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More UFOs

Entry 324, on 2006-05-10 at 14:54:17 (Rating 3, Skepticism)

After my blog about UFOs from a few days ago, I have spent a bit of time looking at UFO sites on the Web. One type of report has always bothered me - that was the sightings by intelligent, well informed, and experienced people like astronauts and test pilots. I found an interesting site which examines a lot of these claims, and it turns out that the reporting of these events, and the conclusions drawn from them, don't stand up to much scrutiny.

When the claims are actually examined they are full of factual errors, embellishments of the original story, incorrect and illogical conclusions, and just simple lies. I've included a few of the more interesting cases here so you can see the sort of thing I mean. Notice how simple the explanations are when the full and true facts are known.

It started in the early days of space exploration on 20 Feb 1962 when John Glenn saw three objects follow him and overtake him at different speeds. What isn't usually mentioned is that he said that these "snowflakes" were small, and seemed to be coming from the rear of the capsule. Many other flights have been able to reproduce this phenomenon which is caused by frozen material detaching from the spacecraft.

Sometimes the stories are so full of errors that they must be total fiction. For example, on 30 May 1962 a test pilot Joe Walton was said to have photographed five disk-like objects. Not only is there no support for this, but the name isn't even right. The pilot's name was actually Joe Walker.

On 16 May 1963 astronaut Gordon Cooper reported a greenish UFO with a red tail seen from his Mercury capsule. The story is a deliberate misquote of a sighting of the Aurora Australis over Australia. Cooper since has rejected all UFO stories attributed to him.

During the Gemini 12 mission, astronauts Lovell and Aldrin saw four UFOs linked in a row. They both said the objects were not stars. Unfortunately, the explanation was somewhat less exciting than alien spacecraft. they were looking at some bags of trash they had previously thrown out of the spacecraft. The incident has been deliberately misquoted in UFO books.

There are reports that, during the Apollo 8 mission astronauts Borman and Lovell reported an unidentified object ten miles up. The event actually occurred during a previous mission and knew he was looking at debris left over from a booster separation.

Many UFO events are associated with Apollo 11. Reportedly a UFO even chased the spacecraft. These relate back to debris again. Another famous photo, supposedly taken by Aldrin, is a forgery done by a UFO magazine.

Another false report relates to Apollo 12. It states that a UFO accompanied them to within 132,000 miles of the Moon, preceding them all the way. But they didn't say that at all. They were actually joking about a piece of their own booster rocket. Later on the same mission they were initially puzzled by a light between them and Earth, which was later identified as a reflection on the ocean below.

I know it only takes one true case to make all the fake stories irrelevant. But I don't think that one true case really exists. The fact that its so incredibly easy to explain even the best UFO stories to me means that we should assume they are all highly suspect, or even false, until better evidence is produced.

The site I sourced most of the above information from is: http://www.debunker.com/texts/astronaut_ufo.html

Link at: http://www.debunker.com/texts/astronaut_ufo.html

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