Do UFOs Exist? Part 1
Boris Karloff Oct 15,1994
I would suggest that the question here lies in two segments, each requiring separate investigation and possessing different degrees of plausibility. The first being, "Does extraterrestrial life exist?" and the second, "If so, does their technology permit their visitation and study of our planet?" First I shall deal with the overly pondered and virtually inexhaustible subject of the plausibility of alien life.
"Space," to quote Douglas Adams, "is big. Really big. You just don't know how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is... 1" and on it goes. This somewhat humorous excerpt is also quite accurate. Our solar system is but a tiny fraction of the available area of space. The stars we see are but a minute group of suns in an inconsequentially small area of space. Compared to the whole, not just our planet but our entire solar system, is insignificant. Out of all the suns available, all the unknown systems, the limitless boundaries of space, I believe that there are countless numbers of lifeforms both plant and animal, intelligent and non-intelligent, both similar and dissimilar to our own. To believe otherwise would be naive. To think we are the only life forms in our universe reeks of egotism and ignorance mankind is known for. I can hardly entertain, not to mention fathom the idea we are alone... simply because the chances of that are astronomically small taking only the vastness of space into account.
Recently I had the pleasure of reading a small article on Martyn Fogg, a British astronomer. With the help of the Probability Research Group at the University of London's Birkbeck College, he devised an experiment which would show how likely the possibility of extra-terrestrial life was in our near surroundings. Fogg used a computer similation to devise a mathematical sky sweep of approximately one million stars in our own Milky Way. Two groups were formed as contenders; the first being biocompatible, capable of sustaining life, and the second, habitable, suitable for Earth-like conditions. Now in order for life to survive on a planet, a regular, constant orbit is required. This produces reliatively constant tempera- tures and atmosphere, with erratic changes reduced to a minimum. In order to achieve this, a star must consist of gaseous nebulae, containing substancial heavy elements. Now for this star to have orbiting a biocompatible planet, it must generate sufficient surface temperature to allow water to maintain a liquid state. Martyn Fogg's sky sweep turned up twenty eight stars that met the above criteria... in our own galaxy, the farthest being twenty two light years away. All of these had the possibility of carrying orbiting, biocompatible planets. Alpha Centauri A according to Fogg, has the highest probability of possessing a world where life could exist. The key point here is the close proximity in which these plausibly life- bearing stars exist. Taking the entire universe into account, starts having such qualities could quite literally number in the trillions... and more... And of those trillions, a small percentage (if not more) would have orbitting life-sustaining planets. Of those, undoubtedly, a number would have thriving populations of life-forms.
To fully comprehend the possibility of extraterrestrial life, let us start at the beginning... when beliefs of life forms other than our own first appeared in documentation. From as early as 585 B.C. (Julian Calendar) claims were made as to the belief of alien life. The first recorded claim being made by Thales of Miletus, (who predicted the first eclipse), when he proposed that the stars were other worlds. The second such claim was made by his student Anaximander, who elaborated on the idea that the number of worlds was infinite, some being created, and some dying at all times. These initial claims primed, so to speak, the foundation of some of the most compelling evidence supporting claims of life elsewhere in our universe.
Some of the most persuasive evidence supporting the existence of extraterrestrial life comes from research derived from foreign matter falling to the earth's surface. On March 15, 1806, the first recorded incident of this type occurred when a piece of black material plunged into the earth near the village of Valence. Twenty eight years later, J. Jacob Berzelius, the great Swedish chemist found to his amazement, that the material was rich in carbon compounds, very much like humus (a mixture of animal and vegetable remains). Berzelius concluded from his experiments that it could possibly give an indication of the presence of organisms on extraterrestrial bodies.
In 1857, another such object was discovered at Kaba, in Hungary. Friedrich Wohler, a student of Berzelius, extracted an oil with a strong bituminous odor. The organic material occupied a small part of the object, but nevertheless was most definately there.
On May 14, 1864, another object crashed into the southern area of France. The Orgueil meteorite. S. Cloez, a French scientist, examined it and concluded that it "would seem to indicate the existence of organized substances in celestial bodies," meaning living remains in those celestial bodies.
These occurances have repeated themselves numerous times to date, but climaxed in 1960, when Melvin Calvin and Susan K. Vaughn reported their results of a study on another celestial object that had fallen near Murray, Kentucky, to the First International Space Science Symposium. "Extraterrestrial Life: Some Organic Constituents of Meteorites and Their Significance for Possible Extraterrestrial Biological Evolution," was the name of their paper. In it they explained how samples of the meteorite were vapourized and passed through a mass spec- trometer designed to show the relative masses of molecules that ran through it. The sample was showered with a beam of electrons, ionizing its molecules. These were then forced through a magnetic field that bent their flight path. Since the extent of the bend was jurisdicted by the weigh of each molecule, the stream could be analyzed for its abundances of molecules of different weights. Using five solvents, water and carbon tetrachloride among them, materials of various kinds were extracted and analyzed in terms of their absorption of infrared and ultraviolet light. The tetrachloride extract showed the infrared spectra of methyls and methylenes, and the ratio between them suggested the presence of molecules built on chains of fifteen or more carbon atoms. The water extracts were studied under ultraviolet light and the variations of the spectra at different acidities, were those typical of cytosine, one of the four bases that carries the "code of life" in the DNA molecule. If that isn't enough, the following year, a piece of the meteorite was subjected to petroleum research techniques at the Esso laboratories in Linden.
After distilling the sample, and the hydrocarbons were extracted, they were passed through a mass spectrometer. Some of the hydrocarbons proved to be built on chains of as many as twenty-nine carbon atoms, and showed remarkable resemblance to the paraffins and other hydrocarbons found in living matter. One constituent of an assortment of paraffins seemed related to the cholesterol found in blood.
Those examples of foreign life, are the building blocks of some, and the remains of other extraterrestrial life. Many may be plant life, some may be intellectual life; but where you find one, you will also find the other. It is just a matter of time in the evolutionary scale of life... time, and aspect the universe has an abundance of. From the sheer mass of space, and the law of averages, to the materials we have intercepted from that mass, there is much more room for belief in the plausibility of life elsewhere, than for disbelief.
Now what is the possibility of these life-forms having the technology to physically explore our planet? Taking the law of averages into account, our technology is inferior to half of other civilizations, and superior to the other half. If this is so, there is more than a distinct possibility that many, many worlds have the ability to traverse our segment of space. Nevertheless it is possible we have been, are being, and will be visited in the future. Numerous inexplicable craft have been spotted, visually and with radar, remnants are claimed to exist from sources incapable of receiving any form of benefit from such claims, information on the above is not disclosed, and for what reason? Some other life-forms have traversed to this planet, and undoubtedly others. The only question I ponder is the frequency at which they visit...
In 1961, during a conference at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bahk, West Virginia, a group consisting of optical astronomers, radio astronomers, an astrophysicist, a physicist, a biochemist, a chemical investigator, and some specialists in communications met to discuss the subject of "Intelligent Extraterrestrial Life." This group called them- selves "The Order of the Dolphin," as one of the communications experts specialized in the "language" of the dolphins. It was during this conference that Melvin Calvin received his Nobel Prize, and the conclusion of this meeting yielded a unanimous belief that the number of civilizations that may have evolved to the point where they could communicate with other solar systems was large; although impossible to accurately estimate.
One year later, in 1962, the giant, federally owned radio telescope at Green Bank was used in Project Ozma. It was aimed at nearby stars to see if intelligent signals were emanating from them. Shortly thereafter, in 1964, the "Extraterrestrial Civilizations" conference was held at the Burakan Astrophysical Observatory, one of the finest in the Soviet Union at the time. It was here, that in the following year, CTA-102, an object emitting radio signals from space, was discovered.
When the seventies closed in, most information of this nature suddenly diminished into the realms of obscurity. Information on all experiments of extra-terrestrial nature was witheld by the government, now employing these great bodies of information. Observatories are little permitted for use by the public, and all experimentation is now performed behind locked doors within the grips of the ever tightening fists of our governments. There is proof of alien life, the vast majority of it though, is kept from us.
In conclusion I would like to state the possibility of life in the great expanses of the universe should not be questioned, it should be taken for granted. To think otherwise would not only put a devasting burden on mankind, but would make that great area of space a waste of creation. For one species to make use of the heavens above is a mouthful God himself could not stomach. We are not alone, nor will we ever be. The stars are full of life, to match in direct proportion the beauty of our universe and the secrets it holds for our, and others', discovery.
"The Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy," copyright 1984, Pan Books, London.
Information on Martyn Fogg acquired from "The Probability Reasearch Group," and "Omni Magazine" vol 16 no 11.
Pearman, J. P. T., "Extraterrestrial Life and Interstellar Communication: An Informal Discussion," Item 28 in A. G. W. Cameron (ed.), Interstallar Communication, A Collection of Reprints and Original Contributions, W. A. Bemjamin, Inc. (New York, 1963).
Lucretius, The Nature of the Universe, translated with an introduction by Ronald Latham, Penguin Books (Baltimore, 1951).
Anders, Edward, and G. G. Goles, "Theories on the Origin of Meteorites," Jour. of Chemical Education, vol 38 (Feb. 1961)
Frondel, Clifford, "Minerological Problems Presented by Meteorites," National Acedemy of Sciences Paper (Wash., D.C. April 29, 1964).
Calvin, M., and S. K. Vaughn, "Estraterrestrial Life: Some Organic Constituents of Meteorites and Their Significance for Possible Extraterrestrial Biological Evolution," Space Research: Proceedings of the First International Space Science Symposium, Hilde Kallmann, ed., North-Holland Publ. Co. (Amsterdam, 1960).
Anders, Edward, and F. W. Fitch, "Search for Organized Elements in Cabonaceous Chondrites," Science, vol. 138 (Dec. 28, 1962). ~09