Do we have any Credible UFO Claims?


ufoAs a kid I loved the idea of UFOs and so I fed myself on a constant diet of stuff gleaned from bookstores that would weave tales of ancient and modern aliens visitors, and I do not mean just the science fiction, but the claims of supposedly real aliens. It was all stuff that made many professionals familiar with such things cringe in horror at the way things were being bent way out of shape, but this was pre-internet and so the only feed I had was the bookstore and I would quite naturally gravitate towards the things that just tickled the teenage mind.

We now live in a different era, one in which we all carry high-resolution cameras in our pockets, so in the event of finding ourselves on some lonely country lane and just happen to catch some aliens lifting a few cattle off to the mothership for some rectal examination, then a few quick pictures would very rapidly resolve the issue once and for all … but no, it just has not happened. The UFO community still thrives of course and has moved with the times to include claims of artefacts within various NASA images from orbiters and also shuttle cameras. Often things pop up that set the UFO community alight but what happens when this “proof” is presented to an engineer familiar with what can actually turn up in such images?

Former NASA engineer James Oberg has made it a hobby to review all the various claims that pop up and so he proceeds to carefully explain what is actually being seen vs what is being claimed, and over on Science Alert we have a nice article about his work …

As Cara Giaimo from Atlas Obscura reports, after working at NASA mission control in the late ’90s, Oberg went on to become a space journalist and historian. It wasn’t until a few years ago that he started to take UFO sightings seriously.

His goal isn’t to simply crap all over true believers – he calls that “stomping on dormice” – instead he’s interested in teasing out exactly what’s going on in these images and videos, and trying to figure out why people are reacting so strongly to them.

His hypothesis? Our human senses our so used to focussing on relatively slow-moving objects, as well as certain light and atmosphere conditions, that when things change, our brains get confused. 

“Our sensory system is functioning absolutely perfectly for Earth conditions,” Oberg told Giaimo. “But we’re still a local civilisation. Moving beyond our neighbourhood has been visually confusing.”

That is basically the best goal, the pursuit of truth, and so the best questions to ask is to ponder over what we are seeing and why we have not seen what we think we have seen.

The real story? Space dandruff, which are things that have shed off space vehicles during flight, like ice flakes, paint chips, or fragments of insulation. They’re different to space junk, because they don’t pose a real threat to spacecraft, Oberg explains on his site.

These flecks of dandruff are pretty common, but the reason they look so weird to us is that we’re not used to the way these objects look when they fall while the space station is travelling through space.

It’s the same reason why people see so many UFOs in the footage filmed by the cameras attached to NASA’s old space shuttle missions.

Incidentally, as an aside, one of the big challenges regarding a trip to MARS is the question concerning what to do with human waste. It might sound easy, but it is not because you can’t just toss it outside. Since you are travelling as a specific velocity, then tossing it out means that it will do the same and so you would end up arriving at MARS surrounded quite literally by a cloud of shit, and you really really don’t want that.

SGU Highlights this

I came across the work of James Oberg because it (quite rightly) popped up in the Skeptics Guide the the Universe Facebook feed. Now what makes that all quite fascinating is that being a feed that attracts skeptics (duh, well yes of course), a few asked a few good questions, for example …

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… and in response, James Oberg himself pops up and answers, then carries on answering other questions as well …

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Now how cool is that?

Where is his Website?

You can find it here.

And from there you have articles such as …

… and lots more.

Enjoy.

One Final Thought

Is there intelligent alien life out there?

The universe is vast and within our galaxy alone there are most probably millions of earth-like planets. Also remember that our galaxy is just one of hundreds of billions, so most probably yes there is intelligent life out there, but so far the evidence we actually have of any visiting us is more or less zero.

Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” ― Arthur C. Clarke

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