Tag: Oumuamua

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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The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Heats Up

by Dirk Schulze-Makuch                  March 11, 2019                    (airspacemag.com)

• A remarkable meeting occurred over the weekend of March 9-10 in Tutzing, Germany, just outside of Munich. Its theme: Are we alone in the Universe? Eminent German astrobiologists and scientists were invited to give presentations, including Karl Menten, Director of the Max Planck Institute, Gerhard Haerendel, recipient of the Allan D. Emil Memorial Award for pioneering achievements in space sciences, Andreas Losch from the Institute of Systematic Theology at the University of Bern, Switzerland, and the article’s author, Dirk Schulze-Makuch, who spoke on the Cosmic Zoo hypothesis.

• The meeting was hosted by the evangelical academy, underscoring the continuing interest of religious groups in the possibility of extraterrestrial life and what it might mean for faith communities. The Catholic Church appears to me to be the most interested group of all. In 2014 the Vatican Observatory even co-hosted a conference in Arizona on whether we are alone in the Universe.

• Earlier this year, the discovery of a new source of Fast Radio Bursts suggested that they could be messages from advanced technological civilizations. Tabby’s Star, which suddenly dips its light curve, has been linked to alien megastructures.

• Last November, Avi Loeb of Harvard University suggested that ‘Oumuamua’, the first object seen to enter our Solar System from interstellar space, could be a lightsail built by an advanced intelligent civilization. Its motion seems to indicate that something other than simple gravitation might be at work.

• The longest unresolved enigma is the Wow! signal, which has all the hallmarks of an alien transmission but unfortunately was only received once. It may have been a transmission from one starship to another, or perhaps from a ship to its home base, and Earth just happened to be in the way.

• However likely or unlikely these anomalies, it is clear that interest in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence is on the rise again, as shown not only by this latest conference near Munich, but by NASA’s renewed interest in what’s now called “technosignatures” of advanced life. Many people, beyond just scientists, understand what a detection of extraterrestrial intelligent life elsewhere would mean – nothing less than a complete re-assessment of our place in the Universe.

 

A remarkable meeting occurred outside Munich, Germany this past weekend. Its theme: Are we alone in the Universe? The most eminent German-speaking scientists in the field of astrobiology were invited to give keynote presentations, which included talks by Karl Menten, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Radioastronomy, on the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life; by Gerhard Haerendel, recipient of the Allan D. Emil Memorial Award for pioneering achievements in space sciences, on messaging to extraterrestrial civilizations (METI); and by Andreas Losch from the Institute of Systematic Theology at the University of Bern, Switzerland, on the scientific, philosophical and theological consequences of the presence of extraterrestrial civilizations. I also gave a talk, on the possibility of complex life on other planets based on the Cosmic Zoo hypothesis.

The meeting was hosted by the evangelical academy in Tutzing, Germany, underscoring the continuing interest of religious groups in the possibility of extraterrestrial life and what it might mean for faith communities. The Catholic Church appears to me to be the most interested group of all. In recent years I’ve seen many of its representatives at scientific meetings. In 2014 the Vatican Observatory (yes, they have their own observatory) even co-hosted a conference in Arizona on whether we are alone in the Universe.

So, are we?

If you were to ask Avi Loeb of Harvard University, he would likely direct your attention to ‘Oumuamua, the first object seen to enter our Solar System from interstellar space. Last November Loeb pointed to six strange facts about ‘Oumuamua, suggesting that it could be an artificial object, possibly a lightsail built by an advanced intelligent civilization. Most puzzling of all is its shape: long, shiny and unusually thin for a rock. And its motion seems to indicate that something other than simple gravitation might be at work.

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Are We Really the Smartest Kid on the Cosmic Block?

by Abraham Loeb                 March 4, 2019                    (scientificamerican.com)

• The human species is not particularly smart. We fight among ourselves in “lose-lose” situations; we do not promote long-term solutions over short-term fixes; and we have been broadcasting our existence to the galaxy with radio waves for over a century without worrying whether about whether there are any predators or competitors in outer space.

• Mainstream scientists box themselves in under an arrogant presumption that extraterrestrials and alien artifacts do not exist, and go from there. They can only conceive of a civilization or a technology that is based upon our own environment, geology and technology. The human race as a whole suffers from the Dunning-Kruger effect, in which those with mediocre abilities insist that they’re unusually talented or smart.

• The only way that our species will mature is to get off this planet and see what’s out there. When an artefact such as Oumuamua passes through our solar system, we need to observe it with an open mind. Could it be technological debris from another civilization? We need to get past the “giggle factor” to explore the unexpected.

• We can only hope that we have not become the laughingstock of our galactic neighborhood by now. But even if we have, we can still get our act together and do better. We should find out first who is on our street by searching with our best telescopes for unusual electromagnetic flashes, industrial pollution of planetary atmospheres, artificial light or heat, artificial space debris or something completely unexpected.

[Editor’s Note]   Accolades to Harvard Professor Avi Loeb (pictured above) for breaking away from mainstream scientists’ intellectual cul-de-sac. Loeb either knows more than he’s letting on, or has great intuition about the strange cigar-shaped “asteroid”, Oumuamua, that passed through our solar system in 2017 with very unusual transit properties. In a recent ExoNews article, “Alliance War Against Deep State – Major Updates Coming”, Corey Goode recounts how he was debriefed on a U.S. Air Force secret space program mission where astronauts entered, investigated, and video recorded the ancient derelict spaceship months before it was detected moving through our solar system. Corey points out that Linda Moulton Howe has now brought forward two military men who have independent knowledge of this USAF-SSP Oumuamua mission, confirming exactly what Corey first revealed.

 

It is unclear how many intelligent civilizations have arisen in the Milky Way galaxy so far, but if some have, a pressing question comes to mind: were they or are they more intelligent than we are?

When reading the morning newspaper, it is difficult to avoid the thought that our own intelligence bar is not particularly high nor difficult to surpass. We fight among ourselves in “lose-lose” situations; we do not promote long-term solutions over short-term fixes; and we have been broadcasting our existence to the galaxy with radio waves for over a century without worrying whether about whether there are any predators or competitors in outer space. (If it’s the latter, they might have been ignoring us because we appear so incompetent.)

If other civilizations do exist, one key in becoming aware of them is whether we are intelligent enough to adequately interpret their signals or to identify a piece of their technology if it should appear in our solar system. One fact is clear: if we assign a zero prior probability for such evidence coming our way, as some scientists did in the case of ‘Oumuamua by invoking the principle “it’s never aliens,” we will indeed never find any. We will be like ostriches burying our heads in the sand.

In fact, this attitude may be one sign that our intelligence isn’t very impressive—that the human race as a whole suffers from the Dunning-Kruger effect, in which those with mediocre abilities insist that they’re unusually talented or smart.

How can our civilization mature? The same way kids do: by leaving home, going out into the neighborhood, meeting others and comparing notes with them. In other words, we can develop a balanced perspective on our current technological accomplishments by engaging in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). Since our own technological development accelerates exponentially with an e-folding time of a few years, it is difficult to imagine what a much more advanced technology crafted by a civilization that had lived for a cosmic timescale—billions of such e-folding times—would look like.

As natural as this suggestion to search might seem, however it is evident that SETI faces a hostile mainstream culture in astronomy. The simple proposal to consider the possibility that ‘Oumumua is technological debris as an explanation for its unusual properties, for example was met with controversy on social media.

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