S2E8-Paul Kimball

May 2011, 2011

Redstar Films founder, lecturer, movie maker, writer, blogger, producer Paul Kimball joins us from Halifax Nova Scotia to talk to us about his campaign to fund his new project, 'Beyond Best Evidence:the UFO Enigma',(http://www.redstarfilmtv.com/beyondbestevidence.php) the sequel to 2007's 'Best Evidence;Top 10 UFO Sightings' (http://www.redstarfilmtv.com/bestevidence.php) as well as his other films including, 'Stanton Friedman Is Real' and 'Do You Believe in Magic'- the Majestic 12 investigations with Stanton Friedman. All this as well as his organization of 2006's New Frontiers Symposium that brought not only Mr. Friedman to Halifax, NS, but other great minds like Greg Bishop, Nick Redfern, the the late great Cryptoterrestrial hypothesist Mr. Mac Tonnies.

I also propose my own idea for a new film.  Find out what he thinks.


Plus all the latest breaking paranormal, exopolitical, and urological news from around the world.

You don't want to miss this one.

MUFON's Contact in the desert Cancelled!

I regret to inform all of you that wanted to go to the MUFON Event in Joshua that the conference has been cancelled. I contacted the Joshua Tree retreat Centre-the location of the hotel and campgrounds to lock down a campsite after postponing my tix with my Flight agent.  I wanted to make sure I had the dates right before I booked the trip and risked missing a banquet dinner with the guests or some other special event.  Good thing I did because the lady on the other end of the line told me they had cancelled.

Stunned.  and knowing Open MInds were going to be a part of the event, I contacted Maureen Elseberry to confirm. To my and many others dismay, the event was, indeed, cancelled. The reason?;There wasn't enough presage tix sold, and so the event organizers got cold feet and pulled out to avoid any potential financial losses.  Maureen and I both were quite disappointed as the event seemed very promising.  One of a kind. Reminding much of the events that took place during the time of the contact movement, but not as ridiculous.  Meditations, guest lecturers, sky watches, drum circles and CAMPING IN THE CALIFORNIA DESERT.  If this show couldn't draw a young audience I don't know what would.

The event was slated for June 3rd to 5th before it was axed.

-Justin Brown

-The Unified Field

Washington Post writer releases book about extraterrestrial life


Jason McClellan | Apr 27, 2011 | 0 comments

Book cover of 'First Contact' (credit: Simon & Schuster)

A new book about the search for extraterrestrial life was released this month by Washington Post staff writer Marc Kaufman. Kaufman explains on his website Habitable Zones, “Scientists by the thousands around the world are engaged in a broad and increasingly successful search for the origins of life on Earth and for traces of life elsewhere in our universe. My book seeks to bring to life the science and some of the scientists at the center of the effort.”

A Washington Post colleague, Joel Achenbach, recently interviewed Kaufman about his new book, First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life Beyond Earth. In the interview, Kaufman briefly discusses SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), stating that he has “never been a fan or even particularly knowledgeable person about SETI.” He explains that, after walking through a SETI telescope array, he came to the conclusion that “if we’re in fact interested in trying to learn whether technologically evolved life exists out there,” we don’t have many alternatives to SETI’s current approach. However, he still feels that the SETI approach to searching for extraterrestrial life is “mostly a crapshoot.”

SETI made headlines this week following the announcement that, due to budget cutbacks, the institute was forced to suspend operations at their Allen Telescope Array.

Kaufman’s book, First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life Beyond Earth, was published by Simon & Schuster this month, and is in stores now.

Hitler’s real UFOs


Jason McClellan | Apr 26, 2011 | 0 comments

Iron Sky movie poster (credit: Blind Spot Pictures)

The Sun published an article today about Hitler’s plan to build a fleet of UFOs during World War II. This article points to evidence that suggests an SS officer by the name of Hans Kammler achieved significant breakthroughs in anti-gravity technology towards the end of the war, which supposedly led to UFO development projects.

The Sun’s article references the German magazine P.M., which published a report last year professing to have strong evidence supporting the claim of an advanced Nazi UFO program. The magazine reportedly quoted witnesses “who saw a flying saucer marked with the German Iron Cross flying low over the Thames in 1944.”

According to the Sun, Joseph Andreas Epp, an engineer who served as a consultant to a Nazi UFO project, claimed fifteen prototypes were built. But Martin Stade, who is an author of a book on an area where UFO projects supposedly took place, claims 174 flying saucers were developed at the site.

Many UFO researchers and historians are familiar with the reports of Hitler’s UFO projects. And as mentioned above, the P.M. magazine report to which the Sun referenced in their recent article was published last year, so the information is not new, but it is a story that is currently making headlines, and will likely continue to make headlines throughout the week due to its controversial nature.

As reported last November on OpenMinds.tv, the Nazi UFOs are the subject of a movie called Iron Sky that is scheduled to be released next year.

SETI on hold


Jason McClellan | Apr 25, 2011 | 0 comments

The Allen Telescope Array (credit: SETI Institute)

The SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) has been scanning the skies for more than fifty years searching for evidence of extraterrestrial life by using radio telescopes. But funding issues have put their search on hold. According to Discovery News, budget cutbacks by two of SETI’s key donors—the State of California and the National Science Foundation—have forced the institute to suspend operations of its Allen Telescope Array in California.

Allen Telescope Array operations were suspended as of April 15, and its future is uncertain.

Interview with granddaughter of Sheriff who saw Roswell debris


Alejandro Rojas | Apr 18, 2011 | 0 comments

Christine Tulk, granddaughter of Sheriff George Wilcox.

Open Minds was recently able to get an exclusive interview with Christine Tulk, the granddaughter of Sheriff George Wilcox, who was one of the first to see the Roswell UFO crash debris in 1947. She shares her views on the events and how it affected her family.

Sheriff George Wilcox

Wilcox was the Chaves County sheriff with an office in the town of Corona near the Foster Ranch were the debris was found. Mac Brazel who worked on the ranch found the debris and brought it to Corona to show the sheriff. Wilcox then contacted the Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) who sent out intelligence officer, Major Jesse Marcel, along with Captain Sheridan Cavitt with the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC).

Christine says she never knew her grandfather because he had passed two years before she was born. She also didn’t have an interest, nor did she know much about the Roswell events. Things changed when she was able to attend an event sponsored by the Prince of Liechtenstein, Hans Adam. He had an interest in UFOs and had sponsored UFO research, including an event to gather the best Roswell witnesses. Christine’s mother and her mother’s aunt were invited to attend, and Christine wanted to go along for the ride to do some sightseeing. It was at this conference that her eyes were open to the amazing events that took place in 1947.

Hans Adam, Prince of Liechtenstein

She says it was very moving for her to meet other witnesses and hear what they had to say. She says her family were “salt of the earth people”, and it saddens her because she believes they were threatened by the government to remain silent about the Roswell events. She says, “It is sad because you take stellar individuals and you put them in a situation where they are afraid.”

Christine believes that the events also had a big impact on her grandfather. She told Open Minds, “My whole family’s belief is that this affected him and he never got over it.”

Christine has since had a UFO sighting of her own. She now lives in the Phoenix area, and her sighting was similar to the famous Phoenix lights sightings in 1997. Christine says in 2007 she saw a row of five orbs perfectly lined up. The fifth one was “bobbing” around.

After her sighting, and learning of her family’s ordeal, she is a firm believer that UFOs are out there.

The June/July 2011 issue of Open Minds magazine, which will be out soon, features the Roswell events, including articles from the original researchers and startling witness testimony of a possible ET survivor.

Watch the video of the interview below.

Have aliens hijacked Voyager 2 spacecraft


From: The Daily Telegraph

May 12, 2010 2:35PM

04/12/2007 NEWS: 04/12/2007 NEWS: Voyager. Voyager mission space series. Pic. Supplied Pic. Supplied Source: AP

IT left Earth 33 years ago, now it's claimed the Voyager 2 spacecraft may have been hijacked by aliens after sending back data messages NASA scientists can't decode.

NASA installed a 12-inch disk containing music and greetings in 55 languages in case intelligent extraterrestrial life ever found it.

President invited to meet aliens on earth

But now the spacecraft is sending back what sounds like an answer: Signals in an unknown data format!

The best scientific minds have so far not been able to decipher the strange information – is it a secret message?

Alien expert Hartwig Hausdorf said:"It seems almost as if someone had reprogrammed or hijacked the probe – thus perhaps we do not yet know the whole truth"  Read more in Bild

Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.

Related Coverage

  1. Is ET dead? The Daily Telegraph, 19 Apr 2011

  2. Mysterious message from planet Mercury The Daily Telegraph, 30 Mar 2011

  3. NASA spacecraft hooks into Mercury orbit The Daily Telegraph, 18 Mar 2011

  4. Aussie talking cat 'abducted by aliens' The Daily Telegraph, 4 Mar 2011

  5. NASA declares satellite contingency The Daily Telegraph, 4 Mar 2011

End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.

Engineers are working to solve the data transmissions from the Voyager 2 spacecraft near the edge of the solar system, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said today.

The spacecraft late last month began sending science data 8.6 billion miles to Earth in a changed format that mission managers could not decode.

Engineers have since instructed Voyager 2 to only transmit data on its own health and status while they work on the problem.

Launched in 1977, Voyager 2 and its twin, Voyager 1, explored the giant planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune and kept on going. Nearly 33 years later, they are the most distant human-made objects.

Voyager 1 is 10.5 billion miles from Earth and in about five years is expected to pass through the heliosphere, a bubble the sun creates around the solar system, and enter interstellar space.

Voyager 2 will follow after that.

Mysterious message from planet Mercury


Sneak peek: Mercury up close. Source: The Daily Telegraph

IT is a historic holiday snap from deep space. For the first time a photo of the surface of Mercury has been snapped by a visiting spacecraft orbiting the planet and beamed back to Earth.

From early yesterday the NASA spacecraft Messenger snapped 363 images over six hours, and more were expected to be released in conjunction with a press conference consisting of space experts to discuss the findings.

"This image is the first ever obtained from a spacecraft in orbit about the solar system's innermost planet," a NASA spokesman said.

The upper part of the image shows an unusual, dark-rayed crater called Debussy, while the lower part reveals a portion of Mercury near its south pole that has never before been witnessed by spacecraft, NASA said.

NASA's Messenger craft -- which stands for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging -- became the first vehicle to orbit Mercury on March 17.

NSA practices deciphering ET signals


Alejandro Rojas | Apr 27, 2011 | 0 comments

On April 21, 2011 the National Security Agency posted documents from their Technical Journal which had some interesting articles about extraterrestrials. Some have assumed that these documents were pertaining to messages received from extraterrestrials, an easy mistake to make with article titles such as “Key to the Extraterrestrial Messages.” These documents are actually related to exercises for practicing deciphering coded messages that extraterrestrials may send us in the future. However, there is still a story here, because these exercises were started by a prominent NSA cryptologist who believed more attention needed to be given to the investigation of UFOs and the possibility that we may be contacted soon.

Lambros Callimahos (image credit: NSA)

The cryptologist was Lambros D. Callimahos, his biography can be read in the NSA’s Hall of Honor, which he was inducted to in 2003. They state that Callimahos, “played a crucial role in shaping cryptologic development at NSA.” He had developed a special class, designated CA-400, for elite cryptanalysts, if they passed they would become members of what was labeled the Dundee Society. The group’s real purpose was so secret that it was named after an empty Dundee marmalade jar he kept his pens in on his desk.

The recent NSA Technical Journal articles were actually obtained by UFO researchers in 2004, through freedom of information act requests. I first became aware of them watching a lecture by John Schuessler, one of the original recipients. In the winter of 1966 issue of the journal, Callimahos wrote an article titled, “Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence.” This was the dawn of what would later become the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), and Callimahos discussed the work of Dr. Frank Drake, who had shown that the possibility of life in space was actually very large. Callimahos went so far as to state, “Unless we’re terribly conceited (a very unscientific demeanor), we must assume that the ‘others’ are far more advanced than we are.”

Frank Drake

As a cryptologist, his interest was in the NSA’s ability to decipher any signals we might receive, and in his article he stated that, “once we receive a recognizable signal, we have a good chance of understanding the message.” He then goes into technical cryptological terms and discusses the different types of technology that they may be using to send signals, many of which we have not mastered. In the last portion of the article he gives an example, a hypothetical extraterrestrial message based on the raster principle created by Bernard M. Oliver. He discusses how to decipher the example given by Oliver, and cites other similar exercises on deciphering hypothetical extraterrestrial messages.

In the next NSA Technical Journal, spring 1966, a follow up article was written by Dr. Howard H. Campaigne, titled, “Extraterrestrial Intelligence”. It begins:

“In the most recent issue of the NSA Technical Journal- Vol. XI, No. 1 Mr.Lambros D. Callimahos discussed certain aspects of extraterrestrial intelligence and included several messages to test the reader’s ingenuity. In the following pages, Dr. H. H. Campaigne offers additional communications from outer space.”

The “messages”, we now know, were the hypothetical extraterrestrial messages. The article then goes on to describe the extraterrestrial message that, in the context of the Callimahos article, we know to be further hypothetical messages to test “the reader’s ingenuity.” Unfortunately, they do not appear to be referring to real messages received by extraterrestrials.

National Security Agency headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland, (image credit: NSA)

To add further confusion, in the winter of 1969 NSA Technical Journal, an article titled, “Key to Extraterrestrial Messages” was published. This referred to the test message that Dr. Campaigne had proposed in his article, and was just that, a key to the exercise.

Although these messages do not appear to be real extraterrestrial messages, Callimahos did have a strong interest in the subject. A declassified secret document can be found on the NSA website titled, UFO Hypothesis and Survival Questions. This was a paper written by Callimahos in which he argues that the UFO phenomenon and possible extraterrestrial interaction should be taken much more seriously. He reviews how there are credible witnesses whose experiences cannot be written off.

UFO Hypothesis document.

Callimahos states:

Up until this time, the leisurely scientific approach has too often taken precedence in dealing with UFO questions. If you were walking along a forest path and someone yells, “rattler” your reaction would be immediate and defensive. You would not take the time to speculate before you act. You would have to treat the alarm as if it were a real and immediate threat to your survival. Investigation would become an intensive emergency action to isolate the threat and to determine its precise nature – It would be geared to developing adequate defensive measures in a minimum amount of time.

While these documents may not be the smoking gun to show the NSA had extraterrestrial secrets that they are now revealing, it does demonstrate the excitement among their cryptologists at the genesis of the effort to listen to extraterrestrial signals. It is an interesting behind the scenes view to the momentum that grew into the SETI project, especially at a time when funding hampers SETI’s ability to listen in on our comic neighbors.

It's that time again: The first crop circle of the season appears in historic Wiltshire field


By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 12:50 PM on 3rd May 2011

The unseasonably warm spring weather has not only brought forward many summer flowers - it has sparked the usual round of crop circles.

An elaborate 100ft circle which appeared overnight has caused a stir after it was found in a field of oil seed rape near Silbury Hill, Wiltshire.

The extraordinary floral creation is comprised of six interlocking 'petal' like crescents.

The ancient site, the tallest prehistoric man-made mound in Europe, is considered a hot spot for the bizarre phenomena and this new design proves the crop circle season is now under way.

A field of bright yellow oil seed rape has been transformed by a huge, floral crop circle

Expert Lucy Pringle, widely known as an international authority on crop circles, believes this is the first 'proper' design of the year.

She added: 'The start of the season is always exciting, I never know what's going to happen for the rest of the year.

'The latest circle is a floral pattern, I've never seen this before. There's never been one identical to another.'

The circle has appeared in a field by the famous Silbury Hill, near Marlborough

Miss Pringle, from Petersfield, Hants, is a founder member of the Centre for Crop Circle Studies.

She has conducted years of research in to the physiological and psychological effects reported by people after visiting the formations.

She says her findings suggest there are measured changes in human hormones and brain activity following contact with the circles.

The new 'floral' design is the latest in a long line of patterns to be spotted in the UK over the years.

Previous formations have included stars, triangles, birds, complicated three dimensional geometric shapes and even intricate patterns with hidden mathematical codes.

One, discovered in 2008 near Wroughton in Wiltshire, was thought to represent the first ten digits of pi, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.

UFO sighting in Gold Coast captured on video


From ANI

Washington, May 5: A UFO that was sighted in the Gold Coast of Australia has been captured on a 10-minute video.

Brisbane man Sean Coulter was winding down from a night of partying at Tallai with 10 mates on February 6 when he spotted the strange light.

The friends had hired an isolated property for a 21st birthday party and, after their big night, thought they were seeing things.

After watching the strange light moving about for 15 minutes, they decided to film it, capturing 10 minutes of footage.

"It was ... in front of the clouds and there wasn't a star to be seen, just this bright white light," the Courier Mail quoted Coulter as saying.

"It was moving left to right and was only a couple of hundred metres away. The whole thing was really eerie. It was like it was watching us," he said.

Coulter said the light appeared to slowly move away from them and draw clouds towards it, followed by a flash electrical storm, and when the clouds cleared, he said the object was gone.

"I've never seen anything like it before. It was out of this world. Some of my mates that saw it are the biggest sceptics you've ever met but after seeing it they believe in UFOs," he explained.

"I work as a traffic controller so I spend a lot of time outside at night and see lots of things in the sky. This was like nothing else," he added.

UFO Research Queensland is examining Coulter's footage.

A spokesman from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority said he was not aware of recent UFO reports on the Coast.

Copyright Asian News International/DailyIndia.com

UFO battles captured on video? Not likely, expert says

Night-vision view shows weird moving objects ... which may be birds or bats


By Benjamin Radford Contributor


updated 5/4/2011 11:35:27 PM ET 2011-05-05T03:35:27

A San Diego-based UFO researcher named Ed Grimsley captured what one writer called "multiple unidentified flying objects" that were "saucer-shaped [and] appeared to hover in the sky and change direction before moving out of sight." The video was taken April 30 with Grimsley's organization, Skywatch.

To the trained eye, however, this video appears to show something much more banal than a UFO battle.

According to his website, Grimsley "has been seeing battles between unknown aircraft in the night skies since he was a teenager," including two different types of spacecraft "shooting it out using what appear to be laser weapons." Furthermore, "he has seen hundreds of these objects recently and using his five military-grade night vision binoculars he has invited many people to come to his areas and view the objects in earth space shooting it out."

Grimsley believes that "alien or human-like beings may very well be getting ready to take control or evict us from planet Earth," and has made it his mission to "show people what is happening in earth space all the time. I want people to start looking through night vision binoculars and see the battles taking place between aircraft including saucer-shaped objects." [Could Extraterrestrials Really Invade Earth?]

So what about the strange UFO lights that Grimsley and his followers are seeing? Contrary to the account above, the UFOs in the video do not appear "saucer-shaped" at all, but rather look like simple points of light in the night sky.

Robert Sheaffer, a UFO investigator with the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, told Life's Little Mysteries that Grimsley's videos show nothing extraordinary. In fact, the objects are most likely artifacts of the very tool that Grimsley uses to spot UFOs.

"Night-vision optics trade low resolution for high sensitivity, and bright objects spill out into a circle of light that in no way reflects their actual angular size. So what looks like a large object may well just be a point of light," Sheaffer said. "Many of the objects they're seeing are birds or bats, or faint satellites in earth orbit. There's nothing in the sky that a night vision device can see that a person can't see with 10 x 50 binoculars — and with much better detail. So their belief that they're seeing entire fleets of UFOs up in the sky simply means that they don't understand how these devices work, and what they're seeing."

Indeed, the low video quality virtually guarantees that a wide variety of normal things (including bugs, planes, helicopters, meteors and satellites) will appear as UFOs; some of the lights seen in the video are obviously dust and debris on the camera lens. If Grimsley is correct, and spaceships are really engaging in battles with lasers in the night sky above San Diego, it's odd that no astronomers or pilots have mentioned it.

Coincidentally, Grimsley makes money selling night vision goggles through which UFO buffs can view these exciting Star Wars-type space battles. He offers models ranging from $1,800 to $3,200; if this is a bit too pricey for you, he offers a DVD of the UFOs for $24.95 including shipping. You can join his Skywatch UFO vigils for $40 per person. Grimsley is raising money for his other pursuits, including developing a revolutionary vehicle engine that he claims will result in cars getting 100 miles per gallon ... of water.

Benjamin Radford is deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine and author of "Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries." His website is www.RadfordBooks.com.

How You Can Help Find Alien Life


by Ben Parr 6


The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has launched a contest with Gamify to get the general public involved in the search for alien signals.

SETI, best known for the giant radio dishes and telescopes that provide it interstellar data that could be from an extraterrestrial source, needs help analyzing the signal data coming from the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) and other sources. The ATA is in hibernation, but it’s expected to be operational again sometime this summer, and it has already collected a massive amount of data that needs to be analyzed.

The competition enlists the public’s help in searching through the signal data. SETI wants to make sure that it isn’t missing important radio signals and that radio frequency interference (RFI) isn’t fooling its signal analysis algorithms. To do that, it needs eyeballs to examine the signal data, looking for new kinds of signals that SETI’s software (SETIQuest Explorer) hasn’t detected yet. This will help SETI train its software to find these types of signals for potential analysis.

Sifting through waterfall plots (the method SETI’s software uses to visually represent signal data for humans) is dull and tedious work on its own. So to get people involved, SETI has enlisted the help of Gamify, adding game play mechanics to make searching for hidden signals more fun and engaging.

“We have a big challenge that involves a large amount of data,” SETI senior software engineer Jon Richards told Mashable. “To properly address our challenge we need to enlist the eyeballs and brains of a lot of people. Gamification will be necessary to deliver the data in a way that will engage the gaming community with enough entertainment value to get people hooked.”

The contest is simple. SETI and Gamify are asking users to answer one question: “How would you gamify SETI?” Each person is allowed to answer the question up to three times on Gamify’s website. The community will then vote up the answers they like best, though SETI will get the final call on who is the ultimate winner of the contest.

The winner and 10 runners-up will get a prize package (including a SETI-branded Astro A30 Audio System for the winner). And of course the winner also could earn the potential legacy of being part of the solution that eventually found alien life.

Searching for extraterrestrial signals has been romanticized by books and films like Contact, but in reality, a small group of scientists can’t possibly go through all the data. That’s why SETI is hoping game mechanics (like the ones you see in SCVNGR or Foursquare) will get more people involved.

“We’re huge fans of SETI and are super psyched to be working with them on solving such an epic problem,” Gamify CEO Nathan Lands told Mashable. “This is a great experiment for us, because we believe if you can gamify the search for ET, you can gamify almost anything.”

What would you do to make searching for alien signals more interesting, engaging and fun? Let us know in the comments.

Lead image courtesy of Flickr, C G-K

Six frontiers for alien life

With so many stars in the universe, science suggests we may not be alone


In "The Day the Earth Stood Still," a remake of the 1951 science-fiction classic, an alien named Klaatu (played by Keanu Reeves, right) visits Earth to save us humans from ourselves. The story is a work of science fiction, with the emphasis on fiction, says Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute and a technical adviser on the film. For example, to be able to detect a dangerous buildup of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere and come save us from global warming, an alien that could travel at light speed would have to reside no more than about 50 light-years away. "I doubt that there are any aliens that close," Shostak says. And even if there are, "they might not care about our problems."

Scientific accuracy aside, Shostak says the film could hook a new generation on space science, just as the original film helped direct his career, which is dedicated to the search for E.T. As kids stumble out of the theater, they might ask, do aliens exist?

1-With so many stars, alien life is probable


Shostak notes that there is no direct proof for any life beyond Earth, but the universe is home to a lot of stars. And as research over the past decade has shown, perhaps at least 50 percent of those stars harbor planets. Shostak estimates there are 1 trillion planets in the Milky Way alone. "Surely some of them have undergone what Earth has undergone and developed life, and eventually what we call sentient life," he says. The argument, he notes, is simply one of probability. "If we are the only intelligent beings in the galaxy, or for that matter in the universe, then we are truly a miracle," he says.

This image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows a cluster of young stars in the Milky Way.

2-Water worlds abound in our solar system

NASA/jpl/space Science Institute

Water is a key ingredient for life as we know it. And liquid water, it turns out, is fairly common in our local solar system. For example, evidence is mounting that liquid water may flow underneath the surface of Mars. Europa, a moon of Jupiter, appears to have a liquid ocean. So too might the Jovian moons Callisto and Ganymede. Saturn's moons Titan and Enceladus, shown here, may be watery. Even Venus might have a bit of liquid water in its atmosphere. "There you already have seven other worlds that might have liquid water, just in our backyard. So that's kind of encouraging news," Shostak says.

3-Life evolved 'quickly' on Earth

Abigail Allwood

Scientists estimate that planet Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. The earliest evidence for life comes from 3.4 billion-year-old mats of bacteria called stromatolites in Australia. Since even bacteria are biologically complex, scientists think they arose from life forms that got a foothold on Earth even earlier. "That suggests it wasn't terribly improbable, the evolution of life, because it happened very quickly," Shostak says. The caveat, of course, is that Earth could have won the evolutionary equivalent of the lottery, and no place else is quite so lucky.

4-Life thrives in extreme environments

G. Wanger / JCVI / G. Southam /

Almost everywhere scientists go on Earth, they find life: the cold, dark depths of the oceans; snuggled up to piping-hot hydrothermal vents; buried under the Antarctic ice; and in South America's parched Atacama Desert. "Life can adapt to really tough conditions and, of course, most of the universe is going to be filled with habitats that are tough," Shostak says. For example, Mars is a harsh environment, but some of the microbes found on Earth, including the one shown here found deep in a mine, could survive beneath the surface of the Red Planet, he notes. These findings of so-called extremophiles have allowed scientists to scale back their list of requirements for extraterrestrial life. "We just say it has to have some liquid water, and maybe that's it," Shostak says.

5-E.T. might be calling from afar

Courtesy of Jerry Ehman / Bigear

Shostak and his colleagues at the SETI Institute frequently harness some of the world's largest radio telescopes to home in on distant stars for a telltale signal of alien communications. Although their searches have raised a few alarms, the signals have been dismissed as human-caused interference, such as noise from a passing satellite. Contact remains elusive. Undaunted, the scientists keep searching. Meanwhile, a signal detected on Aug. 15, 1977, during a search with Ohio State University's Big Ear Observatory, continues to pique interest because it has never been explained. "It was impressive enough to encourage the astronomer who found it to write 'Wow!' on the printout," says Shostak. Follow-up experiments to detect it again, however, have failed. "You can say it was E.T. and then he went off the air. You may never know," Shostak says. "But it is not science to say it was E.T."

6-Some see evidence that 'aliens' have visited

Justin Norton  /  AP

Somewhere around half the people in the U.S. believe that aliens have already visited us. To back their claims, witnesses have presented snapshots of flying saucers and debris from crash landings. None of the evidence, however, convinces Shostak. Nor does he buy into theories that the world's governments are coordinated and efficient enough to collectively keep what would be the world's biggest secret. "That's hard for me to believe," he says. Such doubt does little to stop the tide of tourists coming to places such as Roswell, N.M., the site of a purported UFO crash more than 60 years ago. This fake alien at a museum is a commonly photographed attraction.

Virgin space rocketship trials 'feather' re-entry system

Plummets toward Mojave with tail pointing straight up


By Lewis Page

Posted in Space, 5th May 2011 14:15 GMT

The SpaceShipTwo suborbital rocketplane, commissioned by beardy biz-lord Richard Branson in order to offer zero-G exoatmospheric joyrides to wealthy customers, has flight-tested its unique "feathering" re-entry mode.

Engage shuttlecock mode, Mr Sulu

Virgin Galactic, Branson's nascent ballistic thrilljaunt venture, says that the test flight took place yesterday from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The SS2 rocket craft, dubbed VSS (Virgin Space Ship) Enterprise, was carried aloft by its jet-powered carrier aeroplane, VMS (Virgin Mother Ship) Eve.

On reaching an altitude of 51,500 feet, the rocketplane dropped away from the mothership and "feathered" its twin tails upward by 65 degrees. This is the configuration the VSSs are designed to use when re-entering the atmosphere at much greater heights in future.

Feathering is intended to offer a completely stable hands-off descent, requiring no fly-by-wire systems: the high drag generated by this "shuttlecock"-like flight regime combined with the craft's low weight is expected to mean only minimal heat generation during re-entry and thus allows the craft to dispense with thermal shielding or tiles. In operational service the ships will cease feathering and restore their tails to the normal horizontal position while still above 70,000 feet before gliding down to a runway landing.

In yesterday's test, however, the VSS plunged rapidly and "almost vertically" through nearly 20,000 feet in just over a minute before un-feathering at 33,500 feet. Test pilots Pete Siebold and Clint Nichols brought their ship in to a "smooth" landing at Mojave 11 minutes and 5 seconds after release from the mothership almost 10 miles up.

"The spaceship is a joy to fly and the feathered descent portion added a new, unusual but wonderful dynamic to the ride," said Siebold after the flight.

The SpaceShipTwos and their jet mothercraft are being built for Virgin by the famous company Scaled Composites, which made the Ansari X-Prize winning SpaceShipOne of 2004 and which has worked on various US military projects both known and – it's thought – unknown. The setup of Virgin Galactic was announced shortly after 2004's X-Prize triumph.

At the time Virgin expected to have its suborbital thrillride service running by 2007. Now four years past that deadline, the new suborbital birds have yet to fire up their tyre rubber and laughing-gas fuelled rockets: all flight tests so far have been unpowered glides.

The VSSs, once they go into service, will be spaceships of a sort in that they will briefly soar above the atmosphere: however some might quibble with the billing as they will be unable to actually deliver anything or anyone to any place off Earth. They cannot achieve orbit.

On the other hand, the project might be a stepping-stone to greater things, and in the meantime a $200,000 Virgin Galactic ticket is a hell of a lot cheaper than a proper space-tourist seat on a real orbital rocket (generally well north of $20m, if one is even available). ®

Multimillionaire's private space ship 'can land on Mars'

Elon Musk's amazing claim for 'Dragon' capsule


By Lewis Page

Posted in Space, 21st April 2011 11:59 GMT

Famous upstart startup rocket company SpaceX, bankrolled and helmed by renowned internet nerdwealth hecamillionaire Elon Musk, has once again sent its goalposts racing ahead of its rapidly-advancing corporate reality.

A proper Dragon can breathe fire as well as fly

The plucky challenger has stated that its "Dragon" capsule is not merely capable of delivering supplies to the International Space Station: it is - potentially - also capable of carrying astronauts to the space station and back down to Earth again.

In a statement released yesterday, Musk and SpaceX also make the bold claim that the Dragon, once fitted with modifications that the company is now developing under NASA contract, would also be able to land "almost anywhere on Earth or another planet with pinpoint accuracy, overcoming the limitation of a winged architecture that works only in Earth’s atmosphere" (our emphasis).

The current version of Dragon, which has successfully flown to orbit and back once in a test flight launched by a SpaceX-made Falcon 9 rocket, is intended for unmanned supply flights to the ISS in the same manner as Russian Progress and European Space Agency ATV ships. Achievement of this capability by a company like SpaceX, which is not yet nine years old and which only recently passed the 1,000-employee mark, is quite remarkable enough: this puts SpaceX on its own at roughly the same level of space punch as the 19 allied nations of the ESA.

Not content with that, SpaceX has always said that Falcon 9-launched Dragon is intended to become a manned craft. The firm intends to win NASA business transporting astronauts to and from the space station in the imminent post-Shuttle era, when the only vessels able to move crews to and from the ISS will be Russian Soyuz ships.

There are other contenders for this work, of course. The Orion ship from NASA's now largely-cancelled post-Shuttle "Constellation" plan is still being built, though at the moment there are no firm plans for a man-rated rocket to lift it into space.

There are other "commercial crew" ISS-ferry contenders besides SpaceX, though these generally plan to launch their capsules or spaceplanes atop boosters from the established US rocket industry rather than building their own. (Boeing is the exception with its CST-100 capsule, as Boeing is also part of the established rocket base - and it has said that CST-100 could go up on a Falcon 9 if NASA chooses.)

Under a $75m NASA deal announced this week, SpaceX will fit Dragon with the only thing it lacks to make it safe to carry people - a so-called "launch abort" system. Launch abort is to manned rockets what ejector seats are to jet fighters; a way of firing the crew safely away from the craft in the event of a disaster and bringing them down to a safe landing. Rocket stacks, being basically huge lightweight towers full of explosives, are particularly dangerous during launch and so an escape system for astronauts is especially desirable during this stage of flight.

Shocking alien video appears online


Wed May 04 2011 16:20

A stunning new video has appeared on YouTube claiming to be leaked footage of an alien being interrogated.

The black and white, grainy video shows a mysterious extraterrestrial figure on film apparently recorded between 1942 - 1969.

Inevitably the footage has gone viral with internet users asking the key question, is it real or fake?

Nick Pope, who used to investigate UFOs for the Ministry of Defence, says it is one of the best hoaxes he has seen.

"Looking at the skills of the filmmaker it's a nice piece of work," he said.

"The black and white imagery is a nice touch as it plays into that whole idea that it might be something that has been in the government vaults for a while. It might even relate to Roswell, the holy grail of ufology."

Ultimately, everyone will have their own opinion. So what do you think? Does this prove that aliens have landed on earth?

Chepstow crop circle astonishes drivers


10:24am Wednesday 27th April 2011

STRIKING: The crop circle with the old Severn Bridge in the background. Pic by Wiltshire Crop Circle Study Group

THIS elaborate crop circle near Chepstow may be amazing drivers, but a farmer says it has left him out of pocket.

The 220 feet diameter circle was spotted by lorry drivers coming across the old Severn Bridge on Friday and has been created in a field of oil seed rape on the Welsh side of the river near the New House industrial estate.

Who created it is currently a mystery.

The discovery was reported to the Devizes-based Wiltshire Crop Circle Study Group (WCCSG), set up in 1995 to look into such phenomena.

Its photographer, Olivier Morel took to the skies in a light aircraft on Saturday, taking these photographs of the circle, for it to be studied.

He says it is only the second crop circle ever to be reported in Wales- with the other appearing two miles north, near Woolaston Grange, last October.

He said: "The first ever crop circle reported in Wales was the last of the season last year in a field of wheat. And now, this one two miles away, is the first of the season this year."

But farmer Paul Rymer said the damage would cost him around £600 in lost sales of the crop.

Mr Rymer, 46, who has farmed on the land for the past 12 years said the flattened crops would die and weeds would grow contaminating the damaged area.

He said: "I am not too impressed, I am annoyed about it. They don't know how much of a problem they have caused."

Mr Rymer said he had now installed surveillance cameras on the land in a bid to catch any would-be vandals.

He added: "We do not want them starting it anywhere else."

Pic by Wiltshire Crop Circle Study Group

Is it pranksters, wind or little green men?

TWENTY-six countries reported 10,000 crop circles in the last third of the 20th century, with a large number reported in southern England.

Despite rumours of alien landings, in 1991 self-professed pranksters Doug Bower and Dave Chorley told reporters they had started the phenomenon in 1978 by making circles on crops with the use of simple tools like boards and string.

Some people have suggested that crop circles are the result of extraordinary meteorological phenomena like cyclonic wind patterns, while others are paid for by companies who use them as advertising.

WCCSG says it gets reports of around 50 crop circles each year, mainly in Wiltshire, but also in Dorset and Warwickshire.

The crop circle in Monmouthshire was described by Mr Morel as "fairly small", with reported crop circles as big as 600 feet wide.





Nancy Talbott

BLT Research Team Inc.


August 2, 2010 near Hoeven, Holland. Three burned seed-heads

& one 45 angle "cut" stalk (red arrow) also blackened.

Photo: Roy Boschman

We have heard many reports over the years about possibly "burned" plants in crop formations. However, in every case where these plants have been sent to BLT for examination our consulting analytical chemist has shown (through FT-IR and EDS) that the blackening was actually caused by Ustilago, an opportunistic fungus which feeds on the internal plant stem moisture which is exposed to air when the stems are crushed or broken (http://www.bltresearch.com/labreports/mission1.php).

Blackening caused by Ustilago in maize plants in a crop circle in Mission,

British Columbia in 2002. Photo: Laurel Konrad.

But in 2010 seedheads from a Dutch formation which occurred in the early morning hours of August 2nd in a field in-between Hoeven and Oudenbosch have provided scientific proof of actual burning. At the end-point of a "half-ring" or "arc" component of one section of this formation, in the standing plants right at the edge of this area, there were three partially blackened seedheads and an additional plant stem with no seedhead but with a 45 angle cut which was also blackened.

The laboratory report clearly shows that -- in this case -- the blackening is carbon-based and positively due to burning, not to the fungus Ustilago.

Red arrow points to location of 3 burned seedheads & blackened

cut stalk. Photo: Roy Boschman

At around 2:00 am on the morning of August 2, 2010 Robbert van den Broeke became aware of the very particular sensation he regularly experiences when a new crop circle is forming somewhere in his general vicinity. His intuition indicated a specific field some distance away, near the village of Oudenbosch, as the most likely location of the new circle, so he called his mother's friend Ellen Gomis and asked if she could drive him to this field.

I have tried many times to understand better what this "special feeling" is that Robbert experiences when new circles are occurring and I asked him, again, if he could describe it in any greater detail to me. Robbert replied that when circles are forming he feels the presence of a "big soul group"; he also said that, in this case, as he and Ellen reached the field the air felt "very busy" and "full of energy" and, as Ellen was parking the car, he saw (as he often has in the past) a flash of light directly over the field in which he and Ellen then immediately found the new crop circle.

As is often the case Robbert felt drawn to go into the formation immediately and -- in this instance -- he then experienced a very strong "rotating" energy "on his heart" which produced a feeling of such peace that he could only describe it as similar to the feeling of "coming home."

This formation was interesting for a number of reasons. First, it was in two sections, with a tramline running between the two parts. Second, there was a considerable amount of randomly-downed crop in the same field, a situation which BLT has observed to be present in conjunction with many circles which tested as genuine in the past (with the plants in the randomly-downed areas often showing greater abnormalities than those found in the actual "geometrically" flattened areas).

Large arrows point to 2 sections of formation; smaller arrows point to strips of

randomly-downed crop nearby, which often occurs with genuine circles.

Photo: Roy Boschman

Lay detail in one of the small circles.

Photo: Peter Vanlaerhoven

A third interesting feature of this 2010 Dutch event is the presence of a decidedly oval circle in one section of the formation. This oval or elliptical shape has been seen in a few of the previous circles which have appeared in Robbert's vicinity but is rarely seen in crop circles elsewhere in the world.

Second half of 8/2/10 crop formation, this part made up of a

distinct ellipse and a smaller circle.

Photo: Roy Boschman

Oval or elliptical component, closer. As can barely be seen, only a few standing

plants separate the oval from the small circle.

Photo: Roy Boschman

Finally it is curious that the burned seedheads were not all affected to precisely the same degree. The seedhead submitted for analysis shows what appear to be totally normal seed pods just underneath the burned top. One of the close-up photos taken in the field, however, clearly shows dehydration of several seed-pods directly beneath the charred seed-pods near the tip of that seedhead.

The burned seedhead submitted for analysis, showing no

dehydration of seed-pods beneath charred tip.

Photo: P. Budinger

Another of the burned seedheads showing marked dehydration

of seed pods beneath the burned areas.

Photo: Roy Boschman

We did not receive the "cut" and blackened plant stem photographed at the same location and, so, cannot determine with 100% certainty whether it's darkened end is due to burning or Ustilago. But given that the seedhead we did receive is now proven to have been burned, and the fact that the "cut" plant stem was not only observed in the same area but on the first day of the formation's existence, it's blackening is most likely due to burning also. [Blackening caused by Ustilago would take many days before being visible.]


Alien Planet Nearly Dense as Lead


SPACE.com Staff

Date: 02 May 2011 Time: 02:33 PM ET

A simulation of the silhouette of planet 55 Cancri e transiting its parent star, compared to the Earth and Jupiter transiting our sun, as seen from outside the solar system. The star 55 Cancri A is nearly a twin of the sun.

CREDIT: Jason Rowe, NASA Ames and SETI Institute and Prof. Jaymie Matthews, UBC

View full size image

Astronomers have pinned down some details of an exotic nearby alien planet that's almost as dense as lead.

The exoplanet, called 55 Cancri e, is 60 percent larger in diameter than Earth but eight times as massive, researchers revealed Friday (April 29). That makes the alien world the densest solid planet known -- twice as dense as Earth. [Gallery: The Strangest Alien Planets]

Astronomers previously thought 55 Cancri e took about 2.8 days to orbit its parent star. But the new study reveals that the exoplanet is so close to its host star that it completes a stellar lap in less than 18 hours.

"You could set dates on this world by your wristwatch, not a calendar," study co-author Jaymie Matthews, of the University of British Columbia, said in a statement.

Updating views of 55 Cancri e

The super-dense alien world is part of a multiplanet solar system about 40 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Cancer (The Crab). Its sunlike parent star, 55 Cancri, is bright enough to be seen from Earth by the unaided eye, researchers said.

This wide-angle photograph of the night sky shows the location of 55 Cancri, a star where astronomers have found five planets, including a hot, dense super-Earth.

CREDIT: Till Credner, AlltheSky.com

View full size image

Since 1997, astronomers have discovered five planets circling 55 Cancri (including 55 Canrci e in 2004). All five alien worlds were detected using the so-called radial velocity -- or Doppler -- method, which looks for tiny wobbles in a star's movement caused by the gravitational tugs of orbiting planets. [A Field Guide to Alien Planets]

Initially, astronomers thought 55 Cancri e had an orbital period of about 2.8 days. But last year, two researchers -- Harvard grad student Rebekah Dawson and Daniel Fabrycky of the University of California, Santa Cruz -- re-analyzed the data. They suggested that the alien planet might actually zip around its host star much faster than that.

So Dawson and Fabrycky joined up with a few others to observe 55 Cancri e more closely. The team trained Canada’s MOST (Microvariability & Oscillations of STars) space telescope on the planet's star, then watched for the tiny brightness dips caused when 55 Cancri e passed in front of -- or transited -- it from the telescope's perspective.

This is the same technique used by NASA's prolific Kepler space observatory, which has found 1,235 alien planet candidates since its March 2009 launch.

The team found that these transits occur like clockwork every 17 hours and 41 minutes, just as Dawson and Fabrycky had predicted. The starlight is dimmed by only 0.02 percent during each transit, telling the astronomers that the planet’s diameter is about 13,049 miles (21,000 kilometers) -- only 60 percent or so larger than Earth.

Using this information, the researchers were able to calculate 55 Cancri e's density.

“It’s wonderful to be able to point to a naked-eye star and know the mass and radius of one of its planets, especially a distinctive one like this,” said study lead author Josh Winn of MIT.

The research was released online Friday at the website arXiv.org, and it has been submitted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

A scorching-hot world

Because 55 Cancri e is so close to its parent star, it wouldn't be a very pleasant place to live. Temperatures on its surface could be as high as 4,892 degrees Fahrenheit (2,700 degrees Celsius), researchers said. [Top 10 Extreme Planet Facts]

"Because of the infernal heat, it’s unlikely that 55 Cancri e has an atmosphere," Winn said. "So this is not the type of place where exobiologists would look for life."

If you could somehow survive the heat, however, the view from the planet's surface would be exotic and spectacular.

“On this world -- the densest solid planet found anywhere so far, in the solar system or beyond -- you would weigh three times heavier than you do on Earth," Matthews said. "By day, the sun would look 60 times bigger and shine 3,600 times brighter in the sky."

But the appeal of 55 Cancri e is not limited to such gee-whiz factoids. Because it's so close to Earth, the planet and its solar system should inspire all sorts of future work, researchers said.

"The brightness of the host star makes many types of sensitive measurements possible, so 55 Cancri e is the perfect laboratory to test theories of planet formation, evolution and survival," Winn said.

Follow SPACE.com for the latest in space science and exploration news on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

Crop Circle House: Australia Earth Home Designed By Jolson Architecture (PHOTOS)

Posted: 05- 2-11 12:43 PM

While it may look like the work of an extraterrestrial, this swirling green home was actually designed by a mere earthling. And if you need more evidence of its origin, the crop circle-esque home is actually named the Earth House. Designed by Jolson Architecture, the eye-catching abode was built from local materials and blends gracefully into the verdant site it sits upon.

If you took a look at this Earth House from above, you might mistake its swirling lawn for a verdant crop circle. We have to say that the beautiful rammed earth house certainly is out of this world with its clean architecture, and lovely landscaping. Designed by Jolson Architecture, the Earth House is also built from local materials and carefully considers the idyllic Victoria, Australia site it sits upon.


China's 'Ecological Silicon Valley' (PICTURES)


First Posted: 04-21-11 04:52 PM   |   Updated: 04-21-11 04:52 PM

While it may look like a handful of precious gems taking a dip in a river, the image below is actually of the Mentougou City, a gorgeous new "Ecological Silicon Valley" located in the mountains not far from Beijing.

The new development will be comprised of research institutes for modern science along with eco-efficient urban living. Designed with carbon neutrality, water and energy conservation, and renewable energy in mind, Mentougou Eco Valley even hopes to reduce its environmental footprint to one third that of a typical city of similar size.

The Miaofeng mountain area, located about 30 km west of Beijing, is slated to be reborn as a gorgeous new "Ecological Silicon Valley." Located close to the urban metropolis of Beijing, the new city will combine research institutes for modern science and innovation with environmentally friendly and eco-efficient urban living. The master plan for the eco-city was laid out by the Finnish firm, Eriksson Architects in collaboration with Finnish ecological experts Eero Paloheimo Eco City Ltd. With goals of carbon neutrality, respect for the environment, water and energy conservation, renewable energy, and housing and amenities for all employees and visitors, the Mentougou Eco Valley aims to reduce its environmental footprint to one third that of a typical city of similar size.

5/3/2011 6:01:00 AM

UFO conference set for Kingman, site of reported landing



Roswell researcher Don Schmitt and others are pictured digging at the Foster Ranch reported UFO crash site in Roswell, N.M., during the shooting of SciFi Investigates in 2006.

Erin Taylor

Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - Planes taking off and landing at the Kingman Airport isn't unusual, but more than 50 years ago, a much more unearthly aircraft is said to have crashed north of town in the area near the airport.

UFO researchers believe that a saucer-like craft crashed here May 21, 1953, although it wasn't disclosed until a member of the U.S. Air Force went on record 20 years later and said he worked on the investigation.

Researchers will present information on that and other ET incidents during "The Arizona UFO Sightings First Annual Kingman Conference," slated for Friday through Monday.

The schedule includes a Friday evening "Meet and Greet" while a day of lectures will follow on Saturday at conference rooms in Hualapai Mountain Medical Center.

One of those lectures will be from Michael Schratt, a military aerospace historian, draftsman and researcher. Schratt will talk about a body, believed to be extra-terrestrial, that was allegedly found in the wreckage of the Kingman crash.

Roswell expert Donald R. Schmitt, who is the former co-director of the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies, will also talk about three archaeological dig projects he's organized at the alleged Roswell crash field in 1989, 2002 and 2006.

During the dig in 2002, Schmitt said excavators noticed a 10 foot-wide gouge in the earth that ran several hundred feet in length. After excavating some of the dirt, Schmitt said they found a symmetrical V in the ground, which seemed to indicate something had crashed there.

Another dig is planned in Roswell this fall.

Schmitt said time is running out for researchers to contact witnesses who have information on or have heard stories about the Kingman crash. Organizers are hoping that those with any information will attend the conference and share what they know.

"We see it as being one last attempt," he said.

Schmitt said that when it comes to Roswell, many military eye witnesses who are now in the end stages of life are making "death-bed" statements about what they saw, including occupants inside the crashed craft.

"They sure weren't from Texas," Schmitt said one man said. Schmitt and his team have interviewed more than 600 people in 20 years as part of his Roswell investigation.

The conference will include a "Contact Day" on Sunday where participants will take a field trip to the alleged Kingman crash site. They will also visit a plot of privately-owned land near Meadview, where Charles Balogh of Phoenix will teach lessons developed by Dr. Stephen Greer of the Center for the Study of Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. The night will end with a sky watch and "galactic meditation."

The conference will close Monday with a round-table discussion and talk by

Len Kasten focusing on the challenges he says humanity faces as we realize we are not alone.

Cost for the full 4-day conference is $150. The "Contact Day" excursion may also be purchased alone for $105. Special rates are available for students and those who cannot attend the whole conference.

For more information, visit www.ArizonaUfoSightings.com or call (928) 351-7763.

Shuttle Launch Delay Carries Big Space Traffic Consequences


Denise Chow, SPACE.com Staff Writer

Date: 04 May 2011 Time: 11:25 AM ET

Space shuttle Endeavour stands at Launch Pad 39A near the Atlantic seashore at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The shuttle is slated to launch on its final mission, STS-134.

CREDIT: NASA/Jack Pfaller

View full size image

When NASA officials set a new launch date for the space shuttle Endeavour, they will have to jockey around several other big events on the ground and in space: the launch of an unmanned rocket, the undocking of a Russian spacecraft from the International Space Station, and preparations for NASA's next and final space shuttle mission.

Endeavour's first launch attempt on April 29 was called off due to a technical malfunction with one of the shuttle's power systems. The system, called an auxiliary power unit, is located in the hard-to-reach rear, or aft, section of the orbiter.

NASA officials announced Tuesday (May 2) that the earliest opportunity to launch Endeavour on its STS-134 mission is May 10 at 11:21 a.m. EDT (1521 GMT). The shuttle lifts off from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. [Photos: Shuttle Endeavour's Final Voyage]

Ground crews removed what is believed to be a faulty component, called the Load Control Assembly-2 (LCA-2) box, from the shuttle's aft compartment Monday night. Technicians will evaluate data from the inspections and will install a new LCA-2 box after evaluating the problem and making any necessary repairs.

"The forensic testing began," NASA spokesman Allard Beutel told SPACE.com. "They're preparing to put a new box in, but they have to get some other issues prepared and ready first."

Managers will continue to evaluate the repair process and make any adjustments to the timeline before scheduling Endeavour’s next launch attempt to the International Space Station. [Gallery: Space Shuttle Endeavour Construction Photos]

That process, however, is far more complicated than simply picking a date once the repairs are complete.

Conflicts with another rocket

Launches from Kennedy Space Center must also take into account activities at the neighboring Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, where unmanned rockets lift off into space.

An unmanned Atlas 5 rocket is slated to launch May 6 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, carrying a military surveillance satellite. While NASA is aiming to launch Endeavour after May 6, the Atlas 5 will have implications for the work currently going on at the launch pad.

"If they launch in the afternoon on Friday, we're going to have to clear Launch Pad 39A for a few hours around the launch window for safety reasons," Beutel said. "If they slip, that will have an effect on us as well because we would have to do the same on Saturday."

If the Atlas 5 launch is delayed past Sunday, the Air Force would have to stand down to make way for Endeavour's launch preparations, Beutel said, unless NASA decides it cannot launch the shuttle on May 10, and needs more time to evaluate the power system failure.

Extra days for STS-134?

Endeavour's launch delay also has consequences for the length of the mission. NASA has the option of extending the 14-day STS-134 mission by two additional days, if logistically possible. But, that option may be in jeopardy because it could conflict with the undocking operations of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, which is scheduled to depart the space station May 23.

"If we go on May 10, the full 14-day mission is unaffected, but the two extension days are affected because the undockings would be on the same day," Beutel said. "We're having to work very closely with the space station program on this, and there a whole bunch of factors involved. Ultimately it will be up to the space station program and what their priorities are."

Ideally, the two extension days would be used to take advantage of having Endeavour's six shuttle crewmembers aboard the space station to get more work done to help ready the station for its future years. This is particularly important since NASA's space shuttle program will soon be coming to a close.

But, with Endeavour's launch delayed, it may no longer be possible to extend the mission on orbit if it launches on May 10. For a launch on May 11, however, both extension days should be available.

"Right now, there are no plans to change the Soyuz undocking sequence," NASA spokesman Kelly Humphries told SPACE.com. "We need to come up with a workable plan, but the things to consider include the crew work to be done in order to prepare and support the undocking. And then, after they're gone, you're dealing with three crewmembers rather than six crewmembers on the station."

Ripple effects for Atlantis

Endeavour's launch delay could also affect preparations for the very last mission of NASA's space shuttle program -- the STS-135 flight of the shuttle Atlantis.

Atlantis is currently scheduled to launch June 28 to the International Space Station. The orbiter was slated to be moved from its processing facility to the tall Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center, where Atlantis will be joined with its orange external fuel tank and twin solid rocket boosters, on May 10. After that, Atlantis will eventually have to be rolled out to the launch pad.

"We're all waiting to see how the repairs to Endeavour go," Beutel said. "Even if we get over to the Vehicle Assembly Building on the 10th, if for some reason Endeavour launches past the 13th or 14th, there's a potential to affect Atlantis' roll to the pad."

While Atlantis is still on track to launch on June 28, if Endeavour's launch is pushed later in the month, it could potentially affect the timeline of the STS-135 mission.

All in all, many of these big decisions will depend on the progress of the work being done now at the launch pad. Mission managers plan to reconvene Friday (May 6) to determine a more definite launch date for Endeavour's STS-134 mission, based on the results of testing that will be completed in the next few days.

You can follow SPACE.com Staff Writer Denise Chow on Twitter @denisechow. Follow SPACE.com for the latest in space science and exploration news on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

UFO Festival comes to McMinnville


By Shawn Estes

from Salem Weekly, Section News

Posted on Tue May 03, 2011 at 11:55:52 PM PDT

It sounds like something that Fox Mulder and Dana Scully would investigate. In 1950, a local McMinnville couple, Evelyn and Paul Trent, spotted a UFO. As the story goes, the object increased speed and took off, and Paul snapped photos as quickly as his '50s-era camera could capture them. He got two before the object disappeared. After the attention of the national press was caught, McMinnville was dubbed “Saucerville” and the local newspaper of the time reprinted thousands of their front pages, across which blazed Trent’s UFO picture. One of those copies is on display at McMenamins' Hotel Oregon.

Now, over 50 years later, McMinnville makes use of its Saucerville heritage with a UFO Festival. Organizers call the event the second largest UFO festival in the country, and the city becomes an alien destination, if not for real little green men, at least for the costumed variety.

The event is highlighted with a UFO parade put on by the McMinnville Downtown Association. McMenamins hosts a number of speakers for the event; this year they’ll host Robert Salas, Stan Gordon, and Paola Harris.

Salas has been a researcher and speaker on UFOs at nuclear weapons bases since 1994. He’ll be speaking on the 1967 UFO encounters at Malmstrom Air Force Base where two launch facilities found that nuclear missiles in their control became non-operational simultaneously.

Gordon is an on-scene investigator who has experienced thousands of unexplained encounters.

Harris is a photojournalist and investigative reporter who has followed the UFO field since 1979. Harris will talk about an incident that occurred in 1945 in San Antonio, New Mexico and is detailed in the book “Born the Edge of Ground Zero, Living in the Shadow of Area 51.”

The speakers form just the tip of the meteor in this weekend dedicated to all things alien. There will be an alien pet costume parade, various musical performances, and an alien costume ball. New this year is an independent film festival that will be judged on May 13-14 during matinees and then screened on the evening of May 14. Entries must be UFO-, alien-, or science fiction-themed. For more information on entries, visit macmovietime.com.

For the full schedule of events, visit the UFO Festival’s website at ufofest.com. Tickets are available online until May 12. They range from $10 per individual event or frugal aliens can purchase a three-event combo ticket for $25.

Season Two