New UAP/UFO Science and Astronomy on the Ocean Floor
Developments within the study of the UFO/UAP phenomenon have been coming in almost daily as of late. With everything from murmurs of more whistleblowers in addition to David Grush potentially coming out at any time on the subject of whether the US government has in its possession downed technological craft of non-human origin, to high level congressional hearings being planned based on the testimony of these whistleblowers, like it or not this issue has moved to the forefront of astrobiology whether there’s an alien origin behind it all, or not and it’s all just some wild goose chase. The glaring problem with pinning any of this down however is a lack of hard evidence, at least publicly. A whistleblower’s claims, backed apparently by actual documents and evidence presented to the US Intelligence Services Inspector General leading to an urgent investigation, is just that. A claim and an investigation.
But none of those documents are unclassified. We don’t get to see the evidence the Inspector General saw. Nor did Grusch actually see the claimed craft, which is one of the reasons he was cleared to talk about some aspects of it. You can’t really sign a non-disclosure agreement when you have only second hand material to disclose. So without hard evidence, these are claims, intriguing though they are. But this development highlights a long standing problem with resolving the question of what UFOs/UAP are.
Of course most sightings can be attributed to mis-identification of known phenomena, hoaxes and things of that nature but as the Pentagon’s head of AARO, the All Domain Anomaly Resolution Office, Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick has stated there remains something on the order of 2 to 5 percent of cases they can’t identify. Either there’s not enough data, or whatever it was was too weird to identify. A similar number was cited decades ago at the conclusion of the Air Force’s Project Bluebook.
There is always a remnant of inexplicable cases, some of which seem worthy of scientific inquiry, and could represent the single most important discovery in human history for all we know. At this point, it’s simply not enough to shrug, say that was weird and move on and forget about it. The long standing problem of course is that the vast majority of evidence for the phenomenon is anecdotal, or otherwise poor, the fuzzy vague picture problem made worse in this modern age of computer generated imagery and people trolling the culture with fake footage. Anecdotes are not really scientifically actionable lines of evidence other than to look at them for patterns, or similarities, or tell you where you might set up instruments to catch a recurring UFO report or things of that nature.
When you get into the substance of the stories though, while interesting, they don’t really provide much that is scientifically actionable. This is why the scientists tend not to act deeply on the basis of anecdotes. To illustrate this, let’s take a lesser known mass UFO sighting. I often get comments wondering why Americans are seemingly the only ones seeing UFOs, typically by members of other English speaking countries. This is patently false, and always has been. It’s not a matter of geography rather it’s a matter of what gets reported to you.
So this particular sighting is from the days of the Soviet Union and represents one of the largest UFO sightings as far as numbers of people that witnessed it in history. Known as the Petrozavodsk phenomenon, it occurred on September 20, 1977, ironically just over a month after the famous Wow! Signal was intercepted in Ohio. This was a true mass UFO sighting, with observers ranging from Copenhagen and Helsinki all the way to Vladovostok in Eastern Russia on the pacific ocean. This covered a truly monumental amount of land.
The vast majority of reports say that between 1 and 1:30 AM, as many as 48 unidentified objects appeared in the atmosphere. Over the next several hours different reports from different areas came in of a single luminous object, including by port authorities in what was then Leningrad, fishermen and others. This object was reported to change direction while moving silently. Other reports say it was airship-like, with what appeared to be a row of windows. In other words, even though thousands of observers saw whatever this was, from the perspective of decades later in another country entirely there doesn’t seem to have been a lot of consistency as to just what people were seeing. The Academy of Sciences of the USSR found the opposite, and they had much more access to the eye witness accounts.
They found them overall consistent. There are many potential reasons for the confusion, ranging from the phenomenon evolving over the several hours of the event, multiple different and unrelated phenomena happening around the same time, and so on. It gets further complicated in the form of reports of increased plant growth in the affected areas where it was seen in the months after the event, and a report of wide scale apparent computer failures during the event.
As far as instrument data, it’s also hopelessly confused. There’s even a situation where a news outlet reported that a radar in Helsinki had picked something up, but the operators of the radar said they had not. The Soviet air defense system reportedly picked nothing up, but a weather radar in Petrozavodsk did. To add even more confusion, there have been many conflicting explanations advanced from the launch of the Kosmos-955 satellite, to the aurora borealis, to some kind of weird somehow chemically luminescent cloud.
However, no explanation fully settles the confusion around whatever so many people saw in 1977. It did however motivate the Soviets to form a scientific probe into atmospheric phenomena, one of several they undertook over the years. And given that 1977 was a very long time ago now, we are not likely to ever know exactly what happened in this case. Each year, there are less witnesses left, and one of the most widespread UFO sightings in history remains relatively unknown in the English speaking west.
And this is why groups like The Galileo Project, AARO, and NASA UAP probe are looking for fresh, new evidence collected by instruments designed for the task as opposed to digging through the history of UFOlogy looking at past cases. Past cases are not likely to provide proof of anything, or they would have by now. What we do know today however is that there is something in this to study, that remaining 2-5 percent of sightings needs explaining scientifically, and that’s happening on multiple fronts and there are developments on all of them.
Firstly, there’s the NASA probe. On May 31st of 2023 NASA held a press conference by their Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena Independent Study regarding their progress, first began in June of 2022, towards determining the best course of action as to just how to study the UFO/UAP Phenomenon in hopes of actually finding an answer to this enigmatic problem. Similarly, more papers have been released by Harvard’s Galileo Project on this subject, providing two paths within science to try to find some answers and hopefully take an honest scientific look into the phenomenon without the fears of ruining one’s reputation just for asking a UFO question and taking the subject seriously.
And this was one of the overall focus points of the NASA conference, the stigma surrounding the subject must go. Something exists that people see that needs explaining that could at the very least represent an aviation hazard, and at its furthest extent something profound. The subject now warrants serious inquiry and discussion without ridicule or stigma. This will be a long road, Indeed the actual NASA team itself is reporting harassment for looking into it. This comes from two camps, the people that think anyone that says the word UFO is automatically nuts and the whole thing is a waste of time, but also the conspiracy theory crowd that says NASA’s had the answer the whole time and all that goes with that. I disagree with both positions.
As I’ve said before, I’m skeptical of an alien origin here but my mind can be changed. I simply take an open minded position, I don’t know what this is or what the phenomenon represents, so I say no matter your position on the subject, let’s all be reasonable, civil and see how it unfolds and everyone have an open and honest discussion about it. After all, there’s nothing implausible about the idea of close aliens, the moment you say Von Neumann Probe you’re in UFO territory whether you like it or not.
When you boil it down, all we really have is that we think close aliens are unlikely, or they’d have a far more visible presence. But we actually don’t have a basis for that, we have absolutely no idea how likely or unlikely the presence of an alien civilization in the solar system is, nor can we predict how they would choose to show themselves. We have a sampling of one civilization, our own, and we seek to head out into the stars if we can. We ask why they would crash craft into our planet, when that’s exactly what we do.
We litter the solar system with spent equipment. How many of our crashes, intentional or deliberate, litter the surface of the moon and Mars? Dozens. All of our probes that we’ve sent out on an interstellar trajectory will in just a few years be someone else’s dead alien trash. And let’s face it.
We may not want to spend our lives wandering the vast distances of interstellar space, but Voyager II doesn’t care. It’s going to be crossing the empty blackness for millions of years without a single thought as to the passage of time. It’s a computer, not a human. Make it self repairing with a fuel source that isn’t decaying plutonium, and it would wander the galaxy functional indefinitely and with no connection to a human sense of lifetime, distance and the ticking clock. As to an obvious presence, well maybe aliens are just subtle. And there’s a plausible way for a presence to have happened that’s fully within the laws of physics, as pointed out by Dr. David Grinspoon in the NASA conference.
Nothing physically stops the idea of a von Nuemann probe sitting out in the solar system somewhere printing out probes that dip into the earth’s atmosphere and then people subsequently see them. That possibility alone coupled with the numerous reports of objects, many by very credible sources, not behaving as we expect them to is enough on its own to justify a scientific look into the phenomenon. But, to be fair, in this we’re also going to find a lot of birds and echoes. And as with inquiry into this subject in the past has shown, there are likely to be anomalies that we never explain that come to light. The question is, how do you eliminate the mundane so we can solely see the weird and unexplained core that seems to be in all of this with actual solid scientific data sets that will let us try to determine exactly what this is, and if it takes science itself down a new rabbit hole.
That is NASA’s overall mission with their probe. Of course, they are a government organization, so you can’t ever eliminate the possibility that they might cover something up. It has to be said. The NASA conference was nearly four hours long, so I’ll condense it down here for the interested but low on time. They stated that they’re examining and determining what use the instrumentation available to them could be in studying UAP.
The big problem is that instrumentation, whether it’s an FAA radar system or a cell phone camera, isn't designed to take down data on UAP, rather it’s often the opposite and detections they might be getting right now, get kicked out as noise. Remember, most aviation radar is for directing a United Flight so it doesn’t get too close to a Southwest flight from Dallas to Chicago, and the cell phone cameras are for full broad daylight selfies on the beach. If you have a solid object moving at very high speed at the same altitude as our known aircraft, but going much faster than they move, the FAA may not see it and you’ll never have time to pull out your phone for a low light photo that will end up any good. The fuzzy picture problem.
On radar, it’s not that different, a UFO of interest might just be a single blip among an already notoriously noisy data set. The same problem affects the military aircraft, but here it’s even more tricky. A gun or surveillance camera on an FA-18 is designed to watch a rival nation state’s aircraft, it’s not really designed to look into something of unknown origin, even if that object is technological. And even after that, the powers that be can’t tell you anything. If you take some footage on a classified sensor system of a bird, even though it’s just a bird it must be classified because it reveals your instrument’s capabilities to a rival nation state.
It’s not the bird that’s classified, it’s the sensor that is. But here’s where the Pentagon tends to get murky, which is saying it lightly. They may say that they wouldn’t classify a true UAP, only the sensor, but that’s already proven to not be the case.
Instead, they do have a history of classifying things in a strange way that’s above and beyond the normal overclassification problem in government. The FOIA people report documents that existed but were heavily redacted, and then those documents when asked for again get destroyed or otherwise disappear. That aside, the problem is even deeper with the NASA and the US government AARO probe, the latter having been mandated by Congress for the Pentagon itself to look into the phenomenon.
The data sets available to these organizations from the past are noisy, not well curated, not originally intended as searches for UAP, and are generally unclear. So to search them, you need to know specifically what you’re looking for, something AARO has been working on and within that there’s something of interest. AARO were able to determine to a degree just what UAP types are being seen. The vast majority appear to be spheres, sometimes translucent, sometimes metallic, distributed more or less globally.
These spheres can exhibit perfectly mundane behavior, in other words metallic balloons moving with the wind will be a strong candidate here, but others display puzzling behavior reportedly against the wind or at high speed that may not be so easy to explain. Like balloons however, AARO says they often do not exhibit heat signatures or means of propulsion. At the same time, a balloon can interfere with aviation, especially in light that AARO believes the majority of reports are coming from altitudes that our aircraft fly at.
But this may be skewed, the lower you get in altitude the less organizations like the FAA see that on their radars. At the altitudes you typically find drones for example, under 400 feet typically, then little is seen because the radars are simply not designed to look that low. The other problem is high speed. The most interesting cases of UAP in the air usually involve unexplained flight characteristics such as abrupt changes in direction and very high speed. In addition to atmospheric effects and sonic booms that should be produced by movement like this, it’s also very difficult to look for this because we look for what we expect from our aircraft, not unexpected behavior by something that isn’t one of our aircraft.
Take satellite imagery for example, yes there are huge data sets public and private from a variety of satellites but often these data sets are not ideal to catch rapidly moving objects, specifically because their frame rate at which they are taking images is too slow, and a lot of satellites are only looking at a very tiny fraction of the earth’s surface at any given time. That’s not to say you can’t create specialized satellites specifically made for the job of searching for UAP. And, artificial intelligence will be of some help in searching what data sets we do have both recent and historic, once the parameters are set on just what to look for, a good candidate being unusual movement, or lack of movement under high winds. NASA’s first report from the study is due later this summer, and should be fully public. But the NASA study and AARO aren’t the only scientific studies ongoing with UAP.
Making apparently much more progress is the Galileo Project, a privately funded probe led by Dr. Avi Loeb into UAP and close technosignatures. On the UAP front, several things have happened with the Galileo Project. The first is that the first observatory and instrument package is deployed on the roof of Harvard and is operational and collecting data.
The news is that Dr. Loeb has secured funding for five more observatories, to be deployed at various locations presumably in reported UFO hotspots, though some work Loeb’s done on distributions of UAP sightings shows that it’s actually fairly uniform in highly populated areas, as you would expect. More viewers, more sightings, so location of the sensors may not matter as much as you might think. Internally within the Galileo project quite a number of new papers have come out detailing just how to search for UAP, including new and innovative ways.
Some of these are very novel, including searching with acoustic sensors and using passive radar methods, along with a paper on using satellite imagery to search for UAP. For those wishing to dig deep, I have included a link to the publications section of the Galileo Project which includes downloadable pre-print PDFs of most of the papers. Openness and transparency is crucial to the mission of the Galileo Project.
I’m not a member of it, I am unaffiliated, rather I just support the effort and report the progress. And so far so good. On the transparency count, the papers written so far are there for the reading. I’m assured the data from the observatories will be available as they are deployed.
But in what I consider a remarkable show of openness, we come to the expedition to hopefully retrieve remains of the first detected interstellar object from the ocean floor. The expedition is in progress. On Event Horizon I recently was able to speak with Dr. Loeb directly on the deck of the exploration vessel, silver star, where he gave us all a tour, link in the description below. Further Dr. Loeb has been blogging at Medium posting several times a day any findings that
have come up through dragging a magnetic sled on the ocean floor and there have been some odd things showing up. More on that in a bit. Essentially the search area was determined by two different sets of data. The first was the US government’s CNEOS satellite catalog system, which detected the fireball in 2014, and based on that data the object in question appeared to be entering the earth’s atmosphere at a speed too high for an object bound to the sun, thus it’s a good candidate for an interstellar meteorite of some type. This is not unexpected, the galaxy is full of errant material getting ejected from star systems, so it’s not surprising that earth would be hit by such a meteorite every now and again. At the same time however, questions about the data set which is partly classified have also come up as to just how accurate the CNEOS catalog is.
Here the researchers were able to get a second data set from a seismic station on Manus Island in Indonesia not far from the impact site, which allows them to narrow the search area down significantly, to about a square kilometer roughly. So the expedition has launched, funded by the blockchain entrepreneur Charles Hoskinson, on a budget of about 1.5 million dollars. The idea is to drag a sled loaded with neodymium magnets on the ocean floor and try to collect any fragments of the meteor, with a plan B to physically dredge for any non-magnetic materials if needed. The sled was also dragged in a control area which was not within the search area to determine a background of what you might find sitting on the ocean floor that’s magnetic.
One strange aspect of this apparent interstellar object is that in the data it could be worked out that the object was very hard, significantly more so than a normal iron meteorite and much more so than a stone meteorite. This opened up the question of whether it might have been some kind of artificial material or some unknown very hard natural material. And that’s where it gets weird.
The first unusual item dredged up was a piece of wire composed of a number of elements including manganese and platinum. This tiny piece of rigid wire was not magnetic, rather it ended up cemented to the magnet held in place by magnetic particles of volcanic origin. The wire has some weird components, not the least of which is platinum which is expensive, but at the same time the area in question was a hot zone during world war II and one can imagine electronics and odd aviation materials ending up scattered on the ocean floor. Still, further analysis is needed on the object. Then weird steel started showing up. Two types of it.
Both are steels that we use, one we use a lot and is of less interest. But the other is known as S5 tool steel, multiple irregular fragments of it, and while we make extensive use of it, it’s a very good and very hard alloy, it doesn’t make a lot of sense why it would be in fragments on the ocean floor in a pattern looking more like a meteorite strewn field than someone’s discarded die from a piece of manufacturing machinery. Granted, it’s probably human made steel, but odd in context none the less. The way to determine if it’s even stranger than human however is to look at the isotopes present within it.
It should have trace amounts of radioactive isotopes such as aluminum-26 that are expected in our steel. For an interstellar object of technological origin however, assuming it traveled the galaxy for millions of years, these isotopes should be depleted. If they are, then this metal becomes officially anomalous and potentially of interstellar, and indeed alien, origin. You might be tempted to say well, why would aliens be using a mundane alloy of steel but the answer is simple: it works. Metallurgy is something that’s going to be universal among alien civilizations. Useful combinations of metals made from the very elements of the universe that make up all matter is the natural way to go if the alloy gets the job done.
Useful is useful, no matter how technologically advanced you are. Yes, it would be much more interesting to find a piece of graphene or something that we cannot currently produce effectively, but that doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t find familiar metals used in alien technology. That said, it’s hard to do in depth isotope analyses on a ship off the coast of Papua New Guinea, they will need to be done at Harvard when the expedition ends, and the metal is overwhelmingly likely to be of human origin. Still, an interesting set of findings so far. As an aside, you can also date steel to a certain degree. Because of nuclear weapons testing over the years, isotopes have been introduced into the earth’s atmosphere that actually leave a telltale signature in modern steel.
Pre-war steel does not have this, and in fact one aspect of sea salvage is to recover such steel for use in manufacturing radiation detection equipment. It doesn’t have a radioactive background, whereas modern steel does. There was actually a case where several member ships of the intentionally scuttled German Fleet at Scapa Flow dating from the end of world war I were salvaged in part, particularly their armor plating, for this purpose after rights to the wrecks were sold at a very low price on Ebay. That actually happened, salvage rights to battleships of the Kaiser’s high seas fleet sold online. This aspect of steel may prove important on this expedition since the manufacture of tool steel is relatively recent, and specific alloys like S5 even more so.
Obviously, the current elephant in the room here however are the developments surrounding the whistleblowers. This can change on a dime, others could come out, and the congressional hearings might yield something or they might not. I can say that my own senator for my area thinks there’s something to this, and that behind the scenes briefings seemed to confirm that something weird is going on. It’s much the same in the US house of representatives, where plans for hearings are in the works, and the representatives involved do not seem to be very satisfied with the Pentagon’s answers as to whatever this is. All we can do there is wait and see. Thanks for listening! I am futurist and science fiction author John Michael Godier currently pondering a real alien back engineering project.
What if that’s what they’re here for? To get our technology, and some day when we eventually make contact we find that their entire civilization is driving back engineered 1985 LeBarons playing Robert Goulet on the tape deck eating fine processed cheeses and shelf stable summer sausage with crackers. Won’t lie. I could get used to aliens like that over zoo hypothesis dark forest von neumann monsters, anyway be sure to check out my books at your favorite online book retailer and subscribe to my channels for regular, in-depth explorations into the interesting weird and unknown aspects of this amazing universe in which we live.