landers. General consensus of scientists has been that the experiment found geological, not biological, activity.
The new study took a different approach. Researchers distilled the Viking Labeled Release data, provided as hard copies by the original researchers, into sets of numbers and analyzed the results for complexity. Since living systems are more complicated than non-biological processes, the idea was to look at the experiment results from a purely numerical perspective. They found close correlations between the Viking experiment results’ complexity and those of terrestrial biological data sets. They say the high degree of order is more characteristic of biological, rather than purely physical processes.

The team of scientists are very conclusive in their 2012 report:

The only extraterrestrial life detection experiments ever conducted were the three which were components of the 1976 Viking Mission to Mars. Of these, only the Labeled Release experiment obtained a clearly positive response…. We have applied complexity analysis to the Viking LR data….We conclude that the complexity pattern seen in active experiments strongly suggests biology while the different pattern in the control responses is more likely to be non-biological….These analyses support the interpretation that the Viking LR experiment did detect extant microbial life on Mars.

One of the scientists, Dr Joseph Miller a neuropharmacologist and biologist with the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, was interviewed by Discovery News and said: “On the basis of what we’ve done so far, I’d say I’m 99 percent sure there’s life there.”

So are the results from this new scientific investigation of the Viking data conclusive, was life discovered on Mars? A 99 % degree of certainty is very high, and while critics might argue is not conclusive, it would at the very least, have required follow up life detection experiments by NASA over the last three decades. NASA however has not designed such experiments ever since the 1976 Viking Mission. Why not?

According to NASA critic, Richard Hoagload, co-author of Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA, NASA is not interested in discovering whether life exists or has existed on Mars. Such a discovery would be too disturbing for human civilization as we know it, as starkly revealed in the 1961 NASA Brookings Report presented to the US Congress that Hoagland helped bring to public attention back in 1993. NASA’s real mission appears to be one of merely justifying funding for future space missions that do nothing to disturb the scientific consensus that we are alone in the universe. NASA data pointing to evidence of life in our solar system is systematically ignored, censored or simply disappears. Scientists challenging this policy are silenced, discredited, and/or fired. NASA’s next robotic mission, Mars Science Laboratory (aka Curiosity) again does not have any life detection experiments on board. It’s hard not to disagree with Hoagland’s conclusion that NASA’s real mission is a dark one after all – don’t do anything to prove that life exists elsewhere in our solar system. Thankfully, more and more scientists do not agree, as reevaluation of the 1976 Viking Mission data clearly shows.

© Copyright 2012. Michael E. Salla. Exopolitics.org

Permission is granted to include extracts of this article on websites and email lists with a link to the original. This article is copyright © and should not be added in its entirety on other websites or email lists without author’s permission.

Further Reading

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