Stonehenge skeleton came from Mediterranean

LONDON — A wealthy young teenager buried near Britain's mysterious Stonehenge monument came from the Mediterranean hundreds of miles away, scientists said Wednesday, proof of the site's importance as a travel destination in prehistoric times.

The teen — dubbed "The Boy with the Amber Necklace" because he was unearthed with a cluster of amber beads around his neck — is one of several sets of foreign remains found around the ancient ring of imposing stones, whose exact purpose remains unknown.

The British Geological Survey's Jane Evans said that the find, radiocarbon dated to 1,550 B.C., "highlights the diversity of people who came to Stonehenge from across Europe," a statement backed by Bournemouth University's Timothy Darvill, a Stonehenge scholar uninvolved with the discovery.

"The find adds considerable weight to the idea that people traveled long distances to visit Stonehenge, which must therefore have had a big reputation as a cult center," Darvill said in an e-mail Wednesday. "Long distance travel was certainly more common at this time than we generally think."

The skeleton, thought to be that of a 14- or 15-year-old, was unearthed about two miles (3 kilometers) southeast of Stonehenge, in southern England.

Clues to the adolescent's foreign origins could be found in the necklace, which isn't a recognized British type. But he was traced to the area around the Mediterranean Sea by a technique known as isotope analysis, which in this case measured the ratio of strontium and oxygen isotopes in his tooth enamel.

Different regions have different mixes of elements in their drinking water, for example, and some of those are absorbed into a person's tooth enamel as he or she grows up. Analysis of the isotopes of oxygen and strontium carried in the enamel can give scientists a good but rather general idea of where a person was raised.

[Around the world: Stonehenge replicas, impressive and whimsical]

The teen, whose necklace suggests he came from a rich family, is one of several long-distance travelers found near Stonehenge. The "Amesbury Archer," so-called because of the stone arrowheads he was found with, was buried three miles (5 kilometers) from Stonehenge but is thought to have come from the Alpine foothills of central Europe. The "Boscombe Bowmen," also found nearby, are thought to have come from Wales or possibly Brittany.

It isn't clear precisely what drew these people to Stonehenge, a site which has existed in various forms for some 5,000 years. It clearly had an important ceremonial function, and the area around it is dotted with the remains of prehistoric monuments and tombs. Some say it was at the center of a sun-worshipping culture or that it served as a kind of astronomical calendar.

Others, like Darvill, also say it might have been an important healing site, drawing pilgrims from across Europe like a prehistoric version of Lourdes.
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Mars, Here We Come! Congress Approves $19 Billion NASA Budget

Congress passed a vital NASA authorization bill late Wednesday, paving the way for an extra space shuttle flight next year and a new human spaceflight plan that takes aim at missions to an asteroid -- and ultimately even to Mars.

The NASA authorization bill approved by the House includes a $19 billion budget in 2011 for the U.S. space agency, and a total of $58 billion through 2013. It paves the way for several NASA projects, among them a new heavy-lift rocket for deep space missions and funding to aid the development of commercial space vehicles for eventual NASA use.

The bill was originally approved by the Senate on Aug. 5. The House opted to vote on the Senate's NASA authorization bill after running out of time on a compromise version proposed by Congressman Bart Gordon (R-Tennessee) last week. The fiscal year ends Thursday (Sept. 30).

The House officially voted in favor of the bill at about 11:37 p.m. EDT (0337 GMT). The 304-118 decision came just before Congress heads into recess until after the Nov. 2 elections.

President Obama's new space plan, announced in February, cancelled NASA's moon-oriented Constellation program set forth by former President George W. Bush and called for more ambitious deep space missions to an asteroid and Mars. The Constellation program was responsible for the Orion space capsules and Ares rockets set to follow the shuttle program.
"Passage of this bill represents an important step forward towards helping us achieve the key goals set by the President," NASA chief Charles Bolden said in a statement in response to House vote. "This important change in direction will not only help us chart a new path in space, but can help us retool for the industries and jobs of the future that will be vital for long term economic growth."

Extra shuttle flight, commercial space funds

The NASA authorization bill, S. 3729, officially clears NASA to add one extra space shuttle flight to the two final missions already planned before the shuttle fleet is retired in 2011.

It also allows NASA to extend its role in the International Space Station through at least 2020 and sets aside $1.3 billion over three years to support the development of commercial spacecraft, less than half of the $3.3 billion the White House has requested.

Obama's space plan tasks NASA to draw on commercial space vehicles to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station. Until those commercial vehicles are available, the U.S. would rely on Russian Soyuz craft to fly humans in space and unmanned Russian, Japanese and European freighters to launch cargo.

NASA officials have said the extra shuttle flight would likely fly sometime around June 2011 aboard the Atlantis orbiter. It will deliver large spare parts and cargo to the space station. The space agency chose a veteran four-man crew for this final space shuttle flight earlier this month.

But the extra space mission would not affect the coming Oct. 1 layoffs of nearly 1,400 shuttle workers by NASA contractor United Space Alliance – a joint venture by Boeing and Lockheed Martin that oversees NASA's shuttle fleet. USA announced the shuttle worker layoffs in July as part of a workforce reduction plan due to the space shuttle fleet's impending retirement.

The layoffs, which affect workers in Florida, Alabama and Texas, will take effect Friday. USA spokeswoman Kari Fluegel told SPACE.com in July that the layoffs would occur despite the addition by Congress of an extra shuttle flight to NASA's schedule. However, the extra mission could affect plans for any future layoffs, she added.

NASA and its contractors are currently preparing the shuttle Discovery to launch Nov. 1 to deliver a new storage room and humanoid robot prototype to the station. The shuttle Endeavour is slated to fly Feb, 26, 2011 to deliver a nearly $2 billion astrophysics experiment – called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer – to the space station. After that flight, the $100 billion station will be complete after more than 12 years of construction.

Big new rocket

Obama's space plan also calls for astronauts to visit an asteroid by 2025 and then aim for a manned Mars mission in the 2030s. A heavy-lift rocket for those missions was slated to begin development in 2015.

Under the spending bill approved Wednesday, NASA would be directed to begin work on that heavy-lift rocket in 2011 – four years earlier than the White House proposal.

Congressman Pete Olson (R-Texas) said such a rocket is vital for NASA to fulfill its original purpose.

"Our future in space is not in low-Earth orbit. We have to go beyond," Olson said during the vote's debate. "A heavy-lift vehicle will enable us to achieve the true mission of the agency ... to explore."

New NASA bill

Gordon said Wednesday that while he had a number of concerns about the Senate's NASA bill, he believed that "a flawed bill is better than no bill at all."

The bill should help NASA and its workforce get on with the transition from its previous Constellation program to the new deep space exploration plan set forth by President Obama, House officials said

"While the bill before us today is far from perfect, it offers clear direction for a NASA that's floundering," said Ralph Hall (R-Texas), the ranking member of the House Science and Technology Committee, during the bill's discussion.

However, some House members took issue with what they called the bill's "unfunded mandate" to continue the space shuttle program through Sept. 30, 2011. The extension would cost some $500 million and lawmakers questioned where NASA will find the extra funds.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona), who is married to space shuttle commander Mark Kelly, said the bill "lacks serious budgetary discipline."

Some lawmakers expect the NASA authorization bill will preserve some jobs and create others associated with new programs.

"Without a bill, the jobs of a world class NASA workforce and thousands of highly-skilled private contractors who support human space flight would have been lost," Hall said in a statement released after the vote.

Copyright © 2010 Space.com. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Could 'Goldilocks' planet be just right for life?

WASHINGTON – Astronomers say they have for the first time spotted a planet beyond our own in what is sometimes called the Goldilocks zone for life: Not too hot, not too cold. Juuuust right.

Not too far from its star, not too close. So it could contain liquid water. The planet itself is neither too big nor too small for the proper surface, gravity and atmosphere.

It's just right. Just like Earth.

"This really is the first Goldilocks planet," said co-discoverer R. Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

The new planet sits smack in the middle of what astronomers refer to as the habitable zone, unlike any of the nearly 500 other planets astronomers have found outside our solar system. And it is in our galactic neighborhood, suggesting that plenty of Earth-like planets circle other stars.

Finding a planet that could potentially support life is a major step toward answering the timeless question: Are we alone?
Scientists have jumped the gun before on proclaiming that planets outside our solar system were habitable only to have them turn out to be not quite so conducive to life. But this one is so clearly in the right zone that five outside astronomers told The Associated Press it seems to be the real thing.

"This is the first one I'm truly excited about," said Penn State University's Jim Kasting. He said this planet is a "pretty prime candidate" for harboring life.

Life on other planets doesn't mean E.T. Even a simple single-cell bacteria or the equivalent of shower mold would shake perceptions about the uniqueness of life on Earth.

But there are still many unanswered questions about this strange planet. It is about three times the mass of Earth, slightly larger in width and much closer to its star — 14 million miles away versus 93 million. It's so close to its version of the sun that it orbits every 37 days. And it doesn't rotate much, so one side is almost always bright, the other dark.

Temperatures can be as hot as 160 degrees or as frigid as 25 degrees below zero, but in between — in the land of constant sunrise — it would be "shirt-sleeve weather," said co-discoverer Steven Vogt of the University of California at Santa Cruz.

It's unknown whether water actually exists on the planet, and what kind of atmosphere it has. But because conditions are ideal for liquid water, and because there always seems to be life on Earth where there is water, Vogt believes "that chances for life on this planet are 100 percent."

The astronomers' findings are being published in Astrophysical Journal and were announced by the National Science Foundation on Wednesday.

The planet circles a star called Gliese 581. It's about 120 trillion miles away, so it would take several generations for a spaceship to get there. It may seem like a long distance, but in the scheme of the vast universe, this planet is "like right in our face, right next door to us," Vogt said in an interview.

That close proximity and the way it was found so early in astronomers' search for habitable planets hints to scientists that planets like Earth are probably not that rare.

Vogt and Butler ran some calculations, with giant fudge factors built in, and figured that as much as one out of five to 10 stars in the universe have planets that are Earth-sized and in the habitable zone.

With an estimated 200 billion stars in the universe, that means maybe 40 billion planets that have the potential for life, Vogt said. However, Ohio State University's Scott Gaudi cautioned that is too speculative about how common these planets are.

Vogt and Butler used ground-based telescopes to track the star's precise movements over 11 years and watch for wobbles that indicate planets are circling it. The newly discovered planet is actually the sixth found circling Gliese 581. Two looked promising for habitability for a while, another turned out to be too hot and the fifth is likely too cold. This sixth one bracketed right in the sweet spot in between, Vogt said.

With the star designated "a," its sixth planet is called Gliese 581g.

"It's not a very interesting name and it's a beautiful planet," Vogt said. Unofficially, he's named it after his wife: "I call it Zarmina's World."

The star Gliese 581 is a dwarf, about one-third the strength of our sun. Because of that, it can't be seen without a telescope from Earth, although it is in the Libra constellation, Vogt said.

But if you were standing on this new planet, you could easily see our sun, Butler said.

The low-energy dwarf star will live on for billions of years, much longer than our sun, he said. And that just increases the likelihood of life developing on the planet, the discoverers said.

"It's pretty hard to stop life once you give it the right conditions," Vogt said.
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SETI 2060, Do We Make Contact By Then?

This month the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Green Bank Science Center is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the modern day search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).

In 1960 a young radio astronomer, Frank Drake, undertook a bold and visionary experiment: He used the 85-foot dish antenna at Green Bank, W.V. to listen for radio signals from extraterrestrial civilizations.

Drake recently retired from the SETI Institute in Palo Alto, Calif., without finding his aliens. He’s not alone. As early as the turn of the last century Nicola Tesla and the father of radio, Guglielmo Marconi, were independently listening for signals from Martians.

This half century of searching among the stars leaves me a little chagrinned because I’ve accused UFO believers of coming up equally empty-handed in over 60 years of chasing flying saucer “ghost stories.” After decades, both enterprises have absolutely zero, zilch, nothing of any consequence to convince us of life elsewhere in space.


Even worse, the SETI effort has suffered collateral damage from the UFO silliness.

Still, it has persisted through lean times. SETI research has been largely living on private funding ever since NASA was forced to cut off money under Congressional mandate in the early 1990s.

I've accused the UFO folks of pursuing pseudo-science. But at some point I have to wonder if SETI is becoming a pseudo-religion. To be fair the program is absolutely scientific, but it has come up with nothing to date. So it is sustained purely by a belief that “they are out there, somewhere.” Or rather, more precisely, radio and optical searches test a neo-Copernican hypothesis that intelligent life is a condition of the universe.

So where will SETI be 50 years from now? What will popular articles be saying on the 100th anniversary of Drake's Project Ozma? Any prediction I make will almost certainly turn out dead wrong. But here’s some simple conjecture along with a few very extrapolations that can be made from our current state of understanding -- or should I say current state of ignorance:


The Astronomical World of 2060

1. The universality of life is established

•A series of ever larger space telescopes have assembled a catalog of dozens of inhabited planets lying within several hundred light-years of Earth. The closest worlds are imaged by an immense constellation of interlinked free-flying optical mirrors that form a “structureless space telescope.” Three-dimensional holographic projection posters in elementary school classrooms show these worlds rotating as virtual globes with clouds, seas and continents.
•Microbes are found on Mars, Europa and Enceladus. An exotic cryolife is uncovered on Titan. We realize that Genesis II has taken place. Specimens returned by astronauts and outer solar system robots are on Earth in class 5 biocontamination labs.
•Other scientists take a giant leap toward understanding life as a universal property of matter by successfully making a fully artificial life form in the lab. It reproduces, grows, and follows Darwinian evolution -- all without the benefit of genes refined over billions of years of evolution.



2. Extraterrestrial intelligent life manifests itself

Immense radio telescope arrays, many kilometers in area are robotically constructed on the radio-quiet lunar far side. They push deep into the Milky Way galaxy to sample billions of stars. The arrays also monitor the nearest inhabited exoplanets to eavesdrop on any telecommunications leaking into space.

With these exponentially growing capabilities, detection is made at last of an artificial radio beacon. It comes from the crowded core of our Milky Way, in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius. It is first overlooked as an oddball pulsar emission. Information content is minimal because this is just an acquisition beacon painting stars on a routine basis.

Overnight, humanity realizes that we are not alone in the universe. There is shock and awe -- and some skepticism by the world’s population. Cultural evolution is steered onto a different trajectory at this realization. This civilization game-changer overshadows sociology, religion, education and politics.

The public grows disinterested in the discovery when they learn that the beacon was broadcast thousands of years ago and apparently contains minimal information. (Depending on the state of science education in the United States by then, 10 to 20 percent of the population dismisses the signal as a government hoax.)

Major international powers engage in a radio telescope “Arms Race” to build the biggest possible facility for harvesting more transmissions. Soon, similar beacons from other comparably advanced civilizations are recognized as being artificial.


Finding and processing SETI transmissions becomes a bona fide science data collection program rather than exercise in hypothesis. Astronomers scramble to apply for research grants, and dream about receiving the Noble Prize.

Some signals are dug out of radio archival data. This kind of “hello we are here” message turn out to be surprisingly common along the galactic plane. Technological civilizations at a particular state of evolution apparently converge on similar beacon strategies that are energy-frugal and efficient.

In the absence of an exclusively directed transmission toward Earth, SETI astronomers diminish expectations of finding altruistic aliens wanting to share their advanced knowledge. Maybe the extraterrestrials are satisfied with simply broadcasting interstellar "tweets."

There is a lively debate among politicians and scientists as to whether we should respond to the signals. Who speaks for Earth? And what can we say to extraterrestrials?

A few long-lived alien civilizations patiently wait thousands of years for a return receipt on the transmissions before they devote more energy and to bandwidth into broadcasting an "interstellar Wikipedia" at targeted civilizations.

There is speculation that some beacons may simply be sentries that continue transmitting long after their builders have lost interest or died off as a civilization, as envisioned in James Gunn’s 1972 sci-fi story, “The Listeners.”




Alternative Futures

My modest scenario makes the assumption that radio will be the preferred medium for interstellar communication, though a similar strategy could play out at optical wavelengths using laser beacons.

By 2060 traditional SETI programs could be sidetracked or preempted if:

•An alien artifact is found in the solar system. It is simply leftover debris of a probe that visited over geologic time. The point of origin is a complete mystery. But isotopic analysis reveals the artifact was definitely built around another star. After intensive analysis the relic is put on public display. But it remains vastly more inscrutable that the Easter Island statures. Where are the builders? What was their purpose in visiting the solar system? Will they ever come back?
• Huge visible light or infrared telescopes stumble upon a strange phenomenon around a star. Scientists strictly apply Occam’s Razor to explain it. But the observation cannot easily be explained away as natural. The debate about artificial origin – such as a Dyson sphere structure -- remains unsettled by 2060.
•A powerful neutrino beam is detected. Astrophysicists conclude there is no known natural mechanism for making neutrinos in only this energy range, and so it must be artificially produced and aimed at us.



No SETI Success by 2060?

After a century of searching for radio or optical transmission perhaps nothing is found. SETI astronomers mull over the Drake Equation and conclude that a fundamental assumption about intelligence in space is missing. This gnaws at the brightest minds and theoreticians of 2060.

The Fermi Paradox is revisited. The conclusion is that biological intelligence -- with a curiosity to communicate -- is transitory at best. This does not rule our intelligent machines as successors to biological life. But these entities -- which roam the galaxy at will -- have no interest in talking to biological matter, any more than we tap out a coded message to pond scum.
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Mars moon Phobos likely forged by catastrophic blast

The moon, Phobos, looks a lot like an asteroid: It's lumpy, potato-shaped and very small. It has an average radius of just 11 6.8 miles.

Scientists have long wondered about the origin of Phobos — is it merely a captured asteroid, the leftovers from Mars' formation or evidence of a cosmic Martian hit-and-run with another object?

The new study found that the moon's composition and density strongly indicate that, like the leading theory for Earth's own moon, Phobos is the result of a catastrophic impact with its parent planet.

Phobos is one of two moons of Mars. The other, Deimos, is smaller than its partner.

What makes a Phobos?
Researchers used data from the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft to study Phobos' composition.

By analyzing the probe's infrared observations, astronomers found that Phobos and asteroids don't seem to be made of the same stuff. Instead, the moon has many minerals also seen on Mars, suggesting a common origin for the two bodies.

The team also found so-called phyllosilicates — minerals that can form in the presence of water — on Phobos. Phyllosilicates have been detected on Mars, too.

."This is very intriguing as it implies the interaction of silicate materials with liquid water on the parent body prior to incorporation into Phobos," said study co-author Marco Giuranna of the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica in Rome, Italy. "Alternatively, phyllosilicates may have formed in situ, but this would mean that Phobos required sufficient internal heating to enable liquid water to remain stable."

Independent observations from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft support the composition data from Mars Express, the researchers said.

The research was presented Sept. 20 at the European Planetary Science Congress in Rome, Italy, and has been submitted to the journal Planetary and Space Science.

Too spongy for an asteroid
During the study, evidence piled up to rule out the captured-asteroid scenario for Phobos, researchers said.

The first sign came while they were studying the Martian moon's density to see how it matched with that of asteroids. They determined the density of Phobos to be about 1.86 grams per cubic centimeter.

"This number is significantly lower than the density of meteoritic material associated with asteroids," said Pascal Rosenblatt of the Royal Observatory of Belgium. "It implies a sponge-like structure with voids making up 25 to 45 percent of Phobos' interior."

Other evidence points toward a relatively spongy Phobos, too.

If it were denser, the moon probably wouldn't have survived the massive impact that created its Stickney Crater, Giuranna said. Stickney is about 10 km (6 miles) across — nearly half as wide as all of Phobos.

In addition, the researchers said, a highly porous asteroid — if that's what Phobos once was — probably would not have survived being captured by Mars' gravity.

Yet sponginess is consistent with the impact-formation hypothesis for Phobos, they added. Chunks of rock and rubble blown off Mars' surface would accrete somewhat haphazardly in its orbit, leaving interior pockets and voids.

Finally, the motion of both Phobos and its sister moon Deimos — which is also small, rocky and lumpy—argue against the asteroid-capture scenario, according to the researchers. Their orbits are too neat — too circular and too close to the Martian equator — for a couple of snagged space rocks, researchers said.

More missions, more data
Despite the evidence from Mars Express, more observations are still needed before scientists can conclusively determine the origin of Phobos, the researchers said.

The Russian Phobos-Grunt mission, set to launch in 2011, could help settle the question. Phobos-Grunt aims to land on Phobos, grab soil samples ("Grunt" being the Russian word for "soil") and return with them to Earth. Such samples could be compared to Martian meteorites that have landed on Earth.

Similar studies of lunar soil samples have shown that Earth and our moon are likely made of the same stuff. This determination helped scientists come up with the leading theory of our moon's formation: A long-ago catastrophic impact.
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Texas police officer reports 'saucer-shaped' object over Kennedale

Recunstruction image
A Texas police officer on duty in a burglary stake-out at 2:23 a.m. on September 24, 2010, in Kennedale watched a "saucer-like" shape moving around the sky over a 33-minute period, according to testimony from the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) witness reporting database.

The officer was parked with lights off and facing south along the west shoulder of 1000 Bowman Springs Road and was watching for burglars that have been stealing from local businesses by using 4-wheelers.

The light in the sky first appeared to be a "very bright flickering star to the east at about 45 degrees on the horizon," but then the officer considered that the object could be a plane.

When the object moved slowly to the left of the officer's position, binoculars were used for a better look.

"It was then I could see that what appeared to be flickering were rotating white, blue, and sometimes red lights," the officer stated. "The object appeared saucer-like in shape and made no noise. It would hover, then move left, right, and up several times during the duration which lasted 33 minutes."

As a jet came into the same airspace, the officer said the object moved away, but returned back to the same position once the jet left the area.

Kennedale City Texas..Google Maps
The officer used a tree to track the object's movements.

"There was a bare tree branch in the foreground I used as a reference point, and could clearly see the object move. At times it became bigger, and one other time it moved straight away until barely visible, then came back to where it had been, but bigger."

There were lights on the object that were observed from the officer's ground position.

"The object seemed to have one bigger, central or top light, with the other lights going around it."

Low cloud coverage moved in and obscured the object from view, and when the clouds lifted, the object was gone.

While stating that the object was not a star, the officer would like to know if there are additional witnesses in the area who observed the same thing. In addition to Kennedale, the officer stated that it may also have been visible from "nearby Mansfield or Arlington."

Kennedale is a city in Tarrant County, population 5,850.
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Tracking UFOs;China Ufo Sightings 2010

Recently, reports of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO) have been occurring frequently in China. On July 7 this year, more than 20 flights were postponed at Xiaoshan International Airport in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, because of a sighting. Whenever such reported sightings occur, Wang Sichao, a research fellow at the Purple Mountain Observatory (PMO) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, is much busier than usual. In addition to studying the sightings, Wang, who started work on UFOs nearly 40 years ago, has to check and reply to mail about UFOs from all across China. Lately, Wang predicted "great events" concerning UFOs were going to come out in China in the next two years. In an interview with Beijing Review, he shared his views and stories with reporter Tang Yuankai. Edited excerpts follow:

Beijing Review: Why did you make such a prediction? What's your basis?



Wang Sichao: First, I'd like to say something about the conception of "great events about UFOs." It does not mean large numbers of UFOs but refers to events of credible facts backed by observation. But these facts cannot yet be explained by existing scientific knowledge or natural phenomena. Through 39 years' investigation and research, I found that in years ending with the numbers 1, 2 or 7—such as 1971, 1981, 1991, 1982, 1992, 2002, 1977, 1987, 2007—great UFO events would happen. So, I think 2011 and 2012 will be another two active years.


In recent years, what kinds of UFO phenomena have happened in China? In which areas of China? Was there ever anything like the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind?
Many kinds of UFOs have appeared in China in recent years, in appearances such as bolide, light spot, spiral, fan, bright star, flying rod, ball lightning and V-shaped. UFO events occurred more often in the north of the Yangtze River. But there were exceptions. For instance, a V-shaped UFO appeared over Nanjing on January 10, 2006.

During the last century, there was also something like Close Encounters of the Third Kind in China. But it was similar to what happened in other countries and lacked reliable evidence.
In your opinion, why, for decades, has there been no significant progress in UFO studies domestically and overseas?
UFOs are a worldwide mystery of over a century. In 2007, Nick Pope, former head of the British Government's UFO Project, said over the last 60 years, the British Ministry of Defense had been working on the mystery all the time, but no answer could be found. Governments and military departments of the United States and France have also had difficulty progressing in UFO exploration.

Why, for 60 years, was there no progress in UFO studies? The reason is that a UFO only appears randomly and often disappears rapidly in a few minutes. By the time large professional telescopes are started up, it has already disappeared. So, we can only rely on information from occasional sightings or encounters by observers. For decades, domestic and international practice has shown it is difficult for military departments alone to study UFOs.
Like ghosts in the air, UFOs are mysterious and varied. There have been discussions and controversies for decades about the existence of UFOs. Some scholars assert a UFO is an optical illusion, while others think UFOs do exist as objects. So, exploring UFO phenomena is really an interesting matter.

What stage is China at in the study of UFOs? Is there any cooperation with international colleagues?

China is already walking in the forefront of international UFO research and exploration. At present, with plenty of credible, verifiable observation reports, China has entered a quantitative analysis stage of study. We also carried out academic exchanges with colleagues all over the world.

How do you conduct UFO research and what tools and methods do you employ? Can you tell us something about your research achievements?

In order to overcome the difficulties in UFO study, I introduced quantitative analysis methods into the field. In the last 39 years, based on my work at the PMO and my personal observation experiences, I have made quantitative analysis of some of the great UFO events by employing spherical astronomy and physics.

In the past decades, a large number of experienced astronomy amateurs have appeared in China. They are scattered throughout the country, and form an efficient observation network. Once a UFO event occurs, the PMO where I have been working will receive huge amounts of observational data from amateurs.
As for me, with years of field observation experience and six years of study in astrophysics at Peking University, I can figure out flying height, direction, and speed and the position of substellar point (the point on the earth at which the star is in the zenith at a specified time) by employing spherical astronomy methods based on several high quality sighting reports about a UFO event from different locations with sufficient distance, and analyze the mechanism of the event by physical methods
Since 1971, I have been engaged in conducting in-depth investigations and quantitative and semi-quantitative scientific analysis to at least 20 spiral, fan and light-like UFO events. I found many strange flying objects appeared at a speed much lower than first cosmic velocity in the space between 130 km to 1,500 km from the Earth's surface. Some even flew at a speed as low as 0.29 km a second, 4 percent of the first cosmic velocity at the flying height, and flew at the height of around 1,460 km for 25 minutes. The facts show those UFOs may possess anti-gravity ability, or they would have fallen to the Earth.


I classified the more than 100 typical UFO events that occurred in the last 39 years into 10 or so types. I paid more attention to UFO events observed at the same time but from more than two different locations. I found seven types of these events could be explained through existing natural phenomena and knowledge, including objects that look like bolides, light spots, bright constellations, flying point clusters, bright stars, or flying sticks. Eight types still cannot be explained from existing knowledge, including spiral-, fan-, spindle-, ball-, or V-shaped objects, or those that look like balls of lightning, strange vehicles or flying saucers, of which spiral-, fan-, light ball- or flying saucer-shaped objects may be related to extraterrestrial craft.
What do you think we should do to further the exploration for UFOs?

Designing and manufacturing a new type of special telescope is very necessary. As a UFO is only met by chance and disappears rapidly, a special telescope with a small aperture may be better for observations. More such telescopes should be made and installed in different observation stations, so as to form an observation network. Once a UFO appears, immediate and networked observations would be carried out, thereby achieving a leap in observation accuracy, depth and quality. At the same time, more accurate quantitative analysis should be employed on the basis of observation.

For human beings, what is the significance of UFO studies?
First, we hope to explore extraterrestrial civilizations. If we find solid evidence about alien spacecraft visiting the Earth through further observation and analysis, it would be as significant as Columbus Christopher's discovering the New World. Second, we need to explore unknown natural phenomenon and laws. Third, it would be of great significance to national defense and economic development. Fourth, finding out the truth about UFOs would also be helpful for dispelling the public's superstitions and misconceptions.

At present, scientists do not have any concrete evidence about aliens. But many scientists believe aliens exist. Does this mean the question is not whether there are aliens, but when they will contact us?
Yes. Astronomers all over the world are now intensifying their efforts to explore extraterrestrial life and civilization. As long as we have open minds about scientific exploration of the unknown and employ multiple methods, the contact between humans and extraterrestrial life will hopefully come this century.


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'We saw a bright glowing object like an eye': U.S. airman's startling testimony about UFO encounter near UK nuclear base

Retired officers call on Government to tell public the truth

Deactivation of nuclear weapons 'is a message' to human race

An ex-U.S. air force chief has given an astonishing account of an encounter with a UFO at an air force base in Suffolk.
Charles Halt is one of a number of senior former airmen who went public today over claims that UFOs had tampered with nuclear missiles in the U.S. and the UK.
Mr Halt, who retired in 1991, told a press conference that he was working at RAF Bentwater near Rendelsham in Suffolk in 1980 when he had the terrifying encounter.


He said that early one morning in December 1980
Contact?: Disused missile silos at the former RAF Bentwaters base near Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk. Aliens fired beams of light at the base 30 years ago, it has been claimed
Two patrolman were sent out to approach the craft which they described as 'triangular, dark metallic in appearance', Mr Halt said. It quickly and silently 'vanished at high speed'.

A few weeks later Mr Halt was told by his boss that the lights were back and so he went back out into the forest with a couple of policeman, a camera and a cassette recorder.
At the site he saw 'indentations of around six to eight feet wide' and increased levels of radiation as well as broken branches on the trees.
Mr Halt said: 'Milling around, one of the individuals saw a bright glowing object like an eye. It would appear to be winking and was shedding molten metal and silently moving through the trees and at one point it actually approached us.'
He said that the object then exploded into five white objects which became visible in the sky.

They were brightly coloured changing from elliptical to round as if they were moving at very high speed. '
Suddenly one of the objects sent a concentrated beam at the feet of the terrified men.

'Was this a warning? An attempt to communicate? A weapon? Then just as suddenly as it appeared, it disappeared,' he said.
The entire incident was categorised as a British affair because it had happened off base, Mr Halt said.

'I have no idea what we saw that night but I do know it was under intelligent control. My theory is that it was from another dimension or extra-terrestrial,' he said.
The Rendlesham Forest incident, often described as "Britain's Roswell
Robert Jamieson was one of the retired officers who joined the press conference to tell of his experience with UFOs
The incident, in the early hours of December 27, 1980, was never fully explained.
The six former U.S. Air Force officers and one former enlisted man, all presented declassified information which they claim backs up their findings.

UFO researcher Robert Hastings held the press conference in Washington to 'address the vital issue of UFO incursions at US nuclear weapons sites over the past six decades'.

The Rendlesham Forest incident was used as one example of evidence aliens had targeted nuclear weapons
Mr Hastings said: "More than 100 former or retired US Air Force personnel - once trusted to operate or guard weapons of mass destruction - have come forward and revealed ongoing UFO surveillance of, and occasional interference with, our nuclear weapons.

'This information alters the historical perspective on the nuclear arms race and much, much more.

'The fact that the Pentagon and CIA have successfully kept the truth from public view for so long is in itself mind-boggling.'
They want U.S. and British authorities to release 60 years worth of 'X-Files' they claim proves the existence of extra-terrestrials.
And the men said that the UFOs deactivation of nuclear weapons was a message to the human race to move away from arms race.
Dwynne Arneson, who saw UFOs when he was working at a radar site in the 1970s, said: 'We have been lied to for so many decades about the truth of the matter.'
They also admitted that it had been very difficult to talk to family and friends about their experiences and had even been ridiculed in the past.
Robert Salas said that he was a missile commander at the Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana on March 1967.

Captain Robert Salas accuses the U.S. Air Force of lying
He was warned by his men 'screaming into the phone' that a 'glowing red object' had been spotted over their missile silo, which was 60 feet underground.
Moments later they discovered that all of the missiles had been deactivated.
As the press conference came to a close Robert Salas made call for the U.S. government to come clean about visits by UFOs in the past.

Mr Salas said: 'What you have heard here is evidence of a phenomenon. Our evidence is now public domain the evidence is what is the public going to do with it.'
'He added the UFO phenomenon is real , not imaginary and there is excessive secrecy in the government about this issue.
'The tampering of nuclear weapons is a national security concern.'
He said: ‘The U.S. Air Force is lying about the national security implications of unidentified aerial objects at nuclear bases and we can prove it.'


They have witness testimony from 120 former or retired military personnel which points to alien intervention at nuclear sites in the U.S. as recently as 2003.
The airmen claim that UFO encounters have been covered up over the past 60 years
They urged the authorities to confirm that alien beings have long been visiting Earth.
A press conference today in Washington also highlighted testimony from retired U.S. Air Force Captain Bruce Fenstermacher, whose security team saw a cigar-shaped UFO hovering above FE Warren nuclear base in Wyoming in 1976.

Researcher Robert Hastings, who has written on the subject, explained that so far the aliens appeared interested in ‘mere surveillance’ but warned they seemed to have gone further in some instances.
‘At long last, all of these witnesses are coming forward to say that, as unbelievable as it may seem to some, UFOs have long monitored and sometimes tampered with our nukes,’ he added
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Cosmic Rays:By-Product Of Distant Alien Warfare?

One of the most energetic phenomena observed (to date anyway) are gamma ray bursts or GRBs. As the name implies, GRBs are brief, but super intense, pulses of gamma ray energy that have been observed in distant galaxies. Two types of gamma ray bursts have been observed (to date anyway): long-period gamma ray bursts last for seconds to minutes and seem to be associated with supernova events; short period bursts last for milliseconds and may represent a cataclysmic outpouring of energy from colliding neutron stars.

Similar to the polar emissions from a neutron star, seen as a pulsar if the observer is within the cone traced out by the polar streams, gamma ray emissions from a GRB are very directional as well as intense. If a GRB went off anywhere within our galaxy, yes the entire galaxy, and Earth was in line with one of the two polar beams, all life on Earth would be extinct within hours. In his book “Death from the Skies,” fellow Discover blogger Phil Plait has a great description of what life on Earth would be like in its last minutes, and my co-author Ges Seger and I examined this phenomena in this short story. Now before you lie awake at night worrying, here’s a podcast describing why we should be safe from GRBs.

GRBs were first discovered in 1967 by the Cold-War-era Vela satellites–satellites designed to detect the gamma ray pulses emitted by nuclear weapons tests. When the Velas began sensing gamma ray pulses that weren’t coming from Earth, the initial reaction was that those darned Rooskies were testing nukes beyond the moon. Cooler heads prevailed, and GRBs were observed to be occurring isotropically–or equally likely in any direction. Numerous hypotheses were advanced to explain them before science settled on the current models.

Some of these hypotheses are less mainstream, but more fun, than others. One of my favorite “must read” online columns is Gregg Easterbrook’s “Tuesday Morning Quarterback” on ESPN. TMQ is a nerd-friendly analysis of the past week in the NFL, sprinkled with asides on politics, science, and science fiction. Mr. Easterbrook maintains that GRBs may, in fact be muzzle flashes from distant alien doomsday weapons:

Bummer Cosmic Thought: Recently, astronomers glimpsed the most distant gamma-ray burst ever observed–so far away it may have occurred only about a billion years after the universe formed. If gamma-ray bursts are caused by dying super-massive stars, as some cosmologists think, this is the oldest (or youngest, from the perspective of the cosmos) such death so far observed. But as TMQ cautions about gamma-ray bursts, don’t assume they must be natural. Maybe they are the muzzle flashes of doomsday weapons. Maybe what GRB 080913 tells us is that shockingly soon after life began, so did the horror of combat.

This is a fun notion to mull over, but unlikely nevertheless. It’s inconceivable that any civilization could generate artificially the colossal energies associated with GRBs. Moreover, if GRBs were, in fact, telltale signs of distant alien warfare, astronomers would observe energy bursts anisotropically, or coming from a preferred direction in space…

…which is exactly what has been happening recently. In Antarctica, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory is designed to detect the ever-elusive neutrino–subatomic particles emitted from cataclysmic astrophysical phenomena like supernovae and GRBs. Although, for this experiment, they are considered “noise”, IceCube can also detect cosmic rays. Not only has IceCube been detecting an over-abundance of cosmic rays, lately, they have been observed anisotropically–coming from a preferred direction. Now THAT is the kind of observation that would hint at being muzzle flashes from distant alien warfare.

Realistically, the IceCube observations are certainly naturally occurring, and it’s only a matter of time until astronomers identify a source. The observations do raise an interesting point, though. Current SETI research is based largely upon the notion that the first signals we detect from an alien civilization will be radio signals–from an intentional attempt at contact or a byproduct of their internal communications like our radio and television. Weaponry almost certainly would emit far more detectable energy into space, though it may be more narrowly focused.

If we do detect alien intelligence, it may be more likely due to a BANG, not a whisper. Wouldn’t it be wonderfully ironic if the Vela satellites, designed to detect nuclear tests, discovered GRBs, and a detector like IceCube, designed to detect neutrinos from astrophysical events, initiated First Contact?

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Shocking revelation: Former Air Force personnel disclose UFO, alien-related threats

(NECN: Washington) - A press conference was held this afternoon at the National Press Club in Washington, where at least a dozen former U.S. Air Force personnel, mostly officers who worked on secret projects connected to sensitive nuclear weapons sites, are admitting that they were privy to UFO and alien-related incidents -- that occurred during their time of service.

In this clip, you will hear from: Retired Air Force Captain Robert Salas, Former Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Dwayne Arneson and Former Air Force Official Bill Jameson.


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Tucson UFO Sighting: Event witnessed by many remains a mystery

On the night of September 23rd, residents of Tucson saw strange lights in the sky. Various eyewitnesses reported 3 -5 lights in a line, while others reported an object with a triangular shape.

Reports of malfunctions started at the same time as the object flew overhead in a northwesterly path. Reports of interrupted satellite television transmissions were reported as the object flew over homes. Traffic lights were seen flickering at an intersection near Star Pass Blvd as the object passed overhead. A report of an elevator malfunction was reported.
All just a coincidence? Maybe.

One eyewitness tried to document the object on video camera, only to realize that his batteries were dead.

Calls began to flood the newsroom about the strange sight, which witnesses insist was not a plane. This is a city that sees planes and helicopters so many times a day that the residents are immune to them, barring the noise they make. The Tucson airspace is shared between the busy Tucson International Airport and the active Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Law enforcement takes to the air, as well as medical personnel on life saving flights to and from local hospitals. Tucson residents are all too familiar with the sight of planes, helicopters and military flares.

News anchor Dan Marries was quick to begin collecting eyewitness accounts. He used Twitter to spread the news, as well as his Facebook page and the KOLD Facebook page, to document real-time eyewitness accounts. Calls about the object kept pouring in to the newsroom at the same time. KOLD staffers began to call everyone from Davis-Monthan to the Department of Public Safety to get answers, which no one seemed to have.

At the same time, Tucsonan Sheila Martin was immune to the news of the UFO, as she sat outside of her apartment to document any objects in the night sky. This is a long-time nightly hobby for Martin, who knows what planes, helicopters and flares look like, as well.

By 10:00 pm, Dan Marries and meteorologist “Chief” Chuck George discussed the incident, which Chief Chuck said was not a weather anomaly.
With the exception of Sheila Martin’s video, no other videos have publicly surfaced at this time to document the object witnessed by so many. Martin’s video of the night sky indicates an object, which many eyewitnesses say does not match what they saw. However, some of the witnesses looked beyond the object. They noticed an orange light or two in the background that do seem to match.

It should be noted that Martin did not submit the video to local news agencies. Instead, the link was taken from her YouTube page, as the time of her video was shot matched the time of the event.

A photo circulating around the UFO community as the UFO should be discounted. While checking on the original photo on a local woman’s Facebook page, it was noted in the comment section that the photo uploaded on September 23rd was a shot of the moon. Only later was there a light-hearted note in the comment section that the photo was taken on the same night of the Tucson UFO sighting. Somehow, the photo began to circulate as a photo of the UFO.

Ironically, the event occurred a week after posting my helpful article about what to do if you see a UFO. My readership is largely non-Tucson based.

With a lack of submitted photo and video evidence at this time, there are only the eyewitness accounts to go on. There are many full eyewitness accounts, which have been pieced together on my computer to create a detailed time line of events.

I have, for now, pieced together a brief synopsis of the evening’s events, as new accounts are still coming in:

The object was spotted early in the evening, with the earliest eyewitness account coming from the Green Valley area. If others saw it south of there, they haven’t come forward yet. It was seen in southwest Tucson with most of the reports coming from that region (Pima College West, Starr Pass, the intersection of Ajo and Kinney), before it continued north toward rural Marana. Accounts varied between either a line of 3 to 8 lights, or triangular-shaped craft, depending on the vantage point and proximity. By the time it reached rural Marana, there were reports of military planes in the vicinity of the lights, as if the military were involved an exercise, or perhaps they were investigating the lights. The military has not verified these accounts and also denied flights in the area. The air traffic eventually cleared from the area with two military helicopters circling the lights in the sky.

Perhaps a military exercise is all that it was.

It should be noted, at this point, that not one eyewitness has made the correlation between the object and extraterrestrials. A UFO is a flying object that is viewed by a witness or witnesses, who cannot positively identify the object as something like a plane, kite, flare, planet, helicopter, etc.

Witnesses stated that it was not identifiable as any of those things. If it was one of those things, no one has come forward yet with proof that it was one of those things. It is a UFO until it can be identified as something concrete.

It’s probably one of those things that will remain a mystery.
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Official name for Dulce UFO underground base disclosed

Popular Internet radio broadcaster Jerry Pippin
based in Muskogee, Oklahoma, stunned his worldwide audience on September 25 when he featured researcher Anthony Sanchez who, for the first time ever, revealed to the public the official government/military name for the much-rumored, alleged underground installation in Dulce, New Mexico.
Sanchez disclosed the complete name of the installation as: "Rio Arriba Scientific & Technological Underground Auxiliary".
He stated that this information came to him directly from a retired Air Force Colonel in January of 2010 when the Colonel invited him for an private interview in his cabin in California.
The interview lasted about three hours and was recorded on tape.
The Colonel is presently teaching in a college under a new, assumed name.
Sanchez seems to be in touch with the Colonel who gave him more astounding information about this complex.
Sanchez stated that the Colonel agreed to cut off all communications with him once Sanchez' book, UFO Highway, is released in December, 2010.
The official, abbreviated form of the Dulce installation is RIO ARRIBA CO, DSD-3 or RIO-AUX, Sanchez told the audience.
This military designation is not found anywhere on the Internet.
Sanchez said that he was told that this designation is "classified" when he made an inquiry with the Military Records in St. Louis.
Another information that stunned Pippin's audience was the revelation that there are three separate installations in Dulce. The main underground installation is named TA-D1 and is located, surprisingly (and confirming the long-existing rumor), under Archuleta Mesa!!
The second underground installation (a two-level installation) is named TA-D2 and is located on a non-descript area between the Eastern slope of Archuleta Mesa and County Road 357, close to the Colorado stateline. The exact location of this Security installation will not be disclosed.
The third installation is called TA-D3 and is located in the Leandro Canyon (close to the Project Gasbuggy site of 1967), about 22 miles southwest of Dulce. This installation is the furthest from the main complex, but is connected to the main facility by an underground tunnel system, stated Sanchez. "In fact, all three facilities are interconnected by subterranean tunnels. The most astounding information that was disclosed to me was that the main facility under the Mesa is also connected to Los Alamos National Laboratories in Los Alamos, New Mexico".
(A distance of about 65 miles!!).
TA, as everyone knows, is Technical Area, as used in Los Alamos.
In this stunning broadcast, Anthony Sanchez confirmed the Colonel's statement that there is no record whatsoever of a Thomas Edwin Castello that was ever employed as security personnel in Dulce.
Another statement made by the Colonel, Anthony Sanchez said, was that there have never been any "Reptilians" in Dulce.
One interesting thing that the Colonel mentioned to Sanchez was that the Colonel and his wife were present incognito at the 2009 Dulce Base Conference which was held in Dulce, New Mexico.
The conferece was held on Sunday, March 29, 2009 and drew about 130 people.
http://www.ufodigest.com/news/0409/conference-ends.php
The Colonel confirmed to Sanchez that he and his wife were near a parking lot close to the Best Western Jicarilla Inn at 5:50 a.m. on the morning of the conference, sitting and drinking coffee when two military helicopters flew over the building. One stayed around longer, hovering over the building.
The other circled the area, then scanned some vehicles, including theirs, before leaving.
The Colonel confirmed that the helicopters were from DSD-3.
The Colonel also confirmed to Sanchez that there were two AFOSI investigators sitting there in the audience who he personally recognized.
In addition to them, there were several recogniable LANL scientists, he told Sanchez.
(The conference was held at Best Western Jicarilla Inn and was later forced to move to a community hall in a mini-mall located at a walking distance from the Hotel, because of a warning issed from the Dulce Fire Departmen for exceeding the maximum number of attendees allowed at the Hotel.)
What shocked the audience in this Jerry Pippin Show was the revelation that, yes, there was indeed an altercation in 1979 between the military and other "inhabitants" of the installation in Dulce.
This was the primary reason why the Colonel, a specialist in Military Psychological Post-Trauma Counseling, was sent to Dulce in 1979 as a member of a special team that dealt with post-traumatic syndrome experienced by military personnel.
The Colonel stated that were it not for the late Paul Bennewitz and Myrna Hansen, the Dulce story would never have surfaced.
Anthony Sanchez' fasinating book, UFO Highway

is scheduled to be released in December of 2010 and will include the complete, fully transcribed amazing 3-hour interview with the Colonel that took place in January of 2010.
One documentary evidence item to back up the claims of the Colonel was shown to some researchers by Anthony Sanchez at a press conference held on September 11, 2010 in Angel Fire, New Mexico.
            
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UFO researcher Alvin Lawson dies at 80;

Over the years, the Cal State Long Beach professor became convinced that people actually were using memories of birth trauma to describe encounters with extraterrestrials.
Alvin Lawson, an English professor at Cal State Long Beach who spent decades studying unidentified flying objects and questioning the beliefs of people who said they had been abducted, has died. He was 80.

Lawson died Sept. 8 at Western Medical Center in Anaheim from complications of pneumonia, said his daughter, Leslie Dirgo.

Over the years, he developed "a personal kind of fascination" with UFOs, his daughter said.
Lawson taught a class on the subject at Cal State Long Beach, started a telephone hotline about UFOs and became convinced that people who said they had been abducted actually were using memories of their birth to describe encounters with extraterrestrials.

"Do I think there are unidentified flying objects, things that people can't explain what they are or why they're there? Yes," he told the St. Paul Pioneer Press in 1996. "Do I think little green men are inside abducting people? No."

Alvin Houston Lawson was born Oct. 11, 1929, in Fort Bragg, Calif. His father, Roscoe, was a school principal who became a district superintendent, and his mother, Katherine, was a teacher.

Lawson graduated with a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley in 1952 and a master's in 1958 and a doctorate in 1967, both in English, from Stanford University. He served in the Army during the Korean War.

In 1953, Lawson married Barbara Slade. They met as students and fellow musicians at San Francisco State, which Lawson attended as an undergraduate before transferring to Berkeley. She played the clarinet and he played the trumpet in the school band, Lawson's daughter said.

Lawson joined the Cal State Long Beach faculty in 1962 and stayed through the mid-1990s, becoming an emeritus professor in 1990. He was "quite a hard-working instructor," especially when teaching his primary interests of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson, short stories and children's literature, said Charles Pomeroy, a retired English professor who shared a campus office with Lawson for about 20 years.

Lawson's work at Long Beach also included a UFO literature course that examined how people "used language to describe the phenomenon," Pomeroy said.

Not everyone on the faculty understood how Emily Dickinson and "E.T." could interest the same professor.

"University life is very tolerant, but a lot of people had the sense it was a very unusual interest for him to have," Pomeroy said.

Lawson once told a Times reporter that his interest in UFOs began in the late 1940s when he first read of reported sightings. In the 1970s, he started the UFO Report Center of Orange County, which according to a 1992 Times article received about 400 calls in its first year.

With an Anaheim doctor, William C. McCall, Lawson used hypnosis on people who said they had been abducted. Lawson started becoming more skeptical of the accounts, and he and McCall decided to hypnotize people who made no claims about space aliens. They were asked to imagine being abducted so the accounts could be compared to reported abductions. Lawson was struck by the similarities.

"We had expected the people imagining the abductions would be giving us real predictable, stultified, cardboard encounters. But they made up incredible stuff," he told The Times. "It was just as rich, variable and interesting as the supposedly real abductions."

Lawson believed people could remember the trauma of their birth and the subjects kept using similar imagery and details.

"The research means that people who have reported being captured by the UFOs have had experiences as least as valid as dreams, deathbed visions and psychosis," he told Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper in 1985. "That is, they aren't lying but their experiences aren't real or anything like we've seen in the movies."

Lawson's views made him "a rebel" among people interested in UFOs, his daughter said.

"There is an underlying assumption in his work … to presume that anyone who sees or has seen an alien had a 'birth trauma,' " Robert D. Morningstar, editor of the newsletter and website UFO Digest, said in an e-mail to The Times. "He could say that all he wanted to, but how does he prove it?"

Lawson said of his critics in 1996: "True believers are mad at me. My ideas represent a threat to their belief systems. To them I'm like an atheist that shows up to a party given by Jerry Falwell."

In addition to his wife and daughter, Lawson is survived by a brother, Wilbur, of Fort Bragg; a sister, Beverly, of Rocklin, Calif.; and four grandchildren.

Services have been held.

keith.thursby@latimes.com
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United Nations to appoint space ambassador to act as first contact for aliens visiting Earth

If aliens ever land on Earth there will no longer be any confusion over who will greet them with the news the United Nations is set to appoint an astrophysicist to be their first human contact.
Mazlan Othman is expected to be tasked with coordinating humanity's response to an extraterrestrial visit, if ever required.
The 58-year-old Malaysian will tell a conference next week that with the recent discovery of hundreds of planets orbiting around other stars, the detection of alien life is becoming more and more likely.
Take us to your leader: Mazlan Othman is expected to be tasked with coordinating humanity's response to an extraterrestrial visit

Ms Othman, currently the head of the UN's Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa), recently told fellow scientists that mankind needed to be ready to deal with alien contact.

'The continued search for extraterrestrial communication, by several entities, sustains the hope that some day human kind will received signals from extraterrestrials,' she said.

'When we do, we should have in place a coordinated response that takes into account all the sensitivities related to the subject.

'The UN is a ready-made mechanism for such coordination.'

Friendly? Professor Stephen Hawking has questioned the theory of non-threatening alien visitors, such as ET in the Hollywood film

Plans to make Unoose the coordinating body for dealing with alien encounters are set to be debated by UN scientific advisory committees.
If the idea is backed it will then head to General Assembly.
Professor Richard Crowther, head of the UK delegation to the UN committee, admitted recently: '[Ms] Othman is absolutely the nearest thing we have to a "take me to your leader" person.'

In April though Professor Stephen Hawking warned that the alien contact, if it ever comes, may not be as friendly as has been hoped.

In a documentary, the 68-year-old scientist said he imagined aliens arriving in 'massive ships' and could try to colonise Earth and plunder the planet's resources.

'We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet,' he said.

'I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.'

He added: 'It would be 'too risky' to attempt to make contact with alien races. If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.'
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UFOs 'attacked U.S. nuclear missile sites': Retired Air Force Officers to break their silence

A group of retired U.S. Air Force officers are set to reveal how extraterrestrial visitors have tampered with American nuclear weapons.
The six former officers, and one other enlisted man, will break their decades-long silence on the matter at a press conference in Washington on Monday.
The men are expected to describe the ongoing and disturbing intervention of UFOs at nuclear weapon sites, including examples of how several missiles inexplicably malfunctioned while unidentified disc-shaped object hovered nearby.
Robert Hastings, the author of 'UFOs and Nukes: Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Weapons Sites', will host the press conference tomorrow when he will present the evidence and the other veterans who back his claims.

In a statement he declared: 'At long last, all of these witnesses are coming forward to say that, as unbelievable as it may seem to some, UFOs have long monitored and sometimes tampered with our nukes.'

ICBM launch officer Captain Robert Salas, who will also be present on Monday, claims to have witnessed a UFO incident in 1967 which caused a missile disruption at the Malmstrom Air Base in Montana.
He, like the others, claims he was ordered to keep quiet about it.

'The Air Force is lying about the national security implications of unidentified aerial objects at nuclear bases, and we can prove it,' he said.

Mr Hastings says the group will discuss the national security implications of the UFOs incidents and will urge U.S. government to come clean on the issue.

The UK government have also been accused of covering up the subject, with claims that 30 years ago a UFO directed beams of light into the RAF Bentwaters base in Suffolk - one of the few U.S. military bases in Britain to hold nuclear weapons.
The base's deputy commander Charles Halt will join the group on Monday to discuss the incident.

'The security services of both the United States and the United Kingdom have attempted, both then and now, to subvert the significance of what occurred at RAF Bentwaters by the use of well-practiced methods of disinformation.' he told the Sunday Express.

The men are planning on distributing declassified U.S. government documents at the press conference that they claim will prove the reality of UFO activity at nuclear sites dating back to 1948.
In 2001, the Disclosure Project - a non
Watch a video of the 2001 press conference below:
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