2. Prepared Statement
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He held the post of Research Assistant in the Texas A&M Research Foundation from 1960-1963. During this time he served as a technician, operator, and data interpreter with the LaCoste-Romberg S-9 Sea-Surface Gravity Meter. From February-June 1962 he worked for Dr. G. P. Woollard aboard the NSF Polar Research Vessel ELTANIN where he was in charge of testing the S-9 gravity meter and interpreting meter performance. He was an IBM 709 operator and senior programmer in the physical sciences for the Texas A&M Data Processing Center until the latter part of 1964. He received his Ph.D. while in the position of Chief Marine Geophysicist for Oceanonics, Inc., where he worked in techniques, instrumentation, and interpretation in the fields of gravimetry, magnetics, electrical methods, and computer operations. He joined the Applied Research Group of the Fort Worth Division of General Dynamics in the latter part of 1965. Since that time he has been engaged in studies of the methodology, instrumentation, and interpretation of geophysical investigations on lunar and planetary surfaces, particularly in the fields of gravimetry and electrical methods. He is currently Project Leader on the lunar surface
Dr. Henderson is a member of Alpha Chi, the American Geophysical Union, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, the American Astronautical Society, the Marine Technology Society, the Working Group on Extraterrestrial Resources, and Sciences Subcommittee Chairman of the Marine Geodesy Committee.
Although the common image persists of the scientist as an infallible front of wisdom and knowledge, the majority of reported activities of scientists relating to UFO studies has been nonprofessional by nature, i.e., prominent scientists have addressed themselves to the problem in a manner which they would certainly not approach problems within their respective fields. Such an example is the unfortunate selection of the University of Colorado team headed by a respected scientist, with the result that the squirrel-cage atmosphere usually associated with UFO interest has been augmented by built-in bias and confusion, rather than eliminated by one group of scientists' involvement. One scientist has even published an article in Science (15 September 1967) implying that competent scientists would accept magic (or "semi-magic") as an answer to the existence of UFO's, and that our limited capabilities in their current stage may be our ultimate technical heritage. Is there not the slightest chance that, even today, there actually remain a few physical phenomena which we do not understand, or of which we are not even aware -- and perhaps a few we misinterpret, but for which we are shrewdly able to concoct a convenient "law" by way of appeasingly [sic]* sufficient (but not necessary) explanation? If "others" exist, are they limited to our level of advancement?
As noted in the Special Report of the USAF Scientific Advisory Board Ad Hoc Committee to Review Project "Blue Book" (March 1966) some sightings classified as "identified" resulted from too meager or too indefinite evidence to permit positive listing in that category. The keys to scientific achievement have several notches, but the material is comprised of competent open-mindedness, which appears to have been all too commonly lacking in the topic of concern. Historically, many of the most astonishing accomplishments have been performed by those who persisted even in the fog of ridicule exuded by their capable but narrow-minded colleagues. Several professional, qualified observers with proper instrumentation, planning, and time should be able to devise schemes in an unbiased manner to (1) determine what UFO's ARE NOT, then (2) determine what, if anything tangible, they ARE.
Most thoughtful persons will dismiss the theatrical claims of trips on "saucers." cavorting with little green men, and the like; however, some very plausible reports from highly trained, capable, and reliable individuals cannot be so readily discarded by anyone willing to admit that there are still a few things we do not understand. God help us if our military and commercial pilots and radar facilities so commonly mistake temperature inversions, balloons, atmospheric disturbances, the planet Venus, etc. for maneuvering vehicles. Have you ever tried to convince two veteran pilots that the object they reported sighting on a clear day with CAVU conditions, free of traffic lanes, showing on their radar .screen, exhibiting high maneuverability, in close proximity, etc., is meteoric debris? If so, then the wrong people are being examined.
To my knowledge, all "facts" on UFO's, here and abroad, exist in the form of visual sightings and a few, apparently unretouched photographs. Not to discredit the value of unaided observation, but with our degree of technological sophistication, these are hardly the sort of facts to justify the position of the
Classified (or "unavailable") reports, mostly by the military, rob the public and scientific parties who are interested in and willing to participate in the UFO investigations. How can we even begin to evaluate for ourselves if we must depend nearly 100 percent on information doled out by the news media alone? Many scientists communicate with each other on the subject, often at scientific meetings (aside), but this route is hardly sufficient to establish a recognized basis for realistic study of the problem.
The current USAF trend seems to be merely a statement that UFO's do not pose a threat to the security of the United States, and therefore warrant neither credence nor further concern. Similar words come from some of the few Congressmen with whom I have communicated. The discovery of Noah's Ark in Times Square would not necessarily pose a threat to national security either, but it would certainly be a find worthy of the most intensive investigation whether certain individuals accepted its existence or not.
Is it not obvious that what we need to establish the existence or non-existence of UFO's is not merely a review of sighting incidents, but an implemented plan to acquire hard facts? Rapid, accurate reporting of sightings is obviously a valuable tool in studying UFO phenomena, but many of the most creditable observers (military personnel and airline pilots, for example) are not only hesitant to do so, they are understandably adamant when facing the alternatives of silence versus inviting ridicule, and possibly jeopardizing their positions. The obvious addition to gathering interview data is to enlist the aid of the impersonal machine. Evaluate, compile, and catalog reported data according to: time of day and year; atmospheric conditions (cloudy, humid, temperature, calm, and other easily recountable gross observations); geographic location; approximate size, shape, altitude, velocity, heading, maneuvers; and phenomena reportedly associated with the UFO presence. This can be done with existing information. Update and upgrade the files with new data by soliciting information (particularly military and commercial pilots). Then prepare a plan designed by scientists, engineers, pilots, and perhaps psychologists, on means to acquire instrument observations of UFO's hopefully coupled to visual observations.
Field-instrument packages could easily be placed in areas where UFO sightings are most concentrated, perhaps according to the time of day or year, atmospheric conditions, or some factor suspected to 'be related to sighting activity. Such packages might be composed largely of military "surplus" instrumentation such as an infrared scanner, an active rf unit, a wide-band electromagnetic detector, a directional radiation counter and ionization gauge, a high-speed photographic camera, a three-component magnetometer, and recording environmental devices (temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, etc.). If it became advantageous to include a higher degree of sophistication, such items as a tracking television camera, a communications telemetry system, a sensitive audio recorder with a directional antenna might be added. Deployment and maintenance of the field package could easily be performed by military, university, or industrial technicians, but all data reduction and interpretation should be done by competent scientists familiar with the respective measuring techniques.
We should anticipate gathering sufficient data leading to proof of the existence or non-existence of UFO's, and, if they are real, the size(s), shape (s), flight characteristics (speed, rates of turn and climb, preferred direction of travel, etc.), possible means of propulsion and navigation, perhaps the establishment of communications, and eventually their origin.
Questions of expense and management responsibilities immediately come to mind, but I think the government would be surprised how many qualified scientists, engineers, and technicians would be willing to participate on a low-dollar, volunteer, "as can" basis in support of such a program. At least an inexpensive newsletter could be distributed to the scientific and pilot groups for comments, as a start. Because of the history of wasted funds and unwieldy publicity associated with the UFO problem, the public may not be very receptive to such a proposal
If there are UFO's in existence here, and IF they are extraterrestrial, by mere intuition I seriously doubt that they would be manned. I know of no animal to take the reported g's undergone by some UFO's. In all due fairness to those who believe otherwise, we must readily admit that only a few years ago spacecraft, airplanes, nuclear power, television, human transplants, and many other items presently taken for granted were "impossible," even deemed foolish for consideration.
Conditions in our solar system appear to limit life as we know it (the catch phrase) to Earth, but the probability of almost identical environments just within the visible universe is extremely high. Even if, for some reason obscure to me, life must exist "as we know it," there are, in my opinion, innumerable possibilities of such existence. Manned travel over the required distances would take life-support systems, fuel, and means of propulsion beyond our present ability to deliver in time for us to realize results; therefore it must be impossible if we can't do it!
Certain publicized activities under contract purport to be concerned with scientific and engineering studies related to UFO's (for example, Raytheon's Autometric Division, Stanford Research Institute, University of California, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Ford Motor Company, etc.). These may yield worthwhile results in the UFO study if the primary goal is not to pursue funded research for its own sake, as is too often the case.
There is only one concrete proposal which I would extend at this time. Either we admit (1) that past funds are wasted; (2) that our technology is not up to the job; (3) that we can afford to ignore one of the potentially most significant "phenomena" in the recorded history of the human race; (4) that we will close our minds to that part of human curiosity which seeks to extend our knowledge; and (5) that we are willing to make these decisions on the flimsiest of evidence, i.e., for-the-most-part-personal opinions, OR we will make a long-overdue, concentrated, unemotional effort to ascertain (1) the existence or non-existence of hardware UFO's, and if they exist, (2) the origin of UFO's, (3) the means of propulsion, navigation, and associated operational characteristics of UFO's, (4) the intent of the presence of UFO's, and (5) surely a multitude of knowledge, and perhaps greatly extended capability which would result from studying a UFO craft and communicating with the occupants, if any.