Flying saucers: are they us?
UFOs, flying saucers--why have they captured and held the attention of so many people? Perhaps because we'd like to believe we are not alone in the universe. Our earth and solar system are a part of one average galaxy called the Milky Way, which contains 100 billion stars similar to our own sun. Since most of these "suns" have satellites or "planets," even the most cautous scientist will admit millions of planets in our galaxy may be capable of supporting some type of life form in some stage of evolution. These life forms might be millions of years behind us in evolution or millions of years ahead of us in intelligence. Because the evolutionary changes on Earth were created by the trillions of accidents since the first building blocks of life were created, it is inconceivable to imagine this erratic chain of evolutionary events occurring in exactly the same manner--even on a duplicate Earth--anywhere in the universe and producing the same level of potential evolutionary intelligence as man's.
The two most popular worldwide theories on flying saucers can be briefly described. The first: Flying saucers are some combination of unique weather and earth-related phenomena (such as swamp gas, freak electrical discharges from the sky or pizoelectric effects within the earth's crust); the second: They are natural objects misidentified as weather balloons, helicopters or even bright stars.
The bona fide UFO advocate, of course, will quickly point out the great number of airline pilots and qualified scientists who have observed UFOs in action and described, with some degree of mechanical detail, what was often confirmed by other qualified observers miles or even hundreds of miles away. Although many "sightings" admittedly could well be natural phenomena or wishful thinking, this group also points out the 10 percent or mroe of such sightings unexplainable even wish to class very large numbers of reputable observers as "kooks."
So where do the saucers come from? And why? If they exist then they must come from other worlds, say observers. Why this theory? Simply because the saucers have flight capabilities beyond anything within man's current ability to duplicate. These capabilities include observed speeds of 5,000 miles per hour or more and the ability to stop abruptly in midair and change direction (often at right angles) with "G" forces that no human pilot could survive. "Consequently they are the product of a far advanced technology and piloted, or guided, by a superior intelligence," proponents of this theory would say.
Why are "they" observing Earth? Some saucer advocates go back to the beginning of recorded history to prove that strange flying craft have observed the earth for the thousands of years. The most common theory is that these extraterrestrial beings are monitoring Earth at regular intervals--perhaps because we have harnessed the enormus destructive power of the atom before we have learned to control ourselves. "It could be," say the UFO advocates, "that the 'saucer people' want to protect us from ourselves. Or, as we take the first step toward space exploration, to protect themselves and their worlds from our proven capabilities for mass destruction." (One estimate is that, in the total recorded history of our planet, only 15 years have passed without some major war under way!) It does make sense that, if you lived next door in space to the planet Earth, you would be quite concerned about your neighbor's first visit!
It sounds like a plausible theory. After all, we've all seen Star Wars and "buck Rogers" and realize the universe is crammed with intelligent furry critters, clever lizards and cute robots of every size and inclination--none as dull as our day-to-day associations with ordinary people in the pursuit of paying taxes and financing a new car or home. And there are hundreds of sightings daily all over the world; in addition, the press whets our interest with personal experience stories from just plain, average people who have "made contact" with the strange little green men with narrow eyes (though they usually forget to take pictures or bring home artifacts). And although hypnosis has been used to help these persons reconstruct their "contactcs," I tend to disregard such saucer lore, since by amateur hypnosis I have convinced friends that they saw and heard perfectly splendid, classic flaying saucers as they were leaving my home. It's actually far more difficult to get them to stop smoking for 24 hours!
I promise not to destroy your love affair with flying saucers by poking holes in the space visitors theory and leaving you with only a ball of pulsating, fast-maneuvering swamp gas as an explanation. However, let's see how many assumptions one must make for the other-worlds theory to hold water:
Our first assumption was that perhaps one of our neighboring planets--such as Venus or Mars--held these superintelligent life forms. Since we've taken the first steps in researching our sun's planets, we now know that none (other than earth) can support any imaginable life form--much less the environment for building snazzy spaceships.
"Maybe our visitors are from a planet of a neighboring sun?" Well, the nearest sun is Alpha Centauri, a mere 4.3 light years away (which is roughly 6 trillion miles)--a million-year trip going full tilt in a Lear jet! Obviously, if we Earthlings manage to annihilate our planet in one giant atomic explosion, it would have no effect upon Alpha Centauri's possible planets. Frankly, it might well be a case of "good riddance."
Of course, we have billions of such stars in our own Milky Way galaxy, which is 100,000 light years across. Why would "they" want to contact earth? Because we're intelligent creatures? Actually, if they have radio and television, it will be more than 50,000 years in our future before even half of these other earths can tune in "Gilligan's Island" or any radio signal from our planet.
And so the assumptions continue, piled one upon another until we have a fantastic stack of unlikely probabilities that must "mesh" in order to get one space visitor to Earth. (Obviously, if you can get one spacecraft here, you could load a gigantic mother ship with smaller spaceships and explain the many different types of saucers that apparently cram our airways.) But that's just one more assumption added to the stack.
Have we killed off all the little green men and cute, furry space critters for you? Worried because no superintelligence from somewhere in the universe is going to stop us from destroying our Earth? Don't be, because our theory, with only one assumption, explains who the saucer people really are! They're us.
In the past 100 years, the people of the civilized countries of the earth have undergone the greatest technological revolution conceivable on any planet anywhere in the universe. We've developed the laser, the transistor and worldwide communications that let us talk via satellite from our living-room chair to almost any other home in any developed country in the world. We can fly (cocktails and dinner included) between continents at almost 2,000 miles per hour. About the only thing we can't build today is a flying saucer that meets the qualifications and flight characteristics of those reported by reliable witnesses, time and time again. Here is a brief composite of those sightings: "It was definitely of mechanical origin. It seemed to have ports or windows around the base or sides. It seemed to be trailing an antenna or submarine-type tower. It changed color frequently and colors seemed to pulsate. It was capable of hovering, then traveling at speeds faster than any plane's. It could stop instantly and then shoot off at a right angle or make these right-angle turns at speeds that would kill any living creature. It was seen by many other observers unknown to me and described in the same manner. It was tracked by airport radar and disappeared off the screen."
When apparently reliable witnesses report on craftlike UFOs, strong consistencies--and important ones--recur. These consistencies support the most likely assumption of all--that these craft were developed by Earthmen.
Now a short course in scientific fact. Of all things in this universe only the speed of light (186,000 miles per second) is consistent. So, utilizing the Doppler principle, we are able to measure our universe and gauge the speed with which we approach or depart any other star system in the universe. (The Doppler principle: The colors of light change in direct proportion to the speed of an object traveling toward us or away from us an dmove up or down the color spectrum. You've probably noted the same effect with a train whistle or car horn--the pitch gets higher as the horn approaches and lower in tone as it departs. Remember the pulsating colors on our reported "flying saucers" that shifted from yellow to red or green to blue, etc.? This is the doppler effect you would most likely see if a craft were traveling at close to the spped of light. . .or traveling in time!)
Another scientific fact is the nature of time itself. Whether you happen to be a human, an alarm clock or an atomic particle, the closer you approach the speed of light (186,000 miles per second), The more time slows doen for you! For instance, if you were to take a four-year trip in a spacecraft traveling at close to the speed of light, you'd be four years older when you landed--but on earth thousands of years would have passed. You would be ancient history--possibly a legend or more likely forgotten for centuries. Civilization (if it existed) would be thousands of years advanced. Language and technology would have undergone unimaginable changes. And you could not safely land your craft and walk about your home planet! Why? Because bacteria and earthly contamination to which these future Earthlings would be immune might easily overwhelm your more primitive immune system. You, in truth, would be alien on your own planet!
Travel into the future is possible. Chances are you've already traveled in time, for time actually slows down for the people aboard a jet plane. On a trip from New York to Los Angeles you arrive younger by perhaps a billionth of a second. the only noticeable effects would occur, however, near the speed of light.
Remember the high-speed, rightangle turns made by our "flying saucers"? If they were observable to you on Earth as they flew at a speed approaching that of light, they would appear to make instant rightangle turns at 5,000 miles per hour, although the time travelers themselves (during the ten seconds you observed their amazing performance) would be living "slower" and thus perhaps having a full hour to execute the maneuver at very comfortable speeds and to exert no more "G" force than a normal turn in a jet airliner.
Certainly neither the United States nor Russia has discovered a means to travel in time. Having "saucers" darting willy-nilly about our countryside for decades would be a lousy way to keep a military secret.
Who--in all the known universe--could the builder be? For years we have searched space with massive radio telescopes. We have listened on all frequencies, seeking one faint radio signal indicating the presence of intelligent life. We have located the center of our universe and listened to the sounds of dying stars millions of light years apart in time and space. By 1981 we had searched to a depth of 2 billion years without a single radio signal indicating intelligence anywhere else in the universe.
Remember the pictures you've seen of flying saucers? Who could build them now? We could--except we don't know how to build the power source or how it operates at this moment. Remember what we have accomplished in the past 100 years--from the horse cart to manned space flight. Today 90 percent of all scientists who have ever lived are still alive. We're virtually knee-deep in living scientists, technologically oriented and possessing computer systems linking them with the most recent thinking of thousands of others in their field. Computers can solve in seconds intricate problems that only a few decades ago would have taken a team of geniuses many months or years to solve. Forty years ago, college textbooks stated, "The atom is the smallest particle of matter. It cannot be divided." Then came Los Alamos.
Today we are exploring atomic fusion, which is basically safe atomic energy. It can turn the common isotope deuterium (found in all sea water) into electrical power--a source of power so plentiful that mankind will have departed this Earth and the Earth will have died before it is depleted. How far away is fusion as a practicable energy source? Perhaps 40 years or less. Perhaps far longer. But when we conquer fusion, we will be controlling the basic matter of the universe--the power of our sun. Combining this power, computers and other new technology, the possibility of time travel, or "looking into the past," may become a reality. Remember, when you look at any star, you are looking hundreds or thousands of years into the past!
Einstein is certainly to be reckoned with when one talks about time travel. He proved our potential to travel into the future, but not our potential to return. There was a paradox. For instance, should you physically travel back to your parents' childhood and kill one of them, then you could never have been born. Or suppose you killed Hitler at the time he was an art student? You would have completely changed civilized Earth as we know it today. We agree. It is physically impossible to travel backwards in time--as we know it. Let's look at the rules once more in their most simple form:
Rule 1: You can travel forward in time relative to "Earth time" if you travel fast enough.
Rule 2: You can never physically "see" into that future time unless you can exist in that time.
Rule 3: You can "see" into the past. Because of the time lag in light reaching you from any object you see, you always see in the past. (As you read this you are seeing words as they existed a thousandth of a second ago in your past. When you look at a star you may be seeing many thousands of years into the past.)
Rule 4: You cannot physically exist in the past--due to the paradox discussed above (i.e. killing your parents before you were born).
Rule 5: Time is relative to the speed of light and is different on Earth from any other point in the universe.
Rule 6: There's a lot we don't know about the nature of the universe, although scientists suspect that the universe curves back upon itself in a warpage in time and space. One amazing thing about the rules of our universe is that there are places where the rules that should apply--don't.
Astronomers, call these places "black holes"--areas of space where atoms are so compressed that the population of Earth would fit into a teaspoon. The mass of the mysterious "black hole" is so great it captures everything--including light and atomic radio signals. We can't see them or hear them--yet the "black holes" swallow up almost infinite amounts of matter, which simply disappear! It would be similar to pouring 100 gallons of water into an infinitely small funnel--with nothing coming out the small end of the funnel. It shouldn't happen but it does!
Meanwhile, separated from the "black holes" by thousands of light years are the phenomena called "white holes" where matter gushes into the universe--from where? Are black holes and white holes somehow connected in a fifth or sixth dimension? How does the matter travel between them--if it does? This phenomenon indicates connections between time and space we do not yet understand. When we bring our future research to bear on the problems of fusion power, we'll learn more about these doorways into the nature of time and space.
The year is A.D. 2381. Our scientists have discovered the technology to short-circuit normal space and time. They have discovered that, although they cannot physically exist in the past (due to Einstein's paradox), they can see into the past by a form of time travel. In the same manner that you could see over a very tall brick fence by using a trampoline to bounce you high enough to see over that barrier, they have used the unlimited power of fusion to create a warpage of time and space. Their equipment for this adventure is a flying laboratory that does not necessarily fly at all--but rather travels in time. Like the trampoline, it gains its power in short bursts that enable it to temporarily rend the fabric of time. Safely enclosed in a bubble of its own time, it oscillates perhaps thousands of times a second, back and forth between A.D. 2381 and the past. The enormous power requirements for each "jump" or oscillation into the past cannot be created aboard the laboratory, and therefore the craft must exist in its own time many times a second to "refuel." The speed and power utilized in these cycles determine both its location in the past and its ability to move in time.
Like a theater today in which we watch 24 still pictures a second become a solid moving picture, the 1984 "Earthling" sees a solid UFO. Humans have an "eye fatigue" that retains images for a short period after they cease to exist. It's why movies work--and possibly why UFOs seem real. "If you've ever photographed a TV screen or movie screen, chances are you got a blurred photo--since the camera does not have eye fatigue. Of course, if this theory is true, it would seem that qualified observers might have good, detailed descriptions of the UFOs they've seen--and photographs might consistently be fuzzy or lack good detail. And we must admit that, in spite of the millions of cameras that exist today, there has not been one good photograph of a UFO in spite of the amateurs' ability to get clear photos of jet aircraft apparently traveling many times faster!)
Since Earth is in constant motion through space and time, the time traveler does not depend upon wings or airfoils for locomotion. Rather, he uses the power at his command to travel in time, which serves as an excellent means of moving about. (Example: If you could stay exactly where you are right now, relative to our sun rather than the Earth, you'd find yourself freezing in space in seconds. The speed at which you travel in time determines your location. To the amazed viewers on Earth watching your apparently solid ship, your hovering in their space and time makes them see this unusual maneuver as "helicopter-like." Your enormous power and ability to travel in time and to approach the speed of light in the hovering process explain why the electrical field emanating from your craft may change colors or pulsate. Remember the Doppler effect?)
Now remember that by traveling at speeds approaching the speed of light, our time traveler is living in a "slower" time. What seems to be a five-minute maneuver at high speeds, with impossible right-angle turns, is made very comfortably at these "slower" times. For the pilot of the saucer, several hours may have been involved in these very comfortable maneuvers you observed at your "faster" time.
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|Author:||White, Donald A.|
|Publication:||Saturday Evening Post|
|Date:||Mar 1, 1984|
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