Introduction to UFO Study
UFOs were formerly known as flying saucers until 1952 when an officer of the US Air Force Edwards Ruppelt coined the name “Unidentified Flying Object (UFO)”. This term refers to alien spacecrafts and any other unexplained aerial events or phenomena. UFO sightings reported all over the world have raised questions about the existence of aliens and extraterrestrial life on other planets of the universe. This subject has become one of major interest and has been the inspiration behind many Sci-fi movies and novels.
The World’s First UFO
The first modern UFO sighting happened on June 24, 1947 when a pilot named Kenneth Arnold claimed he witnessed nine flying saucers while piloting his plane around Mount Rainier, Washington. He described the objects as traveling at a speed of at least 1200 miles per hour. The newspaper reports of the event stated that the flying objects had a saucer shape; hence, the name “flying saucer” came to be.
The First UFO Projects
Many other sightings of aerial unidentified objects began to make news and as they increased, the U.S Air Force took notice and made the decision to investigate further. “Project Sign” began in 1948 to investigate these reports. The initial findings of the project were that the flying objects being reported were not of alien origin, but rather sophisticated aircraft owned by the Soviet Union.
However, some researchers were not convinced of the military findings and opined that the flying objects might be spacecrafts from other planets, therefore giving rise to the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis (ETH).
“Project Grudge” succeeded “Project Sign” in 1949, lasting until 1951. Its Director Robert Sneider, favored the extraterrestrial hypothesis as the best possible explanation for UFO sightings. They prepared a report called the Estimate of the Situation arguing their case for alien contact, but the hypothesis was ultimately rejected by high-ranking officers and the project was ended.
“Project Blue Book” was created as a successor to “Project Grudge”. This Project lasted until 1969-70 and was the longest investigation of UFO evidence to date. Over 12,000 reported events of UFO sightings were compiled by Project Blue Book and each of the events were classified as either identified or unidentified aerial phenomena. The Unidentified category made up six percent of all the sightings and had insufficient data to conclude on the identity of the aerial phenomena or UFO. Though significant resources were allocated to the topic, the existence of UFO's could not be firmly proven leading to a final position by the United States Government that they did not exist.
By virtue of the FOIA, Project Blue Book can be viewed on the FBI Website.
Through the years, many other private organizations and groups have been established to investigate UFO's. It is quite obvious that the interest in the topic of alien visitation has not waned. Controversies about UFO's have resulted in a countless number of books, articles, and scientific papers printed in every language on earth. Recent polls have revealed that a significant number of Americans believe in UFO's, although most scientific research establishments have continued to debunk these phenomena and pass them off as illegitimate. What do you believe?
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