The astronomical community has, not surprisingly, a long history of making totally false pronouncements about flight. After all, there is nothing in their training or education that gives any professional insight about the aeronautical and astronautical aspects of flight. The best known American astronomer of the 19th Century, Dr. Simon Newcomb (1835-1909), had written: “The demonstration that no possible combination of known substances, known forms of machinery, and known forms of force can be united in a practical machine by which man shall fly long distances through the air, seems to this writer as complete as it is possible for the demonstration of any physical fact to be.”
He was so prominent and highly respected that his funeral was attended by numerous dignitaries including the President of the United States; his expertise involved the making of accurate determinations of the positions of the heavenly bodies and mathematical procedures for using that data for navigation and related problems. None of this has anything to do with flight. The first sustained powered flight be the Wright brothers took place only 2 months later. They, and others, had made numerous measurements determining the influence of various factors on lift and drag.
In the course of preparing Chapter 2 (“You Can Get Here from There” of “Flying Saucers and Science
and while working on a new book “But It’s Impossible” with my co-author Kathleen Marden, I ran across numerous false or pseudo-scientific claims about flight in the atmosphere and then in space by smart people who didn’t know what they were talking about. These savants said it would be impossible to fly across the ocean, to sink a battleship with a bomb dropped from an airplane, to go faster than the speed of sound, etc. The attacks on the feasibility of space flight also showed ignorance.
For example, Dr. Alexander Bickerton in a paper presented to the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1926 showed that because our best explosive had only 1/10th the energy per pound required to move at orbital velocity, that it would be impossible to give anything sufficient energy to place it in orbit,. He obviously didn’t know that other chemical combinations give more energy per pound in a rocket and are easier to use than explosives. He also neglected the small detail that it is the payload that needs to go into orbit, not the propellant. Another astronomer Dr. John Campbell of Canada in 1941 scientifically (really pseudo-scientifically) calculated the required initial launch weight for a rocket able to get a man to the moon and back as a million tons. Less than 30 years later, 3 men were sent to the moon with a chemical rocket whose initial launch weight was all of 3000 tons. To say he didn’t know what he was talking about would be a gross understatement.
He made a host of really inappropriate (stupid would be a better word) assumptions that he wouldn’t have made if he had studied research papers that had been published years earlier. He assumed a single stage rocket, limited to 1-G acceleration, providing all the energy for the trip, launched vertically, requiring a retrorocket to slow it down when returning, and assuming a very low exhaust velocity for the propellant. The engineers responsible for planning our lunar excursions used a multistage rocket, a much higher but appropriate exhaust velocity, a much higher maximum acceleration, launched from as close to the equator as possible to the East, and used the earth’s atmosphere to slow it down upon return, but being sure to get the entry angle correct. They, of course, used the gravitational field of the moon (hence a launch window), the rotation of the earth and good sensible engineering. Launching from near the equator takes advantage of the fact, apparently unknown to the pseudo-scientists that the earth rotates at about 1000 miles per hour there. The moon also provides some energy, free, if the timing is right. The atmosphere charges nothing for providing the energy to slow the rocket down; as a matter of fact all our deep space probes have used as much cosmic freeloading as possible to reduce the propellant load. Mother nature can be very helpful.
The British Astronomer Royal, Sir Richard van der Riet Wooley (1906-1986) made many silly claims about space flight including when speaking to Time Magazine
in 1956 “It’s utter bilge. I don’t think anybody will ever put up enough money to do such a thing. What good would it do us? If we spent the same amount of money on preparing first-class astronomical equipment we would learn much more about the universe. It is all rather rot.” This was one year before Sputnik, and 13 years before the first manned landing on the moon. Isn’t it ironic that Astronomy has been so enriched by data obtained by such extraordinary space based observatories as Hubble, Chandra, Fermi, Spitzer and many more?
I suppose it is safe to say today that most astronomers recognize that man has indeed gone to the moon and back and has sent probes past all the planets except Pluto. Some have left the solar system. In another excellent example of pseudoscience, we have the statement by Hayden Planetarium director Dr. Neil de Grasse Tyson that our fastest spacecraft, the Voyager would take 70,000 years to go the distance to the nearest star, 4.3 light years. He said this on the Peter Jennings ABC TV Mockumentary
of February 24, 2005. This is as pseudo-scientific and misleading as Dr. Campbell’s work. Voyager has no propulsion system on it. It has been coasting much as a balloon or kite might in the sky or a bottle tossed into the ocean.
But can we seriously talk about going to the stars less than 70 years into the space age? Depends, as one might expect, on the details. The usual objection is to point to Albert Einstein’s relativity and the conclusion that nothing can go faster than the speed of light. However, Einstein also noted that the closer one gets to the speed of light, the more time slows down for things moving that fast. Sounds crazy, but this crazy notion has been verified. How much slower time moves for the high speed systems depends on how close one gets .At 99.9% of the speed of light it only takes 20 months pilot time to go 37 light years. At 99.99 % of the speed of light it would only take 6 months pilot time to go 37 light years . . . and so on. Now at this point the pseudo-scientists jump in “but relativity also indicates that the closer one gets to the speed of light, the more one’s mass increases and the more energy it takes to keep accelerating.” True? Not necessarily. The pseudo-scientists assume one must be accelerating by carrying along propellant, which is sent out the back of the rocket.
However, if one uses nuclear fusion reactions such as those between Deuterium (heavy Hydrogen) and Helium 3 (light Helium), the charged particles produced in these reactions are born with more than 10 million times as much energy per particle as they can get in a chemical rocket. They are not “accelerated” by the rocket, but are born that way and electromagnetically shipped out. Furthermore it also takes no energy to take advantage of the gravitational acceleration by massive bodies such as the moon, the sun, Jupiter, nearby stars, very dense black holes, maybe even twin neutron stars as suggested by Physicist Freeman Dyson. Be in the right place at the right time.
The devil is in the details. At Aerojet General Nucleonics in the early 1960s we did a serious study for the USAF on deep space fusion propulsion systems using D-He-3. Reports and papers were written and published such as Ref. 10. Naturally the pseudo-scientist anti-Ufologists never reference these studies. In my 1999 MUFON Paper
,“Star Travel? YES!” I gave more details and also noted the problems with pseudo-scientist-anti-Ufologist “Dr. Lawrence Krauss.”
The debunkers don’t even reference the successful ground testing of a number of nuclear fission rockets in the 1960s by Westinghouse Astro-nuclear Laboratory, Aerojet General, and Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. The most powerful one was the Phoebus 2B of LASL which was less than 7’ in diameter and operated at a power level of 4400 Megawatts.. twice the energy output of Grand Coulee Dam. Do they really think chemical rockets are the ultimate? Are they still using slide rules for their scientific computations (not that I am sure any do any SC)?
It seems to me that every advanced civilization will determine that its star produces its energy by nuclear fusion. We tested the first successful fusion device, a bomb, of course, in late 1952 in the Pacific. It produced the same explosive energy release as exploding 10 million tons of TNT. It created a fireball diameter of 3 miles. By comparison the biggest non-nuclear bombs dropped during WW 2 were 10-ton blockbusters. The Soviets later actually exploded a fusion weapon releasing the energy of 57 million tons of TNT. Remember that we Earthlings only figured out fusion as the energy producing process in the stars in 1938. Surely other civilizations figured out Nuclear fusion long before we did.(A thousand or million or billion years ago??) They probably also figured out something much more powerful a long time ago. One suggestion might be that they noted that as one goes from the big atom to the small nucleus, the size goes way down, but the energy goes way up per particle. This sounds crazy, but is not. What if we figure out how to get inside the small quarks of which neutrons, protons, etc are made? Will the energy go way up per particle?
It is almost laughable how silly some of the reactions are to these scientific facts. For example, UK debunker Peter Brookesmith in a review (Ref.11)
of FSS claimed that sure the mass increases, but people would hardly be able to move their bodies, lift their arms etc. This is nonsense. The change in mass occurs from the viewpoint of the observer not the high speed person.
Perhaps I better add that hydrogen and helium are the lightest and most abundant elements in the universe, which means they can be found wherever one is going. That is not true of uranium used in fission systems.
Another sticky wicket to some people is to assume that one would accelerate half way out to a target star and then decelerate the other half, all the while carrying all the propellant needed for the round trip. Obviously when one drives from Fredericton to Miami, one refuels along the way rather than carrying all the fuel for the trip from the beginning. One doesn’t keep the gas pedal to the floor; incidentally at 1G acceleration, it only takes a year to get close to the speed of light. Some have suggested in campus classes that I have conducted that it would take a decade, century, or millennium. A Nobel Prize winning Physicist, Dr. Edward Purcell, assumed accelerating at 1 G for 5 light years and then decelerating for 5 years and repeating the pattern in reverse to get home (from a star 10 light years away) and of course carrying all the fuel for the whole trip from the start. Not much payload fraction for such an absurd trip profile. This is the equivalent of assuming that a 747 keeps at full throttle when it gets to altitude instead of going into cruise mode. And of course it refuels when it lands. Many military planes refuel on the fly for most long missions. How many alien fuel storage stations are out there? Maybe like the coaling stations set up by England to facilitate ocean crossings a century ago!
SAUCERS COULDN’T CRASH
Another silly assumption is that it would be ridiculous to suggest that very sophisticated spacecraft from another solar system could possibly crash. Let us, of course, ignore the tragic loss of TWO space shuttles. I try, not always so gently, to point out that crashes occurring near Roswell and Aztec
(in New Mexico), Varginia in Brazil, seem to involve relatively small craft as opposed to the huge “mother ships” observed for example in the JAL Case on November 17, 1986, over Alaska or the Yukon Case of December 11, 1996. and so ably investigated by engineer Martin Jacek.. A useful analogy here is that different systems are designed for different environments. The US Navy operates massive nuclear fission powered aircraft carriers, which can run for 18 years without refueling. Each carries about 75 very much smaller non-nuclear powered jets, which can fly for a few hours at most. Different environments, and one has different systems. The space between stars is very different than that in the vicinity of a planet with an atmosphere and a high gravitational field. and heating and drag.
Some have demanded how could such an advanced tech system possibly crash. I point out that unexpected events and circumstances have often caused aircraft and rocket accidents. How about a sudden lightning and hailstone storm? How about bird strikes, pilot error, unexpected radio or radar signals, that interfered with navigation or propulsion systems?
Over and over again pseudo-scientific anti-Ufologists claim that the reported acceleration of flying saucers is far more than man can stand. “It is impossible” they shriek. One silly book (Ref.12)
even claimed that when one gets to 9 G-s one dies!. Sure, if one slams into a brick wall or much of anything else while being accelerated at 9Gs. But properly trained and constrained (seat belts etc) and with the force acting in the proper direction with reference to the body, one can stand quite high accelerations. For example, pilots can perform a tracking task while being accelerated at 14Gs for 2 minutes. That is about 300 miles per hour per second,. Astronauts are launched on their back because they can stand much more acceleration back to front than foot to head. The escape rocket on the Apollo Lunar excursion module would provide 13Gs in the event of a quick escape because of a fire down below. Colonel John Paul Stapp (1910-1999) once withstood 41Gs when a rocket sled very rapidly slowed down from 620mph in less than a second, and lived to tell the tale. Properly constrained one can stand 30Gs for 1 second.. That is 600 miles per hour per second. Obviously it may be that aliens create artificial gravity and are not accelerated in their reference system.
NATIONAL SECURITY and UFOs
The pseudo-scientists claim that secrets can’t be kept, that there would no reason to keep secret the recovery of a crashed saucer or alien visitations and that they would, using their own protocol, immediately make the world aware of the most important discovery of all time reception by a SETI specialist of a an alien signal.. What would be the big deal, except to improve their funding, of a reception of a possibly intelligent signal from a star hundreds of light years away?.. I suppose if it said “arriving in 2011 your time frame,. Please prepare dinner for 175 and arrange for a guided tour. No need to RSVP” that might be useful. Do they really expect the signal would help us solve our problems? Would we pay any attention if they said your birth rate is too high, you are destroying your planet, you need to learn to live at peace with each other, your religions are based on myths that we created…. We give you 10 years to straighten up,” that might be useful, but the presence and observation of high performance craft in our atmosphere not only tells us we are not alone, but might lead to better military systems for flight, for attack, for defense, for reconnaissance. The best systems for monitoring flight performance would be airborne or space borne and would produce data that is born classified. Wouldn’t any country with access to such technology want to keep it for themselves and not want to make their enemies aware? The Brits developed radar around 1938. They fooled the Germans into thinking they had no radar for the entire war . . . very important for winning the battle of Britain. They didn’t share it. They broke the German enigma codes; should they have announced that? It took 25 years for that little detail to be released after the war was over. The first nuclear chain reaction (leading to fission reactors and atomic bombs) was in December 1942. Should the US have published a paper about it? We had broken the Japanese codes. Should that have been published?
In Chapter 4 “The Cosmic Watergate” of FSS I note several multibillion dollar, multi year development programs conducted in secret for long periods of time. The SETI people are delighted as they should be with Paul Allen’s 35 million dollar contribution to the Hat Creek Observatory. A single B-2 bomber cost more than 2 billion dollars. I keep reminding people who think of research as being conducted at universities by a small group of professors and a bunch of graduate students who are very anxious to publish lest they perish, that way back in 1958, I was working as a nuclear physicist at the General Electric Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion Department near Cincinnati. We employed 3500 people full time of whom 1100 were engineers and scientists. We spent $100,000,000 that year. That was a great deal of money in 1958. The test data were all classified. And that wasn’t a “Black” program.
MOTIVATIONS FOR VISITATIONS
I am truly shocked by claims that there would be no good reason for alien visitors to come here or to be frightened of us Earthlings. I have an entire chapter in FSS about what is special about Earth and why aliens would of course be interested in coming here, besides the simple fact that we provide many opportunities for thesis research on a primitive society (us) whose major activity is clearly tribal warfare. Have we forgotten that we destroyed 1700 cities and killed 50 million Earthlings during WW 2 and that many millions more have been killed since? I would bet that we would be able to go to the stars before 2l00 using new developments in nuclear propulsion. Everybody in the neighborhood would rightfully be concerned. We also have a plethora of natural resources that may have been used by them for millennia. An awful lot of people traveled difficult journeys during the 19th century in search of gold to California, Alaska, Australia.. We spend 10s of billions of dollars on defensive and offensive weapons and on elaborate reconnaissance activities on the ground, in the air, and in space…. To make sure nobody will surprise us with an attack. Remember Pearl Harbor? The United States alone has tested 331 nuclear weapons. Peaceful Planet??
Are Earthlings peaceful? Every new frontier is a new place to do battle. Of course others in the neighborhood would be worried about us with our advanced nuclear destruction technology. We are not talking slingshots vs. laser weapons. It is easy to forget that the rate of the new development of advanced military technology has been exponential, mostly because of the enormous a expenditures that have been made, despite all the starvation. Look at the changes in just the past 62 years since Roswell. Earthlings can go much faster, and higher now than ever before at least in the past several thousand years. Think of lasers, microwaves, DNA, incredible devices for storing information, manipulating, and transmitting it. Think of Terabyte hard drives, cell phones, the internet, etc . . ..
It is very interesting, and distressing to look at debunkerdom. Basically it is based on several underlying assumptions:
1. There cannot be any alien visitors to Earth.
2. Governments cannot keep secrets.
3. There is no scientific data about flying saucers. Only anecdotal tales from uneducated observers. Please ignore the PhD Theses.
4. People are notoriously poor observers . . . except, of course, when we depend on their testimony to make identification. He must have been observing Venus because the characteristic behavior and location, as described by the witness, point to Venus.
5. There is no need for collection of large-scale studies because, after all, there are none.
6. There is certainly no physical evidence, so we can neglect the so-called physical trace cases,(Ted Phillips has collected several thousand cases from almost 90 countries) the radar visual cases, photographs that can withstand careful investigation.
7. The best way to investigate UFO sightings is to repeat the explanations of other debunkers. Proclaim, don’t investigate. Spreading the word, wrong though the explanations might be, is an effective way to suppress reportage and investigation by open minded people.
8. Always cast doubt upon the honesty and capability of witnesses and serious investigators alike. Whenever possible use such terms as believers, buffs, profit seekers, paranormal., new age.
If at all possible, don’t mention that the military group involved; the 509th, was the most elite military group in the world having dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 and two more at Operation Crossroads in the Pacific in 1946. Avoid the testimony of retired General Thomas Jefferson DuBose as to the instructions he received as Chief of Staff to General Roger Ramey head of the 8th Air Force from Ramey’s boss, General Clements McMullen“—cover it up, send some wreckage here, don’t talk about it again”.
Ignore the fact that Major Jesse Marcel, was the intelligence Officer of the 509th,the only atomic bombing outfit in the world and the first military man to collect wreckage from the debris field. Ignore the testimony of Colonel Jesse Marcel Jr. Medical doctor, flight surgeon,, helicopter pilot with 225 combat flying hours in Iraq and somebody who handled wreckage in 1947. Ignore the testimony of William Brazel (son of the rancher Mack Brazel) who also handled wreckage. Ignore the testimony of 27 first hand witnesses on the DVD “Recollections of Roswell” (Ref.13)
. Don’t mention that Colonel Blanchard, base commander, went on to be a 4 star General and Vice Chief of Staff of the USAF.
Focus on the Roswell Daily Record
of July 9,1947; ignore the many front page stories across the country from Chicago West on July 8, published before rancher Brazel had been reprogrammed..
Claim that witnesses came running to me and Bill Moore, Don Schmitt, Tom Carey, and Kevin Randle seeking attention, when in fact we all spent a huge amount of time and money seeking them out.
Claim, as the head of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry
has on several occasions, that nothing happened, but an inexperienced public relations man put out an unauthorized press story to garner attention. In summary “Don’t bother us debunkers with the facts, our minds are made up”. This is pseudoscience.
Re THE BETTY AND BARNEY HILL CASE
Constantly claim that Betty and Barney only saw a bright light in the sky, everything that came out under hypnosis is suspect. Claim Barney only repeated the stuff of Betty’s dreams since she was always telling him about them. Don’t mention the strange spots on their car, or the warts on his groin, or the analysis of Betty’s dress, . The missing time is only because they got lost on the country roads, Barney must have watched a special TV program. Betty was a UFO buff before her so called abduction. Sources are never given for these outlandish claims. The facts indicate that Betty and Barney saw the flying object FROM within a few hundred feet. Barney using binoculars saw beings behind a double row of windows. The object was seen in front of the moon (strange behavior for Jupiter) all without hypnosis. As a direct comparative analysis by Kathleen Marden in “Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience
, shows, Barney’s testimony did not match Betty’s dreams, and on and on. Numerous debunkers have picked up on the false claims despite their being made up. Pseudoscience is once again in the forefront.
Then of course there are the personal attacks. I have been told that I was only in Ufology for the money. “Why do you say that?” “I see you on a host of TV programs”.
“I don’t get paid for them”.
“Really? Not even Larry King?”
“ No.. I spend 2 days of my life to go to Los Angeles; they put me up at a hotel and cover transportation. They don’t provide meals or money for them and there is no fee.”
“Oh.. But you get publicity for your books.”
“Yes, and why not? They make a lot of money by selling commercials.”
At one point Wikipedia had an article claiming I had only worked on paper studies in industry. I did a lot of expensive experiments while working in industry on a number of large budget programs. I guess they don’t count.
If one makes an appropriately objective and careful examination of the pro and anti-UFO arguments, one finds that the evidence is overwhelming that Earth is being visited by intelligently controlled vehicles of extraterrestrial origin and that only pseudo-scientific arguments of a vocal but small group of debunkers stand in the way of reaching that conclusion.. along with a fear of ridicule for being logical. Take courage. I have had only 11 hecklers at more than 700 lectures and 2 of them were drunk.Suite ci-dessous...