GENERAL DISCUSSION AMONG SYMPOSIUM PARTICIPANTS
1. General Discussion
2. Article Summary Read into the Record
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I anticipated we would have difficulty keeping the members of the committee here at a time when important legislation is considered on the floor. We thought we would reserve the final few minutes for those of you who have made presentations to discuss among yourselves questions which may have been aroused by one of your colleagues' presentation today.
With that in mind, we are going to permit you to have a real free for all. Dr. Sagan.
Dr. Sagan. I just wanted to underline one point that Dr. Baker made. Congressman Roush, in his detailed presentation of the various Air Force systems, I am afraid that the main point won't come across to a lay audience, and that is that with relatively little expenditure of funds, it would be possible to significantly improve the available information.
Apparently what is now happening is that the Air Force surveillance radar is throwing away the data that is of relevance for this inquiry. In other words, if it sees something that is not on a ballistic trajectory, or not in orbit, it ignores it, it throws it in the garbage.
Well, that garbage is just the area of our interest. So if some method could be devised by the Air Force to save the output that they are throwing away from these space surveillance radars, it might be the least expensive way to significantly improve our information about these phenomena.
Mr. Roush. Thank you.
Dr. Baker. Let me just make a comment: That is quite true. At the present time our space surveillance sensors are about 200 percent overtasked. That means they could make about 50 percent of their time available to us. They task too many space objects, their capacity is much greater than the space objects that they are tasked to watch. The space population may grow to fill this void, but currently what Dr. Sagan says is true, we could as I indicated in conclusion (4) modify our current space surveillance system.
It is not an expensive thing to modify existing radars. The FPS-85 itself costs something like $100 million. The software modification called for here I am sure would be much less.
Mr. Roush. Dr. Hynek.
Dr. Hynek. I would just like to concur in what Dr. Sagan has said. I understand there are several hundred UCT's a month, uncorrelated targets, that because they don't -- 1 understand -- which since they do not follow ballistic trajectory, they are tossed out. It would not be expensive to introduce a subroutine into the computer to take care of these things for a short while. I strongly second Dr. Sagan's and Dr. Baker's suggestions.
Mr. Boone. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Roush. Mr. Boone.
Mr. Boone. I think the gentleman should advise you too, though, when you do that, you must make a trajectory determination on each target including aircraft which may put a terrific burden on the radar you are insisting on upgrading.
Dr. Hynek. I will certainly grant that.
Dr. Harder. I would only respond to Mr. Boone by suggesting you could reject all objects that were found, for instance, under 90,000 feet.
Mr. Boone. With that I agree. But I don't think we make many sightings at that altitude. We do have a problem here of what you want to look at. So in fact I think the thrust of Dr. Baker's argument here was that most of the Air Force equipment do not supply the material you would like to have.
So you are going to have to go to a much lower altitude, and you are going to have to check a much larger number of targets.
Dr. Sagan. I may have misunderstood, but my understanding was, since all of these "uninteresting" trajectory objects are thrown away, we have no way of knowing at the present time whether there are or are not large numbers of interesting objects at altitudes above 90,000 feet.
Mr. Boone. What this means is you check each one and determine its trajectory, and then throw it away, so it no longer becomes a simple task of saying "Oh, I only want to look at the unidentified ones." I have to check each one, and discard it.
Dr. Sagan. Isn't that being done already?
Mr. Boone. No, it doesn't do it below certain altitudes.
Dr. Sagan. Right.
Mr. Boone. All right. Certain targets are picked up at certain ranges, are they not?
Dr. Sagan. Right. So therefore the suggestion is that within the altitude range, that is being used anyway by the surveillance radar --
Mr. Boone. You complicate the procedure.
Dr. Sagan. Slightly.
Mr. Boone. The procedure is used but it involves the software again which is much more difficult to add to the systems than I believe is being presented. It can be done, there is no question it can be done.
Dr. Harder. I would agree the amount of effort that goes into the relative softwares, although by no means a $100 million project, it is not a very simple project.
Mr. Roush. Dr. McDonald, do you have a comment?
Dr. McDonald. Yes. I would underscore another one of the points, the general points that Dr. Baker made. I think it addresses itself to the question raised. Both scientists and members of the public are quite aware we have many monitoring radar systems, optical and so on.
This question is raised often, why aren't UFO's tracked? The point one is struck with in studying each of these systems in turn is the large degree of selectivity that is necessarily built into them. Good examples were cited by Dr. Baker.
It has to be kept well in mind that even systems like SAGE when they were developed necessarily had to have programmed into them certain speed limits both lower and upper, certain safe requirements like if the target was on an outbound path it could be ignored. In almost every monitoring system you set up, whether for defense or scientific purposes, if you don't want to be snowed with data, you intentionally built selectivity in, and then you do not see what you are not looking for.
Consequently, this point is important, that despite our many sensing and monitoring systems, the fact that they don't repeatedly turn up
The second comment I would make concerns Dr. Baker's remark that we should move ahead to instrumental techniques and perhaps lessen attention on the older data.
I too agree that we have much need to replace what police officers and pilots saw with good hard instrumental data, the sooner the better, but there are many fields in which once you get instrumental data, say seismology, and being to learn about the phenomenon you are studying, seismology, astronomy, meteorology, once you understand these things you do go back to exploit the knowledge that is implicit in older data. Seismologists do study old earthquake records to improve the seismicity data available. Ecologists do look at old shifts in plant and animal patterns. Astronomers do look at old eclipse information, because once you begin to understand a problem, you can then sort out much better the important material.
I would not want to see excluded entirely -- in fact, I think it would be folly to exclude observations that go back 20 years, and a part of the problem we have not talked about today, still earlier observations.
Dr. Baker. Yes, I concur in that.
My message there was that if we preoccupy ourselves with continually going over past history, it is going to be frustrating. I think we can always use past history in retrospect. In order to go back, as you say, to look at the data and to put it in the proper perspective, when we learn more about the phenomena. So I agree.
Mr. Roush. Is there any other aspect of previous presentations that any of you would like to question?
Dr. Baker. I have a question of Dr. Harder about the Ubatuba
Was this magnesium terrestrial? In other words, it is granted that
Ubatubas couldn't produce it, but could the magnesium have been
produced terrestrially, and if so, in what connection would we
produce and employ such magnesium here on earth?
Dr. Harder. Well, such pure magnesium is indeed produced
terrestrially in connection with Grignard reagents, and produced by
the Dow Chemical Co., where magnesium is produced in greater purity
actually than this.
At the time in 1957, the Brazilians did not have a sample of
magnesium from the U.S. Bureau of Standards that was as pure as this
Ubatuba magnesium with which to compare it. I might enlarge upon the
data which was produced, or which was gotten at the request of Dr.
Craig, that of the impurities found by the Colorado group, the
principal one was zinc strontium with barium being a runner-up. these
are very curious kinds of alloys from any terrestrial point of view.
No detected aluminum, and only three parts per million copper, and
those are the most likely alloying elements from the terrestrial
point of view.
Dr. Baker. Would you say that the sample was partially
terrestrialized, and it might be the remnants of an ultrapure
nonterrestrial alloy, or did it appear these particular impurities
were in the sample from the beginning?
Was this magnesium terrestrial? In other words, it is granted that Ubatubas couldn't produce it, but could the magnesium have been produced terrestrially, and if so, in what connection would we produce and employ such magnesium here on earth?
Dr. Harder. Well, such pure magnesium is indeed produced terrestrially in connection with Grignard reagents, and produced by the Dow Chemical Co., where magnesium is produced in greater purity actually than this.
At the time in 1957, the Brazilians did not have a sample of magnesium from the U.S. Bureau of Standards that was as pure as this Ubatuba magnesium with which to compare it. I might enlarge upon the data which was produced, or which was gotten at the request of Dr. Craig, that of the impurities found by the Colorado group, the principal one was zinc strontium with barium being a runner-up. these are very curious kinds of alloys from any terrestrial point of view.
No detected aluminum, and only three parts per million copper, and those are the most likely alloying elements from the terrestrial point of view.
Dr. Baker. Would you say that the sample was partially terrestrialized, and it might be the remnants of an ultrapure nonterrestrial alloy, or did it appear these particular impurities were in the sample from the beginning?
Dr. Sagan. So some comparison analysis has been made for example of the magnesium flares. A magnesium flare has an abundance of impurities?
Dr. Harder. It would hardly be 99.9 percent purity.
Dr. Sagan. That is what I meant.
Dr. Harder. Yes, that is right.
Dr. McDonald. Both Dr. Hall and Dr. Sagan remarked in different contexts on the intense emotional factors that predispose some people to certain systems of belief, and I would like to remark on that to be sure that some perspective is maintained on that part of the problem.
In the witnesses I have interviewed -- I have intentionally stayed away from those who immediately show a very strong interest in a salvation theory, or something like that -- so I have cut down my sample right at the start.
I would want to leave the point strongly emphasized that though there are a few people, and some of them rather visible and vocal, who are emotional about the problem and tie it to almost religious beliefs, the body of evidence that puzzles me, that bothers me, and I think demands much more scientific attention, comes from people who are really not at all emotional about it; they are puzzled by it, they are reliable, a typical cross-section of the populace. They have not built any wild theories on it.
In fact, let me mention one important sighting in New Guinea. I didn't interview the witness in New Guinea, out in Melbourne, Australia. An Anglican Missionary, Rev. William B. Gill, was teaching the school in New Guinea, and when he and some three dozen mission personnel saw an object hovering offshore with four figures visible on top of it, even this minister didn't begin to put any religious interpretation on it. He said this is what he saw, and he wrote very careful notes about it. It is that kind of evidence, and not evidence that comes from people with emotional factors predisposing them to system [sic] beliefs that impress me.
Mr. Roush. Let's have the psychologist speak here for just a moment.
Dr. Hall. Thank you.
I welcome that clarification.
The point I was making was not that the witnesses generally are emotional and precommitted to a position at all, but that the people who are interpreting the evidence after it has been gathered are usually precommitted beyond the point of rationality, and it is a very important distinction that you brought out.
The primary problem of witnesses, it seems to me, is this reluctance to report based apparently on a feeling that they will be ridiculed -- that their evidence is not welcome -- and I guess I can't resist telling the little story from the Wall Street Journal, quite recently, of a man who had five pet wallabys in Westchester County. A wallaby
Well, when they were finally relocated and caught then lots of people started admitting, yes, they had seen these wallabys, but after all, if you see a tiny kangaroo loping across the road in New Rochelle, you are reticent to report it.
Mr. Roush. Dr. Hynek again.
Dr. Hynek. I think that is a most interesting point that ties in. I think sometimes we don't ask ourselves really very fundamental questions, and that is, how is it that these reports exist in the first place?
It is not just because they are strange, because we don't have reports of Christmas trees flying upside down, or elephants doing strange things in the sky; the reports are strange, but they do have a certain pattern.
Now, I have often asked myself, well, why do the reports exist in the first place? And how many are reported?
Whenever I give a presentation to some group I frequently will ask them, well, how many of you have seen something in the skies you couldn't explain; that is a UFO, or some friend whose veracity you can vouch for?
I have been surprised to find that 10 to 15 percent, albeit it is a specialized audience, they are there already because they are interested, hence there is a selection factor, but nonetheless I am quite surprised that many respond.
Then I ask the second one, Did you ever report it to the Air Force? And maybe one or two will say that they have.
Now, why, then, should people make reports anyway, since they face such great ridicule? They do it for two reasons, those that I have talked to: One, is out of a sense of civic duty. Time and again I will get a letter saying, I haven't said this to anybody, but I feel it is my duty as a citizen to report this. And many letters come to me. In fact, even saying, please do not report this to the Air Force.
The second reason is that their curiosity finally bugs them. They have been thinking about it and they want to know what it was they saw, and many letters I get will end in a rather plaintive note, can you possibly tell me, or can you tell me whether it is possible what I saw?
Those two reasons are the "springs" of why the report is made in the first place. I don't know how much store can be put in the Gallup poll, but I understand when, about 2 years ago a poll was made on this subject, there was something like -- the poll reported 5 million people, 5 million Americans had seen something in the skies they could not explain. Over the past 20 years the Air Force has had some 12,000 reports. Therefore, one can logically ask, who is holding out on the other 4,988,000 reports?
I think there may be quite a reservoir of reports that simply have not come out into the open because of this natural reluctance of people to speak out.
Mr. Roush. Dr. Hynek, your experience has been similar to mine, although much more extensive. In the 10 years I have served on this committee I have had occasion to ask various witnesses their beliefs
The other day I was engaged in a colloquy over on the floor of the House, not a part of the record, but just as a side conversation, with two of my colleagues who sit on this committee.
(At this point, discussion was off the record.)
Mr. Roush. Back on the record.
As a result of my experience on this committee I have been privileged to visit the tracking stations which NASA has throughout the world. Each place I have visited I have asked the question, "Have you tracked any unidentified flying object?"
Well, it is obvious they apparently don't have the ability to track, but the response was "No," everywhere except in South Africa. Then they said, "anything we track, which we do not understand, we turn over to the Department of Defense," inferring there were some things they did not understand.
The same is true with those places in the world where there is a Baker-Nunn camera. I asked the same question of them. For the most part there was a boundless curiosity, but a negative response.
Dr. Hynek. I might respond to that, of course, in talking to them, you have represented officialdom, and they may themselves be a little afraid to say anything to a Congressman that might get them into trouble.
But I get reports sub rosa that are to the effect that people, trackers, and so forth, have seen things, but they would not dare think of reporting it.
Now, that is hearsay. I am sorry it is not hearsay; it has happened to me.
But it is not what I would call "solid evidence,"
Mr. Roush. Just one other comment. I serve on the board of trustees of a college back in Indiana. In the course of a year they had numerous lectures by outstanding people in their lecture series, quite outstanding people on various subjects, but they scheduled one lecture given by a student at the college on unidentified flying objects. Needless to say, he had the best attendance of the entire series.
Dr. Harder. Following on something that Dr. Hynek said about the small percentage of actual sightings that are reported, this would suggest that the two instances that I brought out, which to my knowledge are the only extant pieces of what you might call scientific information -- information containing information of a scientific nature, might well be multiplied by a factor of 10, if it were not for this ridicule bit, and furthermore, if it were not the subject of ridicule, many people would perhaps take greater care in the observations that they do make, and perhaps come up with similar kinds of anecdotal nature of somewhat more importance than just flashing lights.
For instance, the plane of polarization or -- well, many kinds of observations came to us. We would have even at this point far more anecdotal information of a scientific nature and of scientific importance than we now have.
Mr. Roush. I think those of you who have sat on this panel today have made perhaps a greater contribution than you realize in adding
Does anyone else have anything here?
Mr. Fulton. Mr. Chairman, sightings of UFO's in western Pennsylvania have now increased to the point where interested citizens have established a UFO Research Institute with a 24-hour answering service, to investigate reports and sightings.
In my congressional district, there is the Westinghouse astronuclear plant, whose fine work is well known to the members of our committee. As I have been asked by Mr. Stanton T. Friedman, a nuclear physicist at Westinghouse who makes a hobby of investigating UFO sightings and publicly speaking on the subject, it is a pleasure to insert a statement by Mr. Friedman, "Flying Saucers Are Real" into the record at this point. He is one of the few observers with the candor to conclude and so state that "the earth is being visited by intelligently controlled vehicles" from outer space.
(Mr. Friedman's statement follows:)
BY STANTON T. FRIEDMAN, NUCLEAR PHYSICIST
While almost everyone has heard of flying saucers and has an opinion about them, most people including the non-believing scientists who have made such definite statements about their non-existence are ignorant not only of the facts concerning UFO's but also of the technology that might aid one in understanding the vehicles' motion, the possibility of interplanetary and interstellar travel, or the possibility of life on Mars.
Sightings of UFO's are relatively common and have occurred all over the world. One out of every 25 adult Americans has seen a UFO. Judging from the one detailed, official, scientific investigation that has been published, one-fifth of the sightings can be labeled as Unknowns. These Unknowns are completely separate and distinct from the 20% of the 2199 sightings which were labeled "Insufficient Information" because some vital piece of data was missing. Many of the Unknowns are reported by highly trained, competent witnesses who have close-up sightings lasting for many minutes. UFO's have been observed on radar and been subsequently labeled as Unknowns. There have been simultaneous radar and visual sightings. Comparisons between Knowns and Unknowns clearly showed definite differences in color, shape, size, velocity, maneuverability, etc.
The usual arguments made against "visitations" are based upon false assumptions, wrong (unanswerable) questions and faulty knowledge. "Things cannot go that fast in the atmosphere -- spaceflight is impossible -- trips to the stars are impossible, if they were here they would talk to us ... etc." The typical educated non-believer focuses on the irrelevant UFO's and poor sightings by incompetent observers and carefully neglects the UNKNOWNS seen by competent observers. The great probability that there are civilizations thousands, perhaps millions of years, ahead of us and possessing technology about which we are probably totally ignorant is neglected. The distressing thought that we, the inhabitants of this planet, might not be worth talking to is pushed aside. The most effective filter between the facts as they are and the widespread distribution of those facts has been ridicule. Fewer than 1% of the sightings that have occurred have been investigated or reported. Documents containing solid data about UFO's rather than IFO's have been privately published so that most people have never seen the data that they contain. An entire mythology of false information has been widely distributed instead. Now is the time to break through the "laughter curtain." Studies done six years ago at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory showed that trips to the stars in reasonable times are feasible with the knowledge we have today using staged fission or fusion propulsion systems both of which are under development. A tremendously large body of data connected with magnetoaerodynamics even suggests we might be able to build something very much like the reported UFO's -- and also solve many of the problems of high speed flight and produce the electromagnetic effects so frequently associated with UFO sightings. "It's impossible" is said instead of "We don't know how."
Literally hundreds of reports from all over the world also testify to the existence of humanoid creatures associated with UFO's on the ground. Once again ridicule has kept the facts from being known. More than 200 landings have been documented for 1954 alone.
There are good pictures of UFO's from all over the world -- most of which have also not received the publicity that they deserve.
A good example of the ridiculousness of the professional skeptics' attitude is the statement that "life as we know it cannot exist on any other body in the solar system." It sounds sensible until we note that we expect to send men to the moon and to Mars. The primary attribute of an advanced intelligent civilization is its ability to create its own environment almost everywhere such as the bottom of the ocean, in outer space, and on the surface of airless, waterless bodies such as the moon and Mars. For those who believe that the Mariner IV pictures of Mars proved that there isn't life there, it should be pointed out that of 10,000 pictures taken of the earth from a satellite with cameras of the same resolving power as those used on Mariner IV, only 1 (one) gave any indication of life on earth.
Max Planck once said that new truths come to be accepted not because their opponents come to believe in them but because their opponents die and a new generation grows up that is accustomed to them. Perhaps this is what will happen with UFO's.
As a personal note, I would like to say this has been one of the most unusual and most interesting days I have spent since I have been in the Congress of the United States.
I thank each of you.
(Whereupon, at 4:39 p.m., the committee was adjourned.)