Are we alone in the universe?

This is a rendition of a possible UFO traveling the vast universe looking for intelligent life

Photo via Pixabay under the creative commons license

This is a rendition of a possible UFO traveling the vast universe looking for intelligent life

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Imagine yourself walking in the middle of the night, alone. You hear nothing; time seems to stand still. You look up into the starry sky and see something that you cannot explain. Out in the distance you see a spectrum of different colored lights flashing above you. The light is so bright you can hardly open your eyes. One second later, the light vanishes. What just happened? Could this really have been an actual extraterrestrial sighting?

Project Blue Book, an official project run by the United States Air Force from 1952 until 1969, aimed to solve the mystery of extraterrestrials and/or intelligent life.

Everything started in 1947, when a United States army general named Lt. General Nathan Twining experienced a strange situation when he encountered a group of disc-like aircrafts. Not so long after, Nathan Twining sent a classified memo to the Pentagon titled “Flying Discs.”

In the memo, Twining stated that the discs demonstrated “extreme rates of climb, maneuverability, and motion which must be considered evasive when sighted or contacted by friendly aircraft and radar.”

After Twining’s memo, Project Sign was started at the Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton Ohio. Later on, Project Grudge replaced Project Sign. Both aimed at resolving the strange encounter that Twining experienced. Neither of these projects collected sufficient data and were not able to come to any feasible conclusions. This is why the famous Project Blue Book was born.

Project Blue Book officially ran from 1952 to 1959 with the primary motive to determine two things: “Determine if UFOs were a threat to national security and scientifically analyze any and all collected UFO-related data” (allthatsinteresting.com). The actions of Project Blue Book primarily consisted of looking for UFOs. When a UFO sighting was reported, the operatives working for the project would scientifically and genuinely researching each UFO sighting. Some popular cases included the Lubbock Lights, a UFO from Texas, and a radar case over Washington D.C that happened in 1952.

Major General John A. Samford released a statement at the Pentagon stating, “I am here to discuss the so-called flying saucers. Air Force interest in this problem has been due to our feeling of an obligation to identify and analyze to the best of our ability, anything in the air that may have the possibility of threat or menace to the United States. In pursuit of this obligation since 1947, we have received and analyzed between one and two thousand reports that have come to us from all kinds of sources.”

Project Blue Book had many leaders that ran the program throughout the 17 years it existed. The first head of Project Blue Book was Captain Edward J. Ruppelt. In fact, Ruppelt was the person to officially coin the term “Unidentified Flying Object.” Ruppelt’s lead scientific advisor was J. Allen Hynek, a famous astronomer from Chicago. Hynek, being an educated scientist, legitimized and drew the line between a bunch of soldiers looking into the sky for strange flashing lights and a true scientific study about advanced life beyond Earth.

As stated in allthatsinteresting.com, “Hynek went into the project a self-proclaimed skeptic and admitted that sometimes he tried too hard to explain the strange phenomenon away with implausible reason.”

Towards the end of Project Blue Book, Hynek wanted to implement a stronger focus on the scientific detail and research rather than just focusing on the public relations aspect of the project. What Hynek meant was that he wanted to focus on finding real UFOs, not try to convince and make sure the public knew that UFOs were just a figment of the imagination. Sadly, while the focus of the project started to shift towards a scientific outlook, Project Blue Book was deteriorating. Before more research could be accomplished, the project came to an end.

Allen Hynek once said, “The entire Blue Book operation was a foul-up based on the categorical premise that the incredible things reported could not possibly have any basis in fact.”

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