Monday, July 27, 2020

UFO’s again, really?

    It’s long been a favorite subject of those less principled supermarket tabloids. Spine-tingling and ultra-mysterious sightings of Unidentified (and possibly nefarious) Flying Objects. Usually such sighting are associated with some secret government agency site near Roswell, New Mexico, reputed to be hiding and studying an alien space ship that crashed in 1947. A Roswell UFO museum and research center draws flocks of tourists.

    Without doubt both civilian and military pilots and crews have sighted strange phenomena over the decades. Many sightings can be explained as the bright planet Venus or unusual cloud formations, or even high-flying birds. During years of piloting my Cessna I occasionally spotted a bird as high as 3,500 feet. The bald eagle can soar at 10,000 feet. The Andean condor with its ten-foot wingspan can glide at 20,000 feet, and the endangered Ruppell’s griffon vulture has been spotted at an astonishing 37,000 feet, which is also the frigid realm of airliners. So, birds might easily become mysterious UFOs in marginal meteorological conditions like fog or haze or twilight. But there are always a few sightings that have remained inexplicable by any known natural causes, keeping the UFO story alive.

    But the leap to objects of possible extraterrestrial origin is one so giant as to be nearly impossible for several reasons. The nearest star other than our own sun is over four light years away, meaning it takes that long for light zipping along at 186,000 miles per second to reach us across those almost unimaginable 26 trillion miles. That’s 26 thousand billion miles. At some significant fraction of lightspeed, it could take alien vehicles hundreds of years to make that journey. For what? It’s illogical on several levels.

    Our government has been investigating UFOs for many years within agencies limping along on annual budgets of only ten or 20 million dollars, relatively insignificant line items in our budgeted multiple billions.

    Recently a secretive Navy program buried within the Office of Naval Intelligence has come to light in the news. They’ve been studying these phenomena they’ve renamed Unexplained Flying Objects. They don’t quite believe it could be aliens. More like the Chinese or North Koreans or Russians up to insidious shenanigans.

    I suppose that could be possible, although it also seems an absurd stretch, considering that most anything they’d want to observe can be done quite well with satellites these days.

    But it’s yet something else our government can spend money on, so I guess that’s good news.


Please, people, let’s mask up in public and keep our distance. Together we can beat this virus. Japan is a great example. Nearly the entire population has been politely masking and distancing and their resultant per capita case counts and deaths are a small fraction of ours, which are by far the worst on the planet among developed nations.

Check out the North Carolina suspense novel series Guns, Diamondback, Kllrs, and Deathsman in print or Kindle on Amazon for some distracting pandemic reading. People seem to like the yarns.

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