Air Force Academy Space Sciences Textbook


Colonel Donald G. Carpenter

ENVIRONMENTAL SPACE SCIENCES was a book taught at the Air Force Academy and written by Professor and Colonel who was the Commander of the SPACETRACK Radar Site at Shemya, Alaska. He was the originator of the Space Science Course at the USAF Academy. Col. Carpenter was kind enough to send Eastern MUFON the book he edited and wrote with six other officers. Most of the book pertains to science of space, the sun, planets, plasmas, magnetic fields, radiation, meteors, planets, space dust, Cosmo chemistry, the planets and moons. George Filer copied this chapter manually for you the reader, because I felt it was of importance, so I hope you enjoy it. All the chapters are of interest to the Ufologist, such as the Search for Extraterrestrial Life, but most important is:



 Credible observers reporting incredible objects,”


said USAF General J. A. Samford in the year 1952… and his comment is still true today. Honest and intelligent people are still reporting strange objects that are difficult, and sometimes impossible, to relate to known physical phenomena. Enough attention has been brought to this serious problem that the US Government officially took action on two separate occasions. The first time was when it was thought that UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects) might possibly be evidence of the technological capability of a foreign, but Earth based, power, In reaction to that possibility, the US Air Force Foreign Technology Division located at Wright Patterson Air Force Base) was given the tough job of determining whether or not the mysterious UFOs were a threat to the security of the United States. Unfortunately, many people thought that the job was to determine exactly what the UFOs were. In the years which have followed, the Air Force has been unjustly maligned for supposedly “covering up” the “real truth” about UFOs. In actuality, the Air Force did precisely the job to which it was assigned. . . it determined the extent to which the UFOs threatened national security. The extent was found to be zero! However, the public was so unhappy with the lack of any real conclusions as to the nature of the UFOs, that the Government took further actions to resolve the issue. The extent was found to be zero! However, the public was so unhappy with the lack of any real conclusions as to the nature of UFOs, that the Government took further actions to resolve the issue. As one of those actions, in 1966 it contracted for an independent scientific study to determine the real nature of UFOs. This chapter does not restrict itself to only that study but instead covers the UFO problem from a broader view.


Unidentified Flying Objects

Part of the broader view is to recognize that, in any scientific endeavor, the first step is to acquire data. The second step is to categorize the data (to portray it in systematic fashion) so that any existent relationships revealed, and the third step is to form the hypothesis. The hypothesis so formed are then tested by using them to develop and carry out experiments that yield more data. The new data are then used as a new starting point for the entire process, and the process is repeated over and over until (hopefully) adequate understanding is achieved. The UFO phenomenon frustrates this approach because the data taken so far exhibits both excessive variety and vagueness. The vagueness is caused in part by two things: (1) lack of preparation by the observer and (2) lack of timeliness by the investigator. The observer leaves his home, in only rare cases anticipating an encounter with a UFO. Photographs are overexposed or underexposed, and rarely in color. And very few people carry around a radiation counter or a magnetometer. On the other hand, the investigator may have all these tools and more with him but he arrives after the phenomena have vanished. In addition to the foregoing problems, there is a very high level of “noise” in the data. The noise consists of mistaken reports of known natural phenomena, hoaxes, reports by unstable individuals and mistaken removal of data regarding possible unnatural or unknown natural phenomena (by overzealous individuals who are trying to eliminate all data due to known natural phenomena).

CondonRepot An example of this type of elimination is revealed on page 141 of the ‘Bantam edition of the Condon Report (the report on the Government financed scientific study referred to earlier and headed by Dr Edward U. Condon). In one paragraph a sighting is describes as follows: Observers in the CAA (now FAA) control tower saw an unidentified dark object with a white light underneath, about the ‘shape of an automobile on end.’ That crossed the field at about 1500 feet and circles as if to come in for a landing on the E-W runway. This unidentified object appeared to reverse direction at low altitude, while out of sight of the observers behind some buildings, and climbed to about 200-3000 feet, heading away from the field on a 120-degree course. Then it went into a steep climb and disappeared into the overcast.” The Condon Report agreed with the Air Force view that this was a case of a small, powerful private plane, which almost landed at the wrong airport.


However, Dr James E. McDonald of the University of Arizona became curious about the explanation. He contacted the observers personally and found that the foregoing report was in error. The UFO did not go out of sight behind any buildings. Instead, it stopped and hovered in the air for 20 seconds or more, during which time the two observers took a good look at it with a pair of 7x binoculars. At that time the UFO was over a landmark, approximately 3,000 feet east northeast of the tower. It in no way resembled an aircraft. Both of the observers were surprised to learn that there was a Condon Project . . . no one from the Project had contacted them to verify the Air Force file data on this case. Thus, a Report, which comments strongly against many other people for not adequately investigating UFO reports before repeating them, is itself open to criticism for exactly the same thing. Such unfortunate actions raise questions as to the validity of the Report’s conclusions.

As has been just shown so dramatically, it requires considerable care to recognize and acquire valid data. In addition, those data, which do appear to be valid, exhibit an excessive amount of variety relative to the statistical samples, which are available. This has led to very clumsy classification systems, which in turn provide quite infertile ground for formulation of hypothesis.


The very first problem you encounter, when attempting categorize data, is deciding which data pertains to the matter of interest. After all, you don’t wish to include mistaken information, which pertains to a different phenomenon. Such an action could block any chance at understanding. Therefore, you must remove all non-relevant information from your database. After that has been done to the best of your ability, you must then select a system for categorizing the remaining data. Unfortunately, no effective system has yet been devised for UFOs, although a number of such systems have been proposed. The net result is that almost all UFO data are either treated in the form of individual cases, or in the forms of inadequate classification systems. However, these systems do tend to have some common factors, and a collection of these factors follows:

Physical Characteristics


Size; shape (disc, square, ellipsoid, football, etc.) Color or colors, luminosity.


Number of UFOs, formation of UFOs, location (altitude, direction, etc.) patterns of paths ( climbing, zig-zagging, etc.), flight characteristics (wobbling, fluttering, etc.) time duration, periodicity of sightings, avoidance, hostility, curiosity or inquisitiveness, touch ground.

Associated Effects:

Ground disturbance (standing peaks on surface of water, dust stirred up, leaves moved, etc.). re-action to acceleration, (cars shoved backwards, etc.)


Radiation (burns, induced radioactivity etc.) Electromagnetism (compass, radio, ignition systems, etc.) . Sound (none, hissing, humming, roaring, thunderclaps, etc.) Vibration (weak, strong, slow, fast) Smell (ozone or other odor) Flame (how much, where, when, color) Smoke or cloud (amount, color, persistence) debris (type, amount, color, persistence) Inhibition of voluntary movement by observers, . Sighting of “creatures” or “beings”

After Effects:

Depressed or flattened areas, Burned areas or animals, Dead or “missing animals”. Mentally disturbed people, Missing items.


There are very few cohesive theories as to the nature of UFO’s. Those theories that are advanced do not always take into account the evidence that UFO’s are a global phenomenon, which may have persisted for many thousands of years. Such persistence is well reported, and will be commented upon shortly. Of course, the more ancient the reports the less sophisticated the observer. Not only were the ancient observers lacking the terminology necessary to describe complex devices (such as lasers or helicopters) but they were also lacking the concepts necessary to understand the true nature of such things as television, spaceships, rockets, nuclear weapons and radiation effects.

To some, the most advanced technological concept was a war chariot with knife blades attached to the wheels. By the same token, the very lack of accurate terminology and descriptions leaves the more ancient reports open to considerable misinterpretation and much more may be unintentionally read into such reports than is actually there. Therefore, if a theory does not account for the existence of UFOs over a long period of time, that does not mean that the theory is automatically wrong. On the other had, a UFO theory which does not account for the worldwide sighting of UFOs is almost certain to be in error.

As examples of some ancient and world wide evidence of UFOs, we might start with the discovery made by Tschi Pen Lao of the University of Peking. He discovered astonishing carvings in granite on a mountain in Hunan Province and on an island in Lake Tungting. These carvings have been evaluated as 47,000 years old, and they show people with large trunks. Some consider those trunks to be evidence of beings wearing breathing apparatus; however, do not forget that humans often in the past , have represented their gods as animal heads on human bodies.


Only 8,000 years ago, rocks were sculpted in the Tassili plateau of Sahara, depicting what appeared to be human beings but with strange round heads (helmets? or “sun” heads on human bodies?) And even more recently, in the Bible, Genesis (6:4) tells of angels from the sky mating with women of Earth, who bore them children. Genesis 19:3 tells of Lot meeting two angels in desert and his later feeding them at his house. The Bible also tells a rather unusual story of Ezekiel who witnessed what has been interpreted by some to have been a spacecraft or aircraft landing near the Chebar River in Chaldea (593 B.C.).

Even the Irish have recorded strange visitations. In the Speculum Regali in Konungs Skuggsa (and other accounts of the era about 956 A.D.) are numerous stories of “demonships” in the skies. In one case a rope from one such ship became entangled with part of a church. A man from the ship climbed down the rope to free it, but was seized by the townspeople. The Bishop made the people release the man, who climbed back to the ship, where the crew cut the rope and the ship rose and sailed out of sight. In all of his actions, the climbing man appeared as if he were swimming in water. Stories such as this makes one wonder if the legends of the “little people” of Ireland were based upon imagination alone.


About the same time, in Lyons (France) three men and a women supposedly descended from an airship or spaceship and were captured by a mob. These foreigners admitted to being wizards, and were killed. (No mention is made of the methods employed to extract the admissions.) Many documented UFO sightings occurred throughout the Middle Ages, including an especially startling one of a UFO over London on 16 December 1742. However, we do not have room to include any more of the Middle Ages sightings. Instead, two “more-recent” sightings are contained in this section to bring us up to modern times.

In a sworn statement dated 21 April 1897, a prosperous and prominent farmer named Alexander Hamilton (Le Roy, Kansas, U.S.A.) told of an attack upon his cattle at about 10:30 PM the previous Monday. He, his son, and his tenant grabbed axes and ran some 700 feet from the house to the cow lot where a great cigar-shaped ship about 300 feet long floated some 30 feet above his cattle. It had a carriage underneath which was brightly lighted within (dirigible and gondola?) and which had numerous windows. Inside were six strange looking beings jabbering in a foreign language. These beings suddenly became aware of Hamilton and the others. They immediately turned a searchlight on the farmer, and also turned on some power which sped up a turbine wheel (about 30 ft diameter) located under the craft. The ship rose, taking with it a two-year old heifer which was roped about the neck by a cable of one-half inch thick, red material. The next day a neighbor, Link Thomas, found the animal’s hide, legs and head in his field. He was mystified at how the remains got to where they were because of the lack of tracks in the soft soil. Alexander Hamilton’s sworn statement was accompanied by an affidavit as to his veracity. The affidavit was signed by ten of the local leading citizens.

Thus, UFO sightings not only appear to extend back to 47,000 years through time but also are global in nature. And despite the occasional hoaxes , there does exist a large body of information that appears to be valid. However, it is very difficult to advance a theory that is well supported by the erratic, and often apparently unrelated, data.

In any event, the theories that have been advanced can be collected into five groups. These are:

a. Mysticism
b. Psychological Phenomena
c. Advanced Technologies
d. Natural Phenomena
e. Aliens


It is believed by some cults that the mission of UFO’s and their crews is a spiritual one, and that all materialistic efforts to determine the UFO’s nature are doomed to failure.

Psychological Phenomena

Some have suggested that all UFO reports were the results of pranks and hoaxes, or were made by people with unstable personalities. This attitude was particularly prevalent during the time period when the Air Force investigation was being operated under the code name of Project Grudge.

A few airlines even went as far as to ground every pilot who reported seeing a “flying saucer.” The only way for the pilot to regain flight status was to undergo a psychiatric examination. There was a noticeable decline in pilot reports during this time interval, and a few interpreted this decline to prove that UFO’s were either hoaxes or the result of unstable personalities. It is of interest that NICAP (The National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena) even today still receives reports from commercial pilots who neglect to notify either the Air Force or their own airline.

Hoaxes have been perpetrated on numerous occasions but we will not discuss any of them in this subsection. All of us are aware that this undesirable situation exists. What we may not be aware of is that some cases are difficult to ascribe as being in either the mistaken hoax categories.

There are a number of cases which we could use to illustrate that point. One such case is the Socorro, New Mexico sighting made by police Sergeant Lonnie Zamora.


Sergeant Zamora was patrolling the streets of Socorro on 24 April 1964 when he saw a shiny object drift down into an area of gullies on the edge of town. He also heard a loud roaring noise which sounded as if an old dynamite shed located out that way had exploded. He immediately radioed police headquarters, and drove out toward the shed. Zamora was forced to stop about 150 yards away from a deep gully in which there appeared to be an overturned car He radioed that he was investigating a possible wreck, and then worked his car up onto the mesa and over toward the edge of the gully. He parked short, and when he walked the final few feet to the edge, he was amazed to see that it was not a car but instead was a weird egg shaped object about fifteen feet long, white in color and resting on short, metal legs. Beside it, unaware of his presence were two humanoids dressed in silvery coveralls. They seemed to be working on a portion of the underside of the object. Zamora was still standing there, surprised, when they suddenly noticed him and dove out of sight around the object. Zamora also headed the other way, back toward his car. He glanced back at the object just as a bright blue flame shot down from the underside. Within seconds the eggshaped thing rose out of the gully with “an earsplitting roar.” The object was out of sight over the nearby mountains almost immediately, and Sergeant Zamora was moving the opposite direction almost as fast when he met Sergeant Sam Chavez who was responding to Zamora’s earlier radio calls. Together they investigated the gully and found the bushes charred and still smoking where the blue flame had jetted down on them. About the charred area were four deep marks where the metal legs had been. Each mark was three and one half inches deep, and was circular in shape. The sand in the gully was very hard packed so no sign of the humanoids’ footprints could be found. An official investigation was launched that same day, and all data obtained supported the stories of Zamora and Chavez. It is rather difficult to label this episode a hoax, and it is also doubtful that both Zamora and Chavez shared portions of the same hallucination.

Advanced Technologies

A few individuals have proposed that UFO’s are actually advanced weapon systems, and that their natures must not be revealed. Very few people accept this as a credible suggestion.

Natural Phenomena

It has also been suggested that at least some, and possibly all of the UFO cases were just mis-interpreted manifestations of natural phenomena. Undoubtedly this suggestion has some merit. People have reported, as UFO’s, objects which were conclusively proven to be balloons (weather and skyhook), the planet Venus, man-made artificial satellites, normal aircraft, unusual cloud formations, and lights from ceilometers (equipment projecting light beams on cloud bases to determine the height of the aircraft visual ceiling). It is also suspected that people have reported mirages, optical illusions, swamp gas and ball lightning (a poorly-understood discharge of electrical energy in a spheroidal or ellipsoidal shape…some charges have lasted for up to fifteen minutes but the ball is usually no bigger than a large orange.) But it is difficult to tell a swamp dweller that the strange, fast-moving light he saw in the sky was swamp gas; and it is just as difficult to tell a farmer that a bright UFO in the sky is the same ball lightning that he has seen rolling along his fence wires in dry weather. Thus accidental mis-identification of what might well be natural phenomena breeds mistrust and disbelief; it leads to the hasty conclusion that the truth is deliberately not being told.

One last suggestion of interest has been made, that the UFO’s were plasmoids from space…concentrated blobs of solar wind that succeeded in reaching the surface of the Earth. Somehow this last suggestion does not seem to be very plausible; perhaps because it ignores such things as penetration of Earth’s magnetic field.



The most stimulating theory for us is that the UFO’s are material objects which are either “Manned” or remote-controlled by beings who are alien to this planet. There is some evidence supporting this viewpoint. In addition to police Sergeant Lonnie Zamora’s experience, let us consider the case of Barney and Betty Hill. On a trip through New England they lost two hours on the night of 19 September 1961 without even realizing it. However, after that night both Barney and Betty began developing psychological problems which eventually grew sufficiently severe that they submitted themselves to psychiatric examination and treatment.


During the course of treatment hypnotherapy was used, and it yielded remarkably detailed and similar stories from both Barney and Betty. Essentially they had been hypnotically kidnapped, taken aboard a UFO, submitted to two-hour physicals, and released with posthypnotic suggestions to forget the entire incident. The evidence is rather strong that this is what the Hills, even in their subconscious, believe happened to them. And it is of particular importance that after the “posthypnotic block” was removed, both of the Hills ceased having their psychological problems.

The Hill’s description of the aliens was similar to descriptions provided in other cases, but this particular type of alien appears to be in the minority. The most commonly described alien is about three and one half feet tall, has a round head (helmet?), arms reaching to or below his knees, and is wearing a silvery space suit or coveralls. Other aliens appear to be essentially the same as Earthmen, while still others have particularly wide (wrap around) eyes and mouths with very thin lips. And there is a rare group reported as about four feet tall, weight of around 35 pounds, and covered with thick hair or fur (clothing?). Members of this last group are described as being extremely strong.

If such beings are visiting Earth, two questions arise: 1) why haven’t they attempted to contact us officially? The answer to the first question may exist partially in Sergeant Lonnie Zamora’s experience, and may exist partially in the Tunguska meteor discussed in Chapter XXIX. In that chapter it was suggested that the Tunguska meteor was actually a comet which exploded in the atmosphere, the ices melted and the dust spread out. Hence, no debris. However, it has also been suggested that the Tunguska meteor was actually an alien spacecraft that entered the atmosphere too rapidly, suffered mechanical failure, and lost its power supply and/or weapons in a nuclear explosion. While that hypothesis may seem far fetched, sample of tree rings from around the world reveal that, immediately after the Tunguska meteor explosion, the level of radioactivity in the world rose sharply for a short period of time. It is difficult to find a natural explanation for that increase in radioactivity, although the suggestion has been advanced that enough of the meteor’s great Kinetic energy was converted into heat (by atmospheric friction) that a fusion reaction occurred.

This still leaves us with no answer to the second question: why no contact? That question is very easy to answer in several ways: 1) we may be the objects of intensive sociological and psychological study. In such studies you usually avoid disturbing the test subjects’ environment; 2) you do not “contact” a colony of ants, and humans may seem that way to any aliens (variation: a zoo is fun to visit, but you don’t “contact” the lizards); 3) such contact may have already taken place secretly; and 4) such contact may have already taken place on a different plane of awareness and we are not yet sensitive to communications on such a plane. These are just a few of the reasons. You may add to the list, as desired.

Perhaps this is a good time to discuss another case, which also deals with aliens, although this time the case has to do with the ancient past. Let us discuss and intriguing story in one of the oldest chronicles of India . . .. the Book of Dzyan.
The book is a group of “story-teller” legends which were finally gathered in manuscript form when man learned to write. One of the stories is of a small group of beings who supposedly came to Earth many thousands of years ago in a metal craft which orbited the Earth several times before landing. As told in the Book “These beings lived to themselves and were revered by the humans among whom they had settled. But eventually differences arose among them and they divided their numbers, several of the men and women and some children settled in another city, where they were promptly installed as rulers by the awe-stricken populace.

“Separation did not bring peace to these people and finally their anger reached a point where the ruler of the original city took with him a small number of his warriors and they rose into the air in a huge shining metal vessel. While they were many leagues from the city of their enemies, they launched a great shining lance that rode on a beam of light. It burst apart in the city of their enemies with a great ball of flame that shot up to the heavens, almost to the stars. All those who were in the city were horribly burned and even those who were not in the city – but nearby – were burned also. Those who looked upon the lance and the ball of fire were blinded forever afterward. Those who entered the city on foot became ill and died. Even the dust of the city was poisoned, as were the rivers that flowed through it. Men dared not go near it, and it gradually crumbled into dust and was forgotten by men.”

“When the leader saw what he had done to his own people he retired to his palace and refused to see anyone. Then he gathered about him those warriors who remained, and their wives and children, and they entered their vessels and rose one by one into the sky and sailed away. Nor did they return.”

Could this foregoing legend really be an account of an extraterrestrial colonization, complete with guided missile, nuclear warhead and radiation effects? It is difficult to assess the validity of that explanation…just as it is difficult to explain why Greek, Roman and Nordic Mythology all discuss wars and contacts among their “Gods.” The immediate thought is that each group recorded their parochial view of what was actually a global conflict among alien colonists or visitors? That concept is chilling. . .but it (the Book of Dyzan) is not true! The entire foregoing legend is a modern day hoax that was concocted in 1965 –1966. It did not appear in the Book of Dyzan as claimed. But even if it had , that would not change things, for the Book of Dyzan is itself thought to be a hoax. The book was apparently first written in 1886 by an occultist. The reason for including this hoax at this point in this chapter is show you, in a way that you will remember, that just because someone tells you that something is true does not make it really true. You must be skeptical of all information presented both by UFO buffs and UFO detractors. As of right now there is no conclusive evidence for either side.


We have already considered some of the reasons aliens might not be too eager to contact us humans but there is another reason that ought to be brought out also. The reason is that contacting humans is downright dangerous. Think about that for a moment! On the microscopic level our bodies reject and fight (through production antibodies) any alien material; this process helps us fight off disease but it also sometimes results in allergic reactions to innocuous materials. On the macroscopic level (psychological and sociological) we are antagonistic to beings that are “different”. For proof of that, just watch how an odd child is treated by other children, or how a minority group is socially deprived, or how the Arabs feel about the Israelis (Chinese vs Japanese, Irish Catholic vs Irish Protestants.) In applying this concept to the treatment of aliens let me point out that in very ancient times, possible extraterrestrials may have been treated as Gods but in the last two thousand years, the evidence is that any possible aliens have been ripped apart by mobs, shot and shot at, physically assaulted, (in South America there is a well documented case)and in general treated with fear and aggression.

In Ireland about 1,000 AD, supposed airships were treated as “demonships.” In Lyons, France, “admitted” space travelers were killed.


More recently, on 24 July 1957 Russian anti-aircraft batteries on the Kouril Islands opened fire on UFO’s. Although all Soviet anti-aircraft batteries on the Islands were in action, no hits were made. The UFO’s were luminous and moved very fast.

We too have fired on UFO’s. About ten o’clock one morning, a radar site near a fighter base picked up a UFO doing 700 mph. The UFO then slowed to 100 mph, and two F-86’s were scrambled to intercept.


Eventually one F-86 closed on the UFO at about 3,000 feet altitude. The UFO began to accelerate away but the pilot still managed to get within 500 yards of the target for a short period of time. It was definitely saucer shaped. As the pilot pushed the F-86 at top speed, the UFO began to pull away. When the range reached 1,000 yards, the pilot armed his guns and fired in an attempt to down the saucer. He failed, and the UFO pulled away rapidly, vanishing in the distance.

This same basic situation may have happened on a more personal level. On Sunday evening 21 August 1955, eight adults and three children were on the Sutton Farm (one-half mile from Kelly, Kentucky) when, according to them, one of the children saw a brightly glowing UFO settle behind the barn, out of sight from where he stood. Other witnesses on nearby farms also saw the object. However, the Suttons dismissed it as a “shooting star”, and did not investigate. Approximately thirty minutes later (at 8:00 PM), the family dogs began barking so two of the men went to the back door and looked out. Approximately 50 feet away and coming toward them was a creature wearing a glowing silvery suit. It was about three and one-half feet tall with a large round head and very long arms. It had large webbed hands, which were equipped with claws. The two Suttons grabbed a twelve-gauge shotgun and a .22 caliber pistol, and fired at close range. They could hear the pellets and bullet ricochet as if off of metal. The creature was knocked down, but jumped up and scrambled away. The Suttons retreated into the house, turned off all inside lights, and turned on the porch light. At that moment, one of the women who was peeking out of the dining room window discovered that a creature with some sort of helmet and wide slit eyes was peeking back at her. She screamed, the men rushed in and started shooting. The creature was knocked backwards but again scrambled away without apparent harm. More shooting occurred (a total of about 50 rounds) over the next 20 minutes and the creatures finally left (perhaps feeling unwelcome?) After about a two hour wait (for safety), the Suttons left too.

By the time the police got there, the aliens were gone but the Suttons would not move back to the farm. They sold it and departed. This reported incident does bear out the contention though that humans are dangerous. At no time in the story did the supposed aliens shoot back, although one is left with the impression that the described creatures were having fun scaring humans.


Almost all-scientific efforts to date have been small scale; that is, one or two people would work on an idea, usually without either adequate time or resources. Such efforts are commendable, but rarely very successful. The nature of the problem is that adequate data can only be obtained by a large-scale effort by many investigators, and, with adequate data, real progress is almost impossible to make. We will discuss three small-scale efforts here. They are 1. ORTHOTENY (i.e., UFO sightings fall on “great circle” routes). 2. The Moon ILLUSION, and 3. The frequency plot.

Orthoteny looked promising for a time. At first, plots of sighting seemed to verify the concept but recent use of computers has suggested that even random numbers yield “great circle” plots as neatly as do UFO sightings.

On the other hand, the “moon illusion” appears to be a solid advance in knowledge. Jacques and Janine Vallee have taken a particular type of UFO — namely those that are lower than treetop level when sighted — and plotted the UFO’s estimated diameter versus the estimated distance from the observer. The result yields an average diameter of 5 meters with a very characteristic drop for short viewing distances. This behavior at the extremes of the curve is well known to astronomers and psychologists as the “moon illusion.” The illusion only occurs when the object being viewed is a real, physical object. Because this implies that the observers have viewed a real object, it permits us to accept also their statement that these particular UFO’s had a rotational axis of symmetry. Please not though that a real, physical object does not have to be an artificial phenomenon… instead it can be natural phenomenon.

Another, less solid, advance made by the Vallee’s was their plotting of the total number of sightings per week versus the date. They did this for the time span from 1947 to 1962, and then attempted to match the peaks of the curve (every 2 years 2 months) to the


times of Earth-Mars conjunction (every 2 years 1.4 months). The match was very good between 1950 and 1956 but was poor outside those limits. Also, the peaks were not only at the times of Earth-Mars conjunction but also roughly at the first harmonic (very loosely, every 13 months). This raises the question why should UFO’s only visit Earth when Mars is in conjunction and when it is on the opposite side of the sun. Obviously, the conjunction periodicity of Mars is not the final answer. As it happens, there is an interesting possibility to consider. Suppose Jupiter’s conjunctions were used; they are every 13.1 months. That would satisfy the observed periods nicely, except for every even data peak being of different magnitude from every odd data peak. Perhaps a combination of Martian, Jovian, and Saturnian (and even other planetary) conjunctions will be necessary to match the frequency plot…if it can be matched.

A more practical possibility was raised by Lt. Col. Raymond Kelley (USAF, Ret). He pointed out that any civilization of aliens was more likely to be controlled by budgetary constraints than by physical location of the area of interest. He suggested that Economists might be able to tell a great amount about the possible aliens’ financial structure by examining the fluctuations in sightings. To that suggestion we should also add the possibility of religious constraints upon business and travel. Further data correlation is quite difficult.

 There are a large number of different saucer shapes but this may mean little. For example, look at the number of different types of aircraft which are in use in the U. S. Air Force alone.

It is obvious that intensive scientific study is needed in this area; no such study has yet been undertaken at the necessary levels of intensity needed. Something that must be guarded against in any such study is the trap of implicitly assuming that our knowledge of Physics (or any other branch of science) is complete. An example of one such trap is selecting a group of physical laws, which we now accept as valid, and assume that they will never be superseded. Five such laws might be:

1. Every action must have an opposite and equal reaction.

2. Every particle in the universe attracts every other particle with a force proportional to the product of the masses and inversely as the square of the distance.

3. Energy, mass and momentum are conserved.


4. No material body can have a speed as great as c, the speed of light in free space.

5. The maximum energy, E, which can be obtained from a body at rest is E=mc2, where m is the rest mass of the body.

Laws numbered 1 and 3 seem fairly safe, but let us hesitate and take another look. Actually, law number 3 is only valid (now) from a relativistic viewpoint; and for that matter so are laws 4 and 5. But relativity completely revised these physical concepts after 1915, before then Newtonian mechanics were supreme. We should also note that general relativity has not yet been verified. Thus we have the peculiar situation of five laws which appear to deny the possibility of intelligent alien control of UFO’s, yet three of the laws are recent in concept and may not even be valid. Also, law number 2 has not yet been tested under conditions of large relative speeds or accelerations. We should not deny the possibility of alien control of UFO’s on the basis of preconceived notions not established as related or relevant to the UFO’s.


Only two medium scale scientific efforts have been carried out. The first effort was a 2 year long study



carried out by scientists and engineers of Battelle Memorial Institute in statistical analysis of 2,199 UFO reports. The second effort was the previously mentioned, Government-financed study headed by



Dr. Edward U. Condon at the University of Colorado. Condon’s group concentrated on an intensive case by case analysis of a relatively small number of UFO reports (about 90).

Unfortunately, credence in that effort’s scientific detachment was damaged by Condon’s ill-advised statement (made when the project was just starting); “It is my inclination right now to recommend that the government get out of the business. My attitude right now is that there’s nothing to it.” Condon did not change his mind during the project . . . and he has been the subject of criticism for apparently not taking part in any field efforts.

Another point, which weakens the credence placed in that effort, in that effort is that the final report on the project went to great length to chastise others foe not researching the cases adequately, yet the Report show that Condon’s group was guilty of that also (as discussed earlier in this chapter). Furthermore the Report was written in such a fashion so as to make the final statistics difficult to obtain. That might have been accidental but it looks strange when very positive conclusions are claimed on the basis of a two-thirds sample.

Most people may not realize it but out of about 90 cases, at least 31 (and possibly 34) were left in the unknown category. Such an action is peculiar for the same branch of science that identified the positron on the basis of very few samples compared to the electron samples available. Please do not misunderstand what I am saying. The Condon Reports conclusions may well be correct . . . but they may also be quite wrong. The evidence does not seem to warrant the formation of firm conclusions at this time.

Perhaps the last thing to weaken credence in the Report was Condon’s statement (within the Report) that “Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are so far from the sun that they are too cold for life to exist there.” Any good astronomer can tell you that Condon’s statement is only true for Pluto. There is one good thing that the project did accomplish though. It performed the first cut at sifting the data so that valid data would be available for correlation studies. However, not enough total data has yet been sifted to permit reliable research on correlation (such as the “moon illusion” work, or the study to be discussed next).

Despite the lack of large amounts of thoroughly sifted data, scientists and engineers at Battelle Memorial Institute (not using the Condon Report’s data) have conducted a detailed statistical analysis. That statistical analysis produced extremely interesting results; it was based on 2,1999 UFO reports, each of which was individually and carefully evaluated (but not investigated) and categorized. The distribution of UFO sighting reports among the selected categories was as shown below in Table 33-1
Table 33-1

Category Number Percent

Unknown 434 19,7
Insufficient Information 240 10.9
Astronomical 479 21.8
Aircraft 474 21.6
Balloon 339 15.4
Other 233 10.6
TOTAL 2,199 100.0%

The first two categories contain those sightings whose causes could not be identified. (It is more than curious that the percentage of the first two categories adds up to 30.6% . . .essentially the same as remained unidentified in the Condon Report.) The first category of the two—the UNKNOWN category—consists of sightings where the description of the object and its maneuvers could not be fitted to the patterns of any known phenomenon. Almost 20% of the reports fell in the UNKNOWN category!

The second category consists of sightings, which did not have adequate information to disallow identification as a common object or known natural phenomenon. The next three categories (astronomical, aircraft, balloon) are self-explanatory. The last category consists of birds, hoaxes, searchlights on clouds, etc. It should be emphasized again that the UNKNOWNS were not categorized that way because of insufficient information.
The 2,1999 UFO sightings reports were also grouped as to the quality of the sightings, as shown in Table 33-2. Below.


No. % of TOTAL No. % of GROUP No. % of GROUP

Excellent 213 9.7 71 33.3 9 4.2
Good 757 34.5 188 24.8 27 3.6
Doubtful 794 36.0 103 13.0 111 14.0
Poor 435 19.8 72 16.6 93 21.4
TOTAL 2,199 100.0% 434 19.7% 240 10.9%

An exciting discovery revealed in Table 33-2 is that, the better the quality of the report, the greater the probability that the report will be classified as UNKNOWN. That finding is totally contradictory to the often-stated authoritarian position that adequate information would enable every report to be explained as an Earth-generated phenomenon. Further statistical analysis of the characteristics of the UNKNOWN versus the KNOWNS yielded another exciting result. The result was that there was a less than 1% probability of the UNKNOWN and KNOWN observations being of the same types of things.

However, it must be re-emphasized the study did not have the benefit of data sifted on a case by case basis. Therefore, the results should not be relied upon too heavily. Furthermore, even if the results are completely valid, other explanations are possible without invoking sentient aliens. But . . . the results are still quite provocative.


As pointed out earlier, the case by case approach of Condon is an excellent way to sift data so that valid data can be made available for further work. This approach could be uses as the first phase of a massive effort identify perhaps 2000 cases for further work. Then, correlation studies could be performed on that remaining data, as was done at Battelle. It is possible that such studies might reveal more information about the UFOs . . . it is also possible that they might not. After all, there might not be anything to learn. However, because of the “Condon Report’s poorly-supported conclusions, it is doubtful that any such effort will be made in the near future.


One of the strongest arguments against the UFOs being spacecraft is that no known propulsions system can operate the way the UFOs are supposed to. However, remember that mankind has a lot to learn, and that there may well be many propulsive systems possible of which we know nothing as yet. For example, there is a force, which to the best of my knowledge has not yet been named. It is produced by a high frequency, high voltage electric field (with a strong gradient) when it interacts with a charge particle or plasma. Also to the best of my knowledge, this force has not been investigated by any large organization. Yet, it would seem that something like that force would be required to propel any possible alien spacecraft, which exhibits the UFO characteristics.


Triangle black wings

From available information, the UFO phenomenon appears to have been global in nature for almost 50,000 years. The majority of known witnesses have been reliable people who have seen easily explained natural phenomena, and there appears to be no overall positive correlation with population density. The entire phenomenon could be psychological in nature but that is quite doubtful. However, psychological factors probably do enter the data picture as “noise.” The phenomenon could also be entirely due to known and unknown phenomena (with some psychological “noise” added in) but that too is questionable in view of some of the available data.

This leaves us with the unpleasant possibility of alien visitors to our planet, or at least of alien controlled UFO’s. However, the data are not well correlated, and what questionable data there are suggest the existence of at least three and maybe four different groups of aliens (possibly at different states of development). This too is difficult to accept. It implies the existence of intelligent life on a majority of the planets in our solar system, or a surprisingly strong interest in Earth by members of other solar systems.

A solution to the UFO problem may be obtained by the long and diligent effort of a large group of well financed and competent scientists, unfortunately there is no evidence suggesting that such an effort is going to be made. However, even if such an effort were made, there is no guarantee of success because of the isolated and sporadic nature of the sightings. Also, there may be nothing to find, and that would mean a long search with no profit at the end. The best thing to do is to keep an open and skeptical mind, and not to take extreme positions on any side of the question.

The images were not in the textbook and are placed to help the reader understand the information.

George Filer

MUFON Eastern Region Director Chief Editor National UFO Center Major USAF ret. Graduated BS from Bradley U and Masters's Degree from Central Michigan University

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