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The Flying Saucers Are Real

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Author Topic: The Flying Saucers Are Real  (Read 1002 times)
Ramona Hanneken
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« Reply #90 on: March 23, 2009, 01:31:45 pm »

"Suppose radar or some other device warned you a meteorite was coming toward you head-on. Or maybe some instrument indicated an error in navigation. By the time your mind registered the thought, the situation would have changed."

"Then all the controls would have to be automatic," I said. I told him that I had heard about plans for avoiding meteorites. "Electronic controls would be faster than thought."

"That's probably the answer," he agreed. "Of course, at a hundred miles a second it might not be too serious. But if they ever get up to speeds like a thousand miles a second, that mental lag could make an enormous difference, whether it was a meteorite heading toward you or a matter of navigation."

One of the problems he mentioned was the lack of gravity. I had already learned about this. Once away from the earth's pull, objects in the space ship would have no weight. The slightest push could send crewmen floating around the sealed compartment.

"Suppose you spilled a cup of coffee," said the flight surgeon. "What would happen?"

I said I hadn't thought it out.

"The Randolph Field lab can tell you," he said. "The coffee would stay right there in the air. So would the cup, if you let go of it. But there's a more serious angle--your breath."

"You'd have artificial air," I began.

"Yes, they've already worked that out. But what about the breath you exhale? It contains carbon dioxide, and if you let it stay right there in front of your face you'd be sucking it back into your lungs. After a while, it would asphyxiate you. So the air has to be kept in motion, and besides that the ventilating system has to remove the carbon dioxide."

"What about eating?" I asked. "Swallowing is partly gravity, isn't it?"

He nodded. "Same as drinking, though the throat muscles help force the food down. I don't know the answer to that. In fact, everything about the human body presents a problem. Take the blood circulation. The

{p. 104}

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Ramona Hanneken
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« Reply #91 on: March 23, 2009, 01:32:08 pm »

amount of energy required to pump blood through the veins would be almost negligible. What would that do to your heart?"

"I couldn't even guess," I said.

"Well, that's all the Aero-Medical lab can do--guess at it. They've been trying to work out some way of duplicating the effect of zero gravity, but there's just no answer. If you could build a machine to neutralize gravity, you could get all the answers, except to the 'dead distance' question.

"For instance, there's the matter of whether the human body would even function without gravity. All down through the stages of evolution, man's organs have been used to that downward pull. Take away gravity, and your whole body might stop working. Some of the Aero-Medical men I've talked with don't believe that, but they admit that long trips outside of gravity might have odd effects.

"Then there's the question of orientation. Here on earth, orienting yourself depends on the feeling you get from the pull of gravity, plus your vision. just being blindfolded is enough to disorient some people. Taking away the pull of gravity might be a lot worse. And of course out in space your only reference points would be distant stars and planets. We've been used to locating stars from points on the earth, where we know their position. But how about locating them from out in space, with a ship moving at great speed? Inside the space ship, it would be something like being in a submarine. Probably only the pilot compartment would have glass ports, and those would be covered except in landing--maybe even then. Outside vision might be by television, so you couldn't break a glass port and let out your pressure.

"But to go back to the submarine idea. It would be like a sub, with this big difference: In the submarine you can generally tell which way is down, except maybe in a crash dive when you may lose your equilibrium for a moment. But in the space ship, you could be standing with your feet on one spot, and another crewman might be--relative to you--standing upside down. You might be floating horizontally, the other man vertically. {p. 105} The more you think about it, the crazier it gets. But they've got to solve all those problems before we can tackle space."

To make sure I had the details right, I checked on the Air Force research. I found that the Randolph Field laboratory is working on all these problems, and many more.

Although plans arc not far enough advanced to make it certain, probably animals will be sent up in research rockets to determine the effect of no gravity before any human beings make such flights. The results could be televised back to the earth.

All through my check-up on space exploration plans, one thing struck me: I met no resistance. There was no official reticence about the program; on the contrary, nothing about it seemed secret.

Even though it was peacetime, this was a little curious, because of the potential war value of an earth satellite vehicle. Even if the Nazi scheme for destruction proved just a dream, an orbiting space base could be used for other purposes. In its two-hour swing around the earth, practically all of the globe could be observed-directly, by powerful telescopes, or indirectly, by a combination of radar and television. Long-range missiles could be guided to targets, after being launched from some point on the earth. As the missiles climbed high into the stratosphere, the satellite's radar could pick them up and keep them on course by remote control.

There were other possibilities for both attack and defense. Ordinarily, projects with wartime value are kept under wraps, or at least not widely publicized. Of course, the explanation might be very simple: The completion of the satellite vehicle was so remote that there seemed no need for secrecy. But in that case, why had the program been announced at all?

If the purpose had been propaganda, it looked like a weak gesture. The Soviets would not be greatly worried by a dream weapon forty or fifty years off. Besides that, the Pentagon, as a rule, doesn't go for such propaganda.

There was only one conventional answer that made any sense. If we had heard that the Soviets were about

{p. 106}

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Ramona Hanneken
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« Reply #92 on: March 23, 2009, 01:32:33 pm »

to announce such a program, as a propaganda trick, it would be smart to beat them to it. But I had no proof of, any such Russian intention.

The date on Secretary Forrestal's co-ordination announcement was December 30, 1948. One day later, the order creating Project "Saucer" had been signed. That didn't prove anything; winding up the year, Forrestal could have signed a hundred orders. I was getting too suspicious.

At any rate, I had now analyzed the Gorman case and checked on our space plans. Tomorrow I would see Redell and find out what he knew.

{p. 107}

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Ramona Hanneken
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« Reply #93 on: March 24, 2009, 01:15:01 pm »

'WHEN I called Redell's office I found he had flown to Dallas and would not be back for two days. By the time he returned, I had written a draft of the Gorman case, with my answer to the balloon explanation. When I saw him, the next morning, I asked him to look it over.

Redell lighted his pipe and then read the draft, nodding to himself now and then.

"I think that's correct analysis," he said when he finished. "That was a very curious case. You know, Project 'Saucer' even had psychiatrists out there. If Gorman had been the only witness, I think they'd have called it a hallucination. As it was, they took a crack at him and the C.A.A. men in their preliminary report."

Though I recalled that there had been a comment, I didn't remember the wording. Redell looked it up and read it aloud:

"'From a psychological aspect, the Gorman incident raised the question, "Is it possible for an object without appreciable shape or known aeronautical configuration to appear to travel at variable speeds and maneuver intelligently?"'"

"Hallucination might sound like a logical answer," I said, "until you check all the testimony. But there are just too many witnesses who confirm Gorman's report. Also, he seems like a pretty level-headed chap."

Redell filled his pipe again. "But you still can't quite accept it?"

"I'm positive they saw the light--but what the devil was it? How could it fly without some kind of airfoil?"

"Maybe it didn't. You remember Gorman described an odd fuzziness around the edge of the light? It's in this Air Force report. That could have been a reflection from the airfoil."

"Yes, but Gorman would have seen any solid--" I stopped, as Redell made a negative gesture.

"It could be solid and still not show up," he said.

"You mean it was transparent? Sure, that would do it!"

{p. 108}

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Ramona Hanneken
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« Reply #94 on: March 24, 2009, 01:15:18 pm »

"Let's say the airfoil was a rotating plastic disk, absolutely transparent. The blurred, fuzzy look could have been caused by the whirling disk. Neither Gorman nor the C.A.A. men in the tower could possibly see the disk itself."

"Paul, I think you've hit it," I said. "I can see thc rest of it--the thing was under remote control, radio or radar. And from the way it flew rings around Gorman, whoever controlled it must have been able to see the F-51, either with a television 'eye' or by radar,"

"Or by some means we don't understand," said Redell. He went on carefully, "In all these saucer cases, keep this in mind: We may be dealing with some totally unknown principle--something completely beyond our comprehension."

For a moment, I thought he was hunting at some radical discovery by Soviet--captured Nazi scientists. Then I realized what he meant.

"You think they're interplanetary," I murmured.

"Why not?" Redell looked surprised. "Isn't that your idea? I got that impression."

"Yes, but I didn't think you believed it. When you said to check on our space plans, I thought you had some secret missile in mind."

"No, I had another reason. I wanted you to see all the problems involved in space travel. If you accept the interplanetary answer, you have to accept this, too--whoever is looking us over has licked all those problems years ago. Technically, they'd be hundreds of years ahead of us--maybe thousands. It has a lot to do with what they'd be up to here."

When I mentioned the old sighting reports, I found that Redell already knew about them. He was convinced that the earth had been under observation a long time, probably even before the first recorded sightings.

"I know some of those reports aren't authentic," he admitted. "But if you accept even one report of a flying disk or rocket-shaped object before the twentieth century, then you have to accept the basic idea. In the last forty years, you might blame the reports on planes and dirigibles. But there was no propelled aircraft until 1903. {p. 109} Either all those early sightings were wrong, or some kind of fast aerial machine has been flying periodically over the earth for at least two centuries.

I told him I was pretty well convinced, but that True faced a problem. There was some conflicting evidence, and part of it seemed linked with guided missiles. I felt sure we could prove the space-travel answer, but we had to stay clear of discussing any weapons that were still a secret.

"I can't believe that guided missiles are the answer to the Godman Field saucer and the Chiles-Whitted case, or this business at Fargo. But we're got to be absolutely sure before we print anything."

"Well, let's analyze it," said Redell. "Let's see if all the saucers could be explained as something launched from the earth."

He reached for a pad and a pencil.

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Ramona Hanneken
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« Reply #95 on: March 24, 2009, 01:15:36 pm »

"First, let's take your rotating disk. That would be a lot simpler to build than the stationary disk with variable jet nozzles. With a disk rotated at high speed you get a tremendous lift, whether it's slotted or cambered, as long as there's enough air to work on."

"The helicopter principle," I said.

Redell nodded. "The most practical propulsion would be with two or more jets out on the rim, to spin your rotating section. But to get up enough speed for the jets to be efficient, you'd have to whirl the disk mechanically before the take-off. Here's one way. You could have a square hole in the center; then the disk launching device would have a square shaft, rotated by an engine or a motor. As the speed built up, the cambered disk would ride up the shaft and free itself, rising vertically, with the jets taking over the job of whirling the cambered section.

"The lift would be terrific, far more than any normal aircraft. I don't believe any human being could take the G's involved in a maximum power climb; they'd have to use remote control. When it got to the desired altitude, your disk could be flown in any direction by tilting it that way. The forward component from that tremendous

{p. 110}

lift would result in a very high speed. The disk could also hover, and descend vertically."

"What about maneuvering?" I asked, thinking of Gorman's experience.

"It could turn faster than any pilot could stand," said Redell. "Of course, a pilot's cockpit could be built into a large disk; but there'd have to be some way of holding down the speed, to avoid too many G's in tight maneuvers."

"Most of the disks don't make any noise," I said. "At least, that's the general report. You'd hear ordinary jets for miles."

"Right, and here's another angle. Ram jets take a lot of fuel. Even with some highly efficient new jet, I can't see the long ranges reported. Some of these saucers have been seen all over the world. No matter which hemisphere they were launched from, they'd need an eight-thousand-mile range, at least, to explain all of the sightings. The only apparent answer would be some new kind of power, probably atomic. We certainly didn't have atomic engines for aircraft in 1947, when the first disks were seen here. And we don't have them now, though we're working on it. Even if we had such an engine, it wouldn't be tiny enough to power the small disks."

"Anyway," I said, "we'd hardly be flying them all over everywhere. The cost would be enormous, and there'd always be a danger of somebody getting the secret if a disk landed."

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Ramona Hanneken
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« Reply #96 on: March 24, 2009, 01:15:52 pm »

"Plus the risk of injuring people by radiation. just imagine an atomic-powered disk dropping into a city. The whole idea's ridiculous."

"That seems to rule out the guided-missile answer," I began. But Redell shook his head.

"Disk-shaped missiles are quite feasible. I'm talking about range, speed, and performance. Imagine for a moment that we have disk-type missiles using the latest jet or rocket propulsion--either piloted or remote-controlled. The question is, could such disks fit specific sightings like the one at Godman Field and the case at Fargo?"

Redell paused as if some new thought had struck him.

"Wait a minute, here's an even better test. I happen to

{p. 111}

know about this case personally. Marvin Miles--he's an aviation writer in Los Angeles--was down at White Sands Proving Ground some time ago. He talked with a Navy rocket expert who was in charge of naval guided-missile projects. This Navy man--he's a commander in the regular service--told Miles they'd seen four saucers down in that area."

"You're sure he wasn't kidding Miles?" I said. Then I remembered Purdy's tip about a White Sands case.

"I told you I checked on this myself," Redell said, a little annoyed. "After Miles told me about it, I asked an engineer who'd been down there if it was true. He gave me the same story, figures and all. The first saucer was tracked by White Sands observers with a theodolite. Then they worked out its performance with ballistics formulas."

Redell looked at me grimly.

"The thing was about fifty miles up. And it was making over fifteen thousand miles an hour!"

One of the witnesses, said Redell, was a well-known scientist from the General Mills aeronautical research laboratory in Minneapolis, which was working with the Navy. (A few days later, I verified this fact and the basic details of Redell's account. But it was not until early in January 1950 that I finally identified the officer as Commander Robert B. McLaughlin and got his dramatic story.)

"Here are two more items Miles told me," Redell went on. "This Navy expert said the saucer actually looked elliptical, or egg-shaped. And while it was being tracked it suddenly made a steep climb--so steep no human being could have lived through it."

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Ramona Hanneken
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« Reply #97 on: March 24, 2009, 01:16:10 pm »

"One thing is certain," I said. "That fifty-mile altitude knocks out the rotating disk. Up in that thin air it wouldn't have any lift."

"Right," said Redell. "And the variable jet type would require an enormous amount of fuel. Regardless, those G's mean it couldn't have had any pilot born on this earth."

According to Marvin Miles, this White Sands saucer had been over a hundred feet long. (Later, Commander

{p. 112}

McLaughlin stated that it was 105 feet.) If this were an American device, then it meant that we had already licked many of the problems on which the Earth Satellite Vehicle designers were supposed to be just starting. Their statements, then, would have to be false--part of an elaborate cover-up.

"If we had such an advanced design," said Redell, "and I just don't believe it possible--would we **** on a remote-control system? No such system is perfect. Suppose it went wrong. At that speed, over fifteen thousand miles an hour, your precious missile or strato ship could be halfway around the globe in about forty-five minutes. That is, if the fuel held out. Before you could regain control, you might lose it in the sea. Or it might come down behind the Iron Curtain. Even if it were I smashed to bits, it would tip off the Soviets. They might claim it was a guided-missile attack. Almost anything could hap pen."

"It could have a time bomb in it," I suggested. "if it got off course or out of control, it would blow itself up."

Redell emphatically shook his head. "I've heard that idea before, but it won't hold up. What if your ship's controls went haywire and the thing blew up over a crowded city? Imagine the panic, even if no actual damage was done. No, sir--nobody in his right mind is going to let a huge ship like that go barging around unpiloted. It would be criminal negligence.

"If the White Sands calculations were correct, then this particular saucer was no earth-made device. Perhaps in coming years, we could produce such a ship, with atomic power to drive it. But not now."

Redell went over several other cases.

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Ramona Hanneken
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« Reply #98 on: March 24, 2009, 01:16:21 pm »

"Take the Godman Field saucer. At one time, it was seen at places one hundred and seventy-five miles apart, as you know. Even to have been seen at all from both places, it would. have to have been huge--much larger than two hundred and fifty feet in diameter. The human eye wouldn't resolve an object that size, at such a distance and height."

It was an odd thing; I had, gone over the Mantell case

{p. 113}

a dozen times. I knew the object was huge. But I had never tried to figure out the object's exact size.

"How big do you think it was?" I asked quickly. This could be the key I had tried to find.

"I haven't worked it out," said Redell. "But I can give you a rough idea. The human eye can't resolve any object that subtends less than three minutes of arc. For instance, a plane with a hundred-foot wing span would only be a speck twenty miles away, if you saw it at all."

"But this thing was seen clearly eighty-seven miles away--or even more, if it wasn't midway between the two cities. Why, it would have to be a thousand feet in diameter."

"Even larger." Redell was silent a moment. "What was the word Mantell used--'tremendous'?" I tried to visualize the thing, but my mind balked. One thing was certain now. It was utterly impossible that any nation on earth could have built such an enormous airborne machine. just to think of the force required to hold it in the sky was enough to stagger any engineer. We were years away--perhaps centuries--from any such possibility.

As if he had read my thoughts, Redell said soberly, "There's no other possible answer. It was a huge space ship--perhaps the largest ever to come into our atmosphere."

It was clear now why such desperate efforts had been made to explain away the object Mantell had chased.

"What about that Eastern Airlines sighting?" I asked.

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Ramona Hanneken
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« Reply #99 on: March 24, 2009, 01:16:34 pm »

"Well, first," said Redell, "it wasn't any remote-control guided missile. I'll say it again; it would be sheer insanity. Suppose that thing had crashed in Macon. At that speed it could have plowed its way for blocks, right through the buildings. It could have killed hundreds of people, burned the heart out of the city.

"If it was a missile, or some hush-hush experimental job, then it was piloted. But they don't test a job like that on any commercial airways. And they don't fool around at five thousand feet where people will see the thing streaking by and call the newspapers.

"To power a hundred-foot wingless ship, especially at those speeds, would take enormous force. Not as much

{p. 114}

as a V-two rocket, but tremendous power. The fuel load would be terrific. Certainly, the pilot wouldn't be circling around Georgia and Alabama for an hour, buzzing airliners. I'll stake everything that we couldn't duplicate that space ship's performance for less than fifty million dollars. It would take something brand-new in jets."

Redell paused. He looked at me grimly. "And the way I'd have to soup it up, it would be a damned dangerous ship to fly. No pilot would deliberately fly it that low. He'd stay up where he'd have a chance to bail out."

I told him what I had heard about the blueprints the Air Force was said to have rushed.

"Of course they were worried," said Redell. "And probably they still are. But I don't think they need be; so far, there's been nothing menacing about these space ships."

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Ramona Hanneken
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« Reply #100 on: March 24, 2009, 01:16:48 pm »

When I got him back to the Gorman case, Redell drew a sketch on his pad, showing me his idea of the disk light. He estimated the transparent rim as not more than five feet in diameter.

"Possibly smaller," he said. "You recall that Gorman said the light was between six and eight inches in diameter. He also said it seemed to have depth--that was in the Air Force report."

"You think all the mechanism was hidden by the light?"

"Only possible answer," said Redell. "But just try to imagine crowding a motor, or jet controls for rim jets, along with remote controls and a television device, in that small space. Plus your fuel supply. I don't know any engineer who would even attempt it. To carry that much gear, it would take a fair-sized plane. You could make a disk large enough, but the mechanism and fuel section would be two or three feet across, at least. So Gorman's light must have been powered and controlled by some unique means. The same principle applies to all the other light reports I've heard. No shape behind them, high speed, and intelligent maneuvers. That thing was guided from some interplanetary ship, hovering at a high altitude," Redell declared. "But I haven't any idea what source of power it used."

{p. 115}

Until then, I had forgotten about Art Green's letter. I told Redell what Art had said about the Geiger counter.

"I knew they went over Gorman's fighter with a Geiger counter," Redell commented. "But they said the reaction was negative. If Green is right, it's interesting. It would mean they have built incredibly small atomic engines. But with a race so many years ahead of us, it shouldn't be surprising. Of course, they may also be using some other kind of power our scientists say is impossible."

I was about to ask him what he meant when his secretary came in.

"Mr. Carson is waiting," she told Redell. "He had a four-o'clock appointment."

As I started to leave, Redell looked at his calendar.

"I hate to break this up; it's a fascinating business What about coming in Friday? I'd like to see the rest of those case reports."

"Fine," I said. "I've got a few more questions, too."

Going out, I made a mental note of the Friday date. Then the figure clicked; it was just three months since I'd started on this assignment.

Three months ago. At that time I'd only been half sure that the saucers were real. If anyone had said I'd soon believe they were space ships, I'd have told him he was crazy.

{p. 116}

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Ramona Hanneken
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« Reply #101 on: March 24, 2009, 01:17:04 pm »

BEFORE my date with Redell, I went over all the material I had, hoping to find some clue to the space visitors' planet. It was possible, of course, that there was more than one planet involved.

Project "Saucer" had discussed the possibilities in it! report of April 27, 1949. I read over this section again:

Since flying saucers first hit the headlines almost two years ago, there has been wide speculation that the aerial phenomena might actually be some form of penetration from another planet.

Actually, astronomers are largely in agreement that only one member of the solar system beside Earth is capable of supporting life. That is Mars. Even Mars, however, appears to be relatively desolate and inhospitable, so that a Martian race would be more occupied with survival than we are on Earth.

On Mars, there exists an excessively slow loss of atmosphere, oxygen and water, against which intelligent beings, if they do exist there, may have protected themselves by scientific control of physical conditions. This might have been done, scientists speculate, by the construction of homes and cities underground where the atmospheric pressure would be greater and thus temperature extremes reduced. The other possibilities exist, of course, that evolution may have developed a being who can withstand the rigors of the Martian climate, or that the race--if it ever did exist--has perished.

In other words, the existence of intelligent life on Mars, where the rare atmosphere is nearly devoid of oxygen and water and where the nights are much colder than our Arctic winters, is not impossible but is completely unproven.

The possibility of intelligent life also existing on the planet Venus is not considered completely unreasonable

{p. 117}

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Ramona Hanneken
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« Reply #102 on: March 24, 2009, 01:17:23 pm »

by astronomers. The atmosphere of Venus apparently consists mostly of carbon dioxide with deep clouds of formaldehyde droplets, and there seems to be little or no water. Yet, scientists concede that living organisms might develop in chemical environments which are strange to us. Venus, however, has two handicaps. Her mass and gravity are nearly as large as the Earth (Mars is smaller) and her cloudy atmosphere would discourage astronomy, hence space travel.

The last argument, I thought, did not have too much weight. We were planning to escape the earth's gravity; Martians could do the same, with their planet. As for the cloudy atmosphere, they could have developed some system of radio or radar investigation of the universe. The Navy research units, I knew, were probing the far-off Crab nebula in the Milky Way with special radio devices. This same method, or something far superior, could have been developed on Venus, or other planets surrounded by constant clouds.

After the discussion of solar-system planets, the Project "Saucer" report went on to other star systems:

Outside the solar system other stars--22 in number--have satellite planets. Our sun has nine. One of these, the Earth, is ideal for existence of intelligent life. On two others there is a possibility of life.

Therefore, astronomers believe reasonable the thesis that there could be at least one ideally habitable planet for each of the 22 other eligible stars.

(After publication of our findings in True, several astronomers said that many planets may be inhabited. One of these was Dr. Carl F. von Weizacker, noted University of Chicago physicist. On January 10, 1950, Dr. von Weizacker stated: "Billions upon billions of stars found in the heavens may each have their own planets revolving about them. It is possible that these planets would have plant and animal life on them similar to the earth's.")

{p. 118}

After narrowing the eligible stars down to twenty-two the Project "Saucer" report goes on:

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Ramona Hanneken
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« Reply #103 on: March 24, 2009, 01:17:38 pm »

The theory is also employed that man represents the average in advancement and development. Therefore, one-half the other habitable planets would be behind man in development, and the other half ahead. It is also assumed that any visiting race could be expected to be far in advance of man. Thus, the chance of space travelers existing at planets attached to neighboring stars is very much greater than the chance of space-traveling Martians. The one can be viewed as almost a certainty (if you accept the thesis that the number of inhabited planets is equal to those that are suitable for life and that intelligent life is not peculiar to the Earth) ."

The most likely star was Wolf 359--eight light-years away. I thought for a minute about traveling that vast distance. It was almost appalling, considered in terms of man's life span. Of course, dwellers on other planets might live much longer.

If the speed of light was not an absolute limit, almost any space journey would then be possible. Since there would be no resistance in outer space, it would be simply a matter of using rocket power in the first stages to accelerate to the maximum speed desired. In the latter phase, the rocket's drive would have to be reversed, to decelerate for the landing.

The night before my appointment with Redell, I was checking a case report when the phone rang. It was John Steele.

"Are you still working on the saucers?" he asked. "If you are, I have a suggestion--something that might be a real lead."

"I could use a lead right now," I told him.

"I can't give you the source, but it's one I consider reliable," said Steele. "This man says the disks are British developments."

This was a new one. I hadn't considered the British. Steele talked for over half an hour, expanding the idea.

{p. 119}

The saucers, his informant said, were rotating disks with cambered surfaces--originally a Nazi device. Near the end of the war, the British had seized all the models, along with the German technicians and scientists who had worked on the project.

The first British types had been developed secretly in England, according to this account. But the first tests showed a dangerous lack of control; the disks streaked up to high altitudes, hurtling without direction. Some had been seen over the Atlantic, some in Turkey, Spain, and other parts of Europe.

The British then had shifted operations to Australia, where a guided-missile test range had been set up. (This part, I knew, could be true; there was such a range.) After improving their remote-control system, which used both radio and radar, they had built disks up to a hundred feet in diameter. These were launched out over the Pacific, the first ones straight eastward over open sea. British destroyers were stationed at 100-mile and later 500-mile intervals, to track the missiles by radar and correct their courses. At a set time, when their fuel was almost exhausted, the disks came down vertically and landed in the ocean. Since part of the device was sealed, the disks would float; then a special launching ship would hoist them abroad, refuel them, and launch them back toward a remote base in Australia, where they were landed by remote control.

Since then, Steele said, the disks' range and speed had been greatly increased. The first tests of the new disks was in the spring of 1947, his informant had told him. The British had rushed the project, because of Soviet Russia's menacing attitude. Their only defense in England, the British knew, would be some powerful guided missile that could destroy Soviet bases after the first attack.

In order to check the range and speeds accurately, it was necessary to have observers in the Western Hemisphere--the disks were now traversing the Pacific. The ideal test range, the British decided, was one extending over Canada, where the disks could be tracked and even landed,

{p. 120}

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Ramona Hanneken
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« Reply #104 on: March 24, 2009, 01:17:52 pm »

If the account was right, said Steele, a base had been set up in the desolate Hudson Bay country. Special radar-tracking stations had also been established, to guide the missiles toward Australia and vessels at sea. These stations also helped to bring in missiles from Australia.

Some of the disk missiles were supposed to have been launched from a British island in the South Pacific; others came all the way from Australia. Still others were believed to have been launched by a mother ship stationed between the Galapagos Islands and Pitcairn.

It was these new disks that had been seen in the United States, Alaska, Canada, and Latin America, Steele's informant had told him. At first, the sightings were due to imperfect controls; the disks sometimes failed to keep their altitude, partly because of conflicting radio and radar beams from the countries below. Responding to some of these mixed signals, Steele said, the disks had been known to reverse course, hover or descend over radar and radio stations, or circle around at high speeds until their own control system picked them up again.

For this reason, the British had arranged a simple detonator system, operated either by remote control or automatically under certain conditions. In this way, no disk would crash over land, with the danger of hitting a populated area. If it descended below a certain altitude, the disk would automatically speed up its rotation, then explode at a high altitude. When radar trackers saw that a disk was off course and could not be realigned, the nearest station then sent a special signal to activate the detonator system. This was always done, Steele had been told, when a disk headed toward Siberia; there had previously been a few cases when Australian-launched disks had got away from controllers and appeared over Europe.

I listened to Steele's account with mixed astonishment and suspicion. It sounded like a pipe dream; but if it was, it had been carefully thought out, especially the details that followed.

At first, Steele said, American defense officials had been completely baffled by the disk reports. Then the British, learning about the sightings, had hastily explained to top-level American officials. An agreement had been

{p. 121}

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