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The Condon Committee




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Main article: Condon Committee

A public research effort conducted by the Condon Committee for the USAF, which arrived at a negative conclusion in 1968, marked the end of the U.S. government's official investigation of UFOs, though various government intelligence agencies continue unofficially to investigate or monitor the situation.[note 5]

Controversy has surrounded the Condon Report, both before and after it was released. It has been observed that the report was "harshly criticized by numerous scientists, particularly at the powerful AIAA ... [which] recommended moderate, but continuous scientific work on UFOs."[10] In an address to the AAAS, James E. McDonald stated that he believed science had failed to mount adequate studies of the problem and criticized the Condon Report and earlier studies by the USAF as scientifically deficient. He also questioned the basis for Condon's conclusions[47] and argued that the reports of UFOs have been "laughed out of scientific court."[9] J. Allen Hynek, an astronomer who worked as a USAF consultant from 1948, sharply criticized the Condon Committee Report and later wrote two nontechnical books that set forth the case for continuing to investigate UFO reports.

Ruppelt recounted his experiences with Project Blue Book, a USAF investigation that preceded Condon's.[48]

Notable cases

  • The Roswell UFO incident (1947) involved New Mexico residents, local law enforcement officers, and the U.S. military, the latter of whom allegedly collected physical evidence from the UFO crash site.
  • The Mantell UFO incident January 7, 1948
  • The Betty and Barney Hill abduction (1961) was the first reported abduction incident.
  • In the Kecksburg UFO incident, Pennsylvania (1965), residents reported seeing a bell shaped object crash in the area. Police officers, and possibly military personnel, were sent to investigate.
  • The Travis Walton abduction case (1975): The movie Fire in the Sky (1993) was based on this event, but embellished greatly the original account.
  • The "Phoenix Lights" March 13, 1997

Canada

In Canada, the Department of National Defence has dealt with reports, sightings and investigations of UFOs across Canada. In addition to conducting investigations into crop circles in Duhamel, Alberta, it still considers "unsolved" the Falcon Lake incident in Manitoba and the Shag Harbour UFO incident in Nova Scotia.[49]



Early Canadian studies included Project Magnet (1950–1954) and Project Second Storey (1952–1954), supported by the Defence Research Board. These studies were headed by Canadian Department of Transport radio engineer Wilbert B. Smith, who later publicly supported extraterrestrial origins.

In the Shag Harbour UFO incident, a large object sequentially flashing lights was seen and heard to dive into the water by multiple witnesses. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and many local residents also witnessed a light floating on the water immediately afterward, and a large patch of unusual yellow foam when a water search was initiated. Multiple government agencies were eventually involved in trying to identify the crashed object and searching for it. Canadian naval divers later purportedly found no wreckage. In official documents, the object was called a "UFO" because no conventional explanation for the crashed object was discovered. Around the same time, both the Canadian and U.S. military were involved in another UFO-related search at Shelburne, Nova Scotia, approximately 30 miles (48 km) from Shag Harbour.



France

On March 2007, the French space agency CNES published an archive of UFO sightings and other phenomena online.[50]

French studies include GEPAN/SEPRA/GEIPAN (1977–), within CNES (French space agency), the longest ongoing government-sponsored investigation. About 22% of 6000 cases studied remain unexplained.[51] The official opinion of GEPAN/SEPRA/GEIPAN has been neutral, stating on their FAQ page that their mission is fact-finding for the scientific community, not rendering an opinion. They add they can neither prove nor disprove the Exterrestrial Hypothesis (ETH), but their Steering Committee's clear position is that they cannot discard the possibility that some fraction of the very strange 22% of unexplained cases might be due to distant and advanced civilizations.[52] Possibly their bias may be indicated by their use of the terms "PAN" (French) or "UAP" (English equivalent) for "Unidentified Aerospace Phenomenon" (whereas "UAP" as normally used by English organizations stands for "Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon," a more neutral term). In addition, the three heads of the studies have gone on record in stating that UFOs were real physical flying machines beyond our knowledge or that the best explanation for the most inexplicable cases was an extraterrestrial one.[53][54][55]

In 2008, Michel Scheller, president of the Association Aéronautique et Astronautique de France (3AF), created the Sigma Commission. Its purpose was to investigate UFO phenomenon worldwide.[56] A progress report published in May 2010 stated that the central hypothesis proposed by the COMETA report is perfectly credible.[57] In December 2012, the final report of the Sigma Commission was submitted to Scheller. Following the submission of the final report, the Sigma2 Commission is to be formed with a mandate to continue the scientific investigation of UFO phenomenon.[58][59]



The most notable cases of UFO sightings in France include the Valensole UFO incident in 1965, and the Trans-en-Provence Case in 1981.

Italy

According to some Italian ufologists, the first documented case of a UFO in Italy dates back to April 11, 1933, to Varese. Documents of the time show that an alleged UFO crashed or landed near Vergiate. Following this, Benito Mussolini created a secret group to look at it.[60][61]

Alleged UFO sightings gradually increased since the war, peaking in 1978 and 2005. Notable cases include:

  • A UFO sighting in Florence, October 28, 1954.[62]
  • In 1973, an Alitalia airplane left Rome for Naples sighted a mysterious round object. Two Italian Air Force planes from Ciampino confirmed the sighting.[63] In the same year there was another sighting at Caselle airport near Turin.[64]
  • In 1978, two young hikers while walking on Monte Musinè near Turin saw a bright light; one of them temporarily disappered and after a while was found in a state of shock and with a noticeable scald on one leg. After regaining consciousness he reported having seen an elongated veicle and that some strangely shaped beings descended from it touching and efting him. Both the young hikers soffered of conjunctivitis for some time.[65]
  • A close encounter reported in September 1978 in Torrita di Siena in the Province of Siena. A young motorist saw in front of him a bright object, two beings of small stature who wore suits and helmets, the two approached the car, and after watching it carefully went back and rose again to the UFO.[66]
  • Yet in 1978, there has been also the story of Pier Fortunato Zanfretta, the best known and most controversial case of an Italian alleged alien abduction. Zanfretta said to have been kidnapped on the night of 6 December and 7 December while he was performing his job at Marzano, in the municipality of Torriglia in the Province of Genoa.[67]

The total number of sightings since 1947 are 18,500, of which 90% are identifiable.[68]


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