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UFO-Forschung - The Pentagon’s UFO Report -Update-7

3.07.2021

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The sky is full of potential UFOs—here’s why

The technology that surveys our skies isn't designed to spot and identify everything that flies.

Around 60 US spy satellites whizz overhead, some of which are capable of making out pieces of debris measuring tens of inches. Radar stations and other receivers help track upwards of 200,000 aircraft at any moment. Despite such feats of remote sensing, on June 25 the US government confirmed in a hotly anticipated “UFO report” that it has amassed more than 100 cases of aerial events, such as the seemingly-impossible maneuvers of objects captured on camera by Navy pilots, that it cannot identify.

While some accounts seem puzzling when taken at face value, airspace researchers insist that just because you can’t identify an object in the air doesn’t mean that the object is otherworldly. The sky is a big and diverse place, full of birds, locusts swarms, thunderclouds, drones, fighter jets, plastic bags, and much, much more. Surveillance systems exist, but they tend to be expensive and tailored to meet specific, well-defined needs—none of which is to single out every last flying object. Simply put, considering how patchy our sky monitoring systems are, perhaps it’s more surprising that the government has noticed only a hundred or so UFOs. 

There isn’t one magical surveillance system that sees every plane, says Andrew Weinert, a member of the Homeland Protection and Air Traffic Control Division at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. “It’s not like we have this master perspective” of the sky, he notes—which means our airspace is full of mysterious but mundane objects. 

Mostly known unknowns

The nine-page report, released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is heavy on caveats and light on conclusions. It opts for the more neutral term Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP), rather than UFOs, and explicitly says that the authors can’t be certain that many of the cases even involve physical objects. Of the 144 reports considered, nearly half of the phenomena registered on just one sensor, raising the odds that some sort of mechanical glitch caused the anomaly. 

One incident could be identified—as a “deflating balloon.” The authors wrote that the remaining cases might fall into any of a handful of categories, including “airborne clutter” and “foreign adversary systems.” The report does not mention interplanetary tourists explicitly, neither confirming them nor ruling them out. 

Satellite surveillance

If American presidents can leverage spy satellites to troll the Iranian military with high-definition snaps of an embarrassing mishap from his phone, why can’t the US government narrow the range of possibilities between trash bags and aliens?

Satellite imagery comes broadly in two varieties. Weather satellites image large swaths of the planet at once, but their pictures are blurry, with each pixel covering perhaps a mile or two. That resolution might be able to spot the gaudy motherships from Independence Day, but wouldn’t be of much use against subtler ET vehicles.  

Satellites with keen enough eyes to pick out more modest aircraft, meanwhile, have a much tighter field of view and need to be precisely aimed at a specific target. They’re also few and far between.

Jonathan McDowell, a satellite tracker and researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center For Astrophysics, has estimated that these spacecraft capture just a few percent of the Earth’s surface each day. The odds are not in the US government’s favor that any of its 143 UAP happened to pass right under one of those satellites just as they snapped a picture. 

Radar surveillance

Then there’s skyward-facing radar, developed during WWII precisely to identify flying objects (by bouncing radio waves off of them) before they have the chance to start dropping bombs. These days, the Federal Aviation Administration uses the technology largely to keep tabs on commercial planes, an application that leaves plenty of blindspots for smaller objects. 

Radar stations tend to be located mostly at airports, says MIT’s Weinert, where they keep a close eye on the surrounding airspace for obstacles that might pose a threat to passenger planes. 

Air traffic control also keeps tabs on flights beyond the immediate vicinity of the airport, but does so mainly through a process called “secondary surveillance radar,” or SSR. In SSR, an aircraft actively sends out a radio signal from an onboard transponder for radar stations to pick up. Federal regulations require that planes with more than around a dozen seats carry transponders, leaving this longer-range system relatively blind to birds, balloons, and even crop dusters and helicopters—any of which could become a UFO. 

Weinert has spent the last decade thinking about how to help the aviation world prepare for the growing popularity of drones and other small aircraft. Blanketing a region with instrumentation that can comprehensively detect “noncooperative” objects as small as drones is technologically possible. Upstate New York recently established what Weinert calls a “giant experimental playground” for testing drone operations and monitoring. But such surveillance would be pricey to scale up. Just establishing the 50-mile corridor has cost the state more than $40 million dollars.  

“We don’t have 100 percent coverage, and if we did that wouldn’t be cost effective,” Weinert says. 

Eyeballing it

Surveillance satellites are very good at creeping on foreign missiles, and the FAA’s radar infrastructure excels at keeping planes from colliding in midair. But they leave the sky essentially unmonitored when it comes to small objects, so the UAP report authors likely relied largely on in-person records such as eyewitness accounts and footage like the dramatic videos captured by the Navy pilots. 

Amateur analysts have combed through the clips looking for clues, and they’ve come to conflicting conclusions regarding how remarkable they are. But Weinert warns against reading too much into specific incidents.  

“Pilot recording, human recording, especially anecdotally, should be taken with a grain of salt,” he says. 

Even when lives are at stake, pilots occasionally make catastrophic misperceptions. On a sunny day in 1986 above Cerritos, California, a single engine airplane flew directly into the tail of a DC-9, causing a crash that killed dozens. Neither plane made any attempt to avoid the other, suggesting that neither pilot perceived the other vessel. Last year, an analysis of a theory of human eyesight found that most pilots would have a worse than a 50 percent chance of noticing a small autonomous aircraft in time to avoid a collision. 

“Human pilots don’t like to hear this, but the performance of the human eyeball, of humans to detect other aircraft just with their eyes, is not great,” Weinert says.  

As highly trained and experienced aviators, the Navy pilots’ accounts are undeniably compelling. 

These weren’t just one-off blips at the edge of perception, but in at least one case a concerted effort to chase down an unknown object, which resulted in an infrared video. In other cases, pilots report daily sightings of strange objects for years

But to reach an extraordinary and highly improbable conclusion—that some of the objects are aircraft with unheard of maneuverability—would require either extraordinary evidence, or to rule out all of the more mundane possibilities. The government report calls for additional funding to collect more systematic information on future UAPs, so perhaps a stronger conclusion will become possible in the future. But with today’s spotty coverage of the sky it should come as no surprise that the government can do neither. 

Quelle: POPULAR SCIENCE

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The truth about Area 51 UFO sightings, according to a local expert

Decades of government secrecy have led to a rash of extraterrestrial reports in Nevada. Author Sarah Scoles set out to see for herself.

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Arnu arrives at the A’Le’Inn in a big SUV, pulling up and saying hi to the hungover twentysomethings rocking in rocking chairs out front before he greets us.

“You ready?” he asks, and we pack into his Tahoe and head right back out on the Extraterrestrial Highway.

Arnu has owned property in Rachel since the early 2000s. Back in its boom, when the tungsten mine near Tempiute Mountain was still digging wealth out of the planet, around 500 people lived here. Today, it’s a small town—just around fifty residents, who meet up at the collective mailbox when the Postal Service arrives. Young people, Arnu says, tend to leave. There’s no TV reception. There’s just a squeak of cell phone service. Few places exist to build a career, none to go to college. Some people work at what they simply call “the test site,” an umbrella term that could refer to any of the secret-squirrel operations nearby—the Nevada National Security Site, the Tonopah Test Range, or Area 51.

Around ten people also work at the A’Le’Inn, by far Rachel’s biggest employer. They’re always hiring, because people are always leaving. But people are always showing up, too. “Sometimes they come up here because they are interested in Area 51,” says Arnu, “and they just get stuck.”

That’s what happened to Arnu, decades ago now. It all started with online research into Area 51, reading a website run by a former programmer and airline worker named Glenn Campbell. In the 1990s, Campbell ran the Area 51 Research Center and two UFO newsletters—The Groom Lake Desert Rat and the just plain Desert Rat. The newsletter logo featured a sentient rodent with safari shirt, walkie-talkie, and binoculars, underneath the tagline “The Naked Truth from Open Sources.”

Recalling this, Arnu speeds along the straight road. “He was one of the first that brought the attention of the general public,” he says. But Campbell was mysterious, evasive. “I wanted to know what’s really going on here. Are there UFOs are there no UFOs?”

So Arnu took a day trip, traveling from his home in San Francisco. And when he arrived, he found a place that was fascinating as much for its terrestrial qualities as its celestial hypotheticals. “I had never really experienced the desert in this way,” he says. “And it was just like, ‘Oh my God, this is a whole different world.’ ”

He thought of it, thinks of it now, in terms of motorcycle trips—a hobby of his that he just calls “riding.” “It’s always my thing: I want to see what’s behind the next turn, the next hill,” he says. And despite how this highway feels—unchanging, flat, forever—if you veer from it, turns and hills and the secrets behind them abound.

Arnu went back home knowing he would return. The presence of the place loomed over him, shook him. Soon enough, the labor market gave him a chance: His company downsized, so he took a severance package and car-camped around Rachel.

Soon after that, Arnu started his own website, mostly a blog detailing his daily exploits: As he summarizes it, Today I went out to this gate, this is what I found, check out my pictures. More important than anything he wrote, though, were the comments sections.

“It’s like people were only waiting for a place to congregate,” he says. He soon started a forum—still going strong today—dedicated to such interaction. “We’re geeks,” he says. “We’re loners. But at the same time we also want to discuss what we do with like-minded people.”

He moved to Vegas in 2002 and then bought the property in Rachel, working remotely a lot so he could spend a week at a time in the remote desert.

“And here I am,” he says. “Years later. Still unraveling the mystery of Area 51.”

Arnu looks through the Tahoe’s windshield and points at a prominent peak ahead of us. If you can get to the top, you can see inside Area 51, which would then be 26 miles away. This high spot is the only one left with that view, the military having gobbled up all closer vantage points in a series of land grabs. Here’s what the base looks like from up there: Dark, if you’re doing it right, because the interesting stuff happens at night. But all of a sudden, way across the valley, a runway illuminates itself, a long line of lights dotting the landscape. “You know something is about to happen,” Arnu says. Aircraft bulbs streak along the runway, as a Whatever speeds to takeoff. And as soon as the Whatever is airborne, its lights blink out of existence, and so do the runway’s. The Earth becomes as optically opaque as it was before.

It’s not that they appear. It’s that they disappear.

Nevertheless, the base continues to give away information invisibly: Pilots talk on radios, and if the chatter is not so secret, you may be able to catch a monologue.

Arnu has a radio scanner, which he now turns on, mounted to the dash of his Tahoe. It runs through many Hertz in search of such communication. As the display rolls across frequencies, I prepare to tell Arnu about what we saw last night, feeling silly and like every other overexcitable person who’s ever visited the region.

I know from our prior emails that Arnu doesn’t ride the alien train. Sure, creepy stuff happens here. Sure, there are strange lights, technologies we can barely fathom. But they don’t require invocation of the extraterrestrial: They’re just the government, doing things the world isn’t privy to—the growing up of projects perhaps born classified, just like it always has here.

That started with the U-2, which flew twice as high as a commercial jet, and much higher than anything else at the time. Workers commuted daily on passenger jets—a secret service people call, in its modern incarnation, “Janet airlines”—partly so that permanent residences would not reveal the scale of efforts here. U-2 pilots, though they worked for the CIA, wore civilian clothes and pretended to do weather-related research, according to the book Area 51 by investigative journalist Annie Jacobsen.

Later, Area 51 hosted the Oxcart spy plane project, the U-2 successor that also flew close to the sun but showed up dimmer on radar. Jacobsen writes that FAA and NORAD employees were instructed “not to ask questions about anything flying over 40,000 feet.” And when commercial flights crossed paths with an Oxcart, and a pilot did report it, the FBI would meet the plane at the gate, asking passengers to sign nondisclosure agreements.

Around the country, people nonetheless spotted spy planes and reported them as UFOs. Says a CIA report from 1997, “Over half of all UFO reports from the late 1950s through the 1960s were accounted for by manned reconnaissance flights (namely the U-2) over the United States.” Many, including UFO skeptics, dispute this take, but it doesn’t seem absurd that the government would use UFO reports to understand how conspicuous its technology would look in less friendly skies. And it doesn’t actually want people to see skylights and think “spy planes.” So it is sometimes in the feds’ best interest to let people attribute the phenomenon to something mysterious, unearthly, not them. And—bonus—because many people thought UFOs were woo-woo and not “real,” whoever heard about these UFO sightings would likely dismiss the very real U-2 or A-12 their kid had just seen. The government’s secrets could stay secret. If you wanted to create a theory about why the military hasn’t come out swinging against some of its pilots’ more modern sightings, you might consider this part of the past.

“ ‘Oh, well, these people just saw another UFO,’ ” mimics Arnu. “In actuality they may have seen something super-secret … If you make people look like fools when they say they saw something, if they say they saw something super secret, what better way to discredit them?” Given the government’s history of passive deception, and active secret-keeping, here, is it any surprise that people suspect it could be hiding something more inside Area 51?

But I want to know what Arnu, who sees this stuff every day, thinks of my sighting. So I describe the on-off lights, their hovering, and my theory that this was some kind of hide-and-seek exercise.

Arnu frowns in concentration. “Were the lights kind of orange?” he asks. “A bright orange color?”

Yes!” says Carolyn from the backseat. Arnu nods and then goes on to describe exactly what we saw, detail for detail, as if he were there.

“That was flares you were seeing,” he says. A plane chases another plane, and the chaser sends off a (fake) heat-seeking missile. The chased plane drops flares, which burn so hot that they distract the missile, which then chases them instead of the jet’s exhaust. These planes drop flares in patterns—disc shapes, sometimes—to send the missiles clear off course.

Hearing this incident repeated back, with more meaning, makes me feel the way people do when they discover their seemingly singular experience is, in fact, universal: equal parts relieved and disappointed.

Arnu’s first UFO sighting, turns out, was also flares. He had been camping right where we did, in the gravel parking area. “I looked over Tikaboo,” he says, referring to one of the peaks, “and all of a sudden, I see this disc-shaped object of orange orbs hanging in the sky.”

It’s all true, he recalls thinking. They’re coming to get me.

But they weren’t and they didn’t. He was just primed: He thought he had witnessed a UFO because that’s what he expected to witness. “Your eyes see what you want them to see,” he says.

He then begins to talk about YouTube videos of cars disappearing on the Extraterrestrial Highway. They’re not disappearing, he says: They’re coming down from summits, hitting dips.

“We saw that!” I say, and describe how I scared ourselves into thinking that the guards had set a trap.

“That’s why I’m such a skeptic,” says Arnu. “Because I’ve seen it. And I know for a fact what they’re describing is very explainable.” Talking to Arnu feels like seeing a therapist who understands, even when you don’t, that your problems are all because of your mom.

Quelle: POPULAR SCIENCE

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PD Editorial: No confirmation, no denial in UFO report

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STEVE SACK / Minneapolis Star Tribune

UFOs are real! So says the U.S. intelligence community. There’s no need to deploy the bacteria, child geniuses or Apple PowerBook 5300s to defend the planet just yet, though. The highly anticipated, recently released, unclassified report to Congress was kind of a dud.

The idea that the federal government is covering up proof of extraterrestrial visitors has been around for decades. The proof is at Roswell, Area 51 and Hangar 18. For true believers, every government denial is more evidence of the cover-up.

Hopes were high, then, that the unclassified report would provide proof of unidentified flying objects. And it did, sort of.

The report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence admitted that from November 2004 to March 2021, U.S. government sources — military, etc. — reported 144 incidents of unidentified aerial phenomena, about half of which involved multiple sensors. Experts have only identified one of them — a balloon, deflating. The rest remain a mystery.

So, they are unidentified, they are flying, and they are objects. That means they are UFOs in the most literal sense. Just please don’t call them that anymore. The government is trying to rebrand them as “unidentified aerial phenomena,” or UAP. That could be a useful distinction now that UFO is almost synonymous with alien spaceship, but it’s so boring.

The report offers no evidence that aliens walk among us or that they are abducting people and dropping them off at Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. Rather, there’s insufficient information to identify what the pilots and sensors saw one way or another. They could have been alien ships, sure, but there are many more sensible possibilities.

The incidents likely fall into one of five explanatory categories: airborne clutter (birds and balloons), natural phenomena (clouds and atmospheric sprites), aerospace development programs (test planes), terrestrial foreign adversaries (spy planes or new technology) or “other.” The last group certainly leaves room for one’s imagination to run wild.

The report concedes that there has been a cover-up; it just wasn’t an intentional, coordinated one. Jesse Ventura and Alex Trebek didn’t show up dressed in black to convince people they’d really seen the planet Venus. (Ask an “X-Files” fan.) “Men in Black” Agents J and K didn’t bring neuralyzers.

Rather, aviators and analysts felt peer pressure not to talk about strange things they saw in the air. They feared disparagement, stigma and harm to their reputation. That has changed over time as leaders and scientists have taken descriptions of UAP more seriously.

Visitors from another world or another dimension have a lot of physics to overcome. Without warp drives or oscillation overthursters, the trip is nigh impossible.

Even if the truth is out there, it isn’t always accessible. That’s OK. Many things that people believe in lack solid evidence — UFOs, the Loch Ness monster, sasquatch or chupacabra. Myths and legends make life a little more interesting.

As long as belief in the incredible doesn’t become an obsession that disrupts one’s life, there’s no harm in taking a flight of fancy or having a little faith. It doesn’t hurt to look up and imagine who or what might be coming from the stars.

Quelle: The Press Democrat

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We Are Not Alone In Space, NASA Chief Believes

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We know we know nothing. Nelson commented on CNN’s report published last week.

“Yes, I saw a secret report (including unpublished attachments – editor’s note). This is basically what we thought. We do not know what the naval pilots saw. It’s starting to move, “Nelson said.

Former Florida Democratic senator became the second active congressional politician to look into space in 1986 after Jake Gorn. He now points out that as a senator from 2001 to 2019, he often talks to pilots who have seen UFOs.

“I spoke to the pilots during the Senate Armed Forces Committee hearing, and I felt that something was clear,” he said. It doesn’t have to be alien. However, if this is the technology of one of our rivals, we should be concerned, “Nelson said.

However, he is convinced that the technology captured under the surveillance of UFOs, or UAP (unknown celestial phenomena), as the authorities now call ‘aerial phenomena’, does not belong to any political opponents.

However, he added with relief that the observations do not provide direct evidence of space visitors.

NASA scientists will be involved in clarifying the UAP

However, if we talk about extraterrestrial life in general, Nelson has a different opinion.

“People are looking for answers. Of course, from the first Star Trek, people want to know what’s in space. Are we alone? Personally, I do not think so,” Nelson added, adding that the universe is really large and that there is life on other planets.

Nelson said NASA will now work on possible explanations to clarify the observed UAP.

Many skeptics have long believed that observations could be explained by a combination of natural phenomena and optical illusions.

Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.

The long-standing classification of the report brought nothing new. At least in the eyes of the public.

In the eyes of the authorities and the military, there is a significant change. The pilots do not seem to be afraid to report seeing the UAP. In the past, the subject was taboo among them, facing ridicule and fearing a career.

Now that the authorities have begun to take these reports seriously, they are likely to increase.

However, these observations do not have such a face of abnormality. These are common phenomena that are not similar to alien civilizations.

Quelle: Swords Today

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‘Why don’t they tell us the truth?’: Government UFO report falls flat in Roswell

ROSWELL, New Mexico — The federal government’s recent landmark UFO study failed to offer the clear answers many hoped for.

In fact, Joyce Rowell was left with the same question she’s always had.

“Why don’t they tell us the truth?” Ms. Rowell, 75, said Friday as she and her daughter, Debra Tucker, searched for the next clue on an alien-themed scavenger hunt inside a cozy coffeehouse in downtown Roswell. 

Ms. Rowell and Ms. Tucker, 52, traveled here from Tecumseh, Oklahoma, for the city’s annual UFO Festival, which has drawn a record crowd this year amid skyrocketing public interest in the subject and the release last week of the government’s widely anticipated unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) report.

Inside Roswell’s Stellar Coffee Co. — which boasts the “Spock Special,” “Martian Sunrise” and “Alien Soda” among its menu offerings — Ms. Tucker said she remains open-minded to all possibilities, including that at least some UFO sightings could be connected to extraterrestrial life.

“I definitely think it could be true,” she said. “I haven’t ever seen one but I think it’s definitely possible. There’s so much out there we don’t know about.”

Ms. Tucker and Ms. Rowell are among the thousands who came to Roswell this weekend for the seemingly endless agenda of alien-themed concerts, games, outdoor movie showings, yoga, and a host of other events. But beneath the family-friendly atmosphere are serious questions about just how much information the government is withholding from the American people.

The recent UAP report, released by the Pentagon and Office of the Director of National Intelligence, examined 144 military encounters with unidentified craft and could only explain one, which was believed to be a deflating balloon.

UFOs, the study said, could represent a major national security threat to the U.S. and may involve so-called “breakthrough technologies” that cannot be explained using today’s scientific knowledge.

While the document didn’t rule out extraterrestrials, it also raised the possibility that the craft could be high-tech Chinese or Russian vehicles or weapons. For Roswell festival-goers and professional researchers alike, that explanation is absurd.

“These objects can hover at 80,000 feet for hours on end. We can’t do that. They can drop in a couple of seconds to 20,000 feet and hover there, and then they can descend to 50 feet above the churn of the ocean and bounce back and forth like a ping pong ball. We can’t do that,” said author, researcher and social scientist Kathleen Marden, one of the UFO experts speaking this weekend at the city’s International UFO Museum and Research Center.

“They have aerodynamic capabilities that, as far as we know, no one on this planet can replicate,” she told The Washington Times in an interview. “If people want to explain that away as Russia or China, then why haven’t they invaded? Why haven’t they decided to rule the world?”

The government report offers little detail on those questions. It merely offers the theory that at least some of the craft are “foreign adversary systems.”

The Pentagon is in the early stages of revamping the reporting and data-collection systems around UFO sightings in the hopes of gaining a better understanding of the phenomenon, government officials said.

Those high-stakes questions serve as the backdrop for this weekend’s festival. Many in attendance say they made the trip to New Mexico partly because of their fascination with the paranormal and partly because the event offered a unique summer vacation.

Carla Smith, 33, came here from Austin, Texas, and said the questions she has about extraterrestrials — especially the possibility that the beings can travel via consciousness, not through the traditional physical domain — are becoming more common and are no longer laughed off.

“People are open to it, which is the first step to anything, learning more about it, being open to it,” she said.

Ms. Smith and her best friend, Liz Keneski, 34, donned costumes for the festival, dressing up as waitresses from the cult-favorite TV show “Roswell.” Hundreds of other men, women and children followed suit with costumes of their own, reflecting how UFOs have found a permanent spot in mainstream pop culture.

“Now it’s cool to believe in it,” Ms. Smith told The Times.

Quelle: Washington Times

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