Life in the Stars

Whether the existence of extraterrestrials is an irrefutable fact or just a compelling theory, the media would do well to start telling the story

| November / December 2006

Given that the mainstream scientific community can't even agree if the poor orbiting mass called Pluto is a planet, it may seem a strange time to ask people to consider whether or not extraterrestrial life has visited our troubled planet-especially since the mere mention of unidentified flying objects conjures stereotypes, reinforced in the media, that undermine credibility.

It's hard to imagine, however, that even the most hardened of cynics wouldn't be compelled by information published on the subject over the past 10 years. Sometimes raising as many unsettling questions as it answers, this serious research not only deserves notice, it demands consideration. The problem is that, no matter what mainstream science reporters are covering -from stories on nasa to promises of space tourism-they routinely ignore the subject altogether.

Detractors ought to consider the legacy of the late astronomer and physicist J. Allen Hynek, an investigator on government-sponsored studies of UFOs from the late '40s through the '60s, who went from being a skeptic to something of a UFO advocate before he died in 1986. What made him abandon his academic and political prejudices about a subject that usually draws jeers? It was no doubt information like that contained in an unofficial document from the RAND Corporation, a generally conservative think tank, titled 'UFOs: What to Do?'

Written in 1968 and publicly released in 1997, the study tracks sightings from the 1500s to the modern era, including 'the large number' of UFOs spotted near atomic and military installations. While the report recounts how certain government agencies recommended handling such sightings (read: ridicule and denial), there's also speculation that there could be as many as 100 million intergalactic civilizations more advanced than our own.

Hynek eventually concluded that there was an embarrassment of evidence for the existence of UFOs. Given that more substantiation has since accrued, one can't help but wonder how-media neglect notwithstanding-meaningful discussion about the existence of the extraterrestrial has been stifled for so long.

In 1997, retired colonel Philip J. Corso, a member of President Eisenhower's national security team and an Army intelligence officer in Korea, published an explosive book called The Day After Roswell (Pocket Books) that offers an intriguing take on the question. The author claims that materials recovered from a crash site in New Mexico in the late '40s were seeded to corporate interests that patented the technologies-including lasers, integrated circuitry, fiber-optic networks, accelerated particle beam devices, and the Kevlar material in bulletproof vests-ostensibly to hide the original source.

Stephen Bassett
9/2/2008 10:49:39 AM

Congratulations, Martin, on getting this excellent article in Utne. I hope this is an indicator the Utne Reader will be addressing this issue in the future. Steve Bassett

James (Jim) Magee 111
9/1/2008 6:03:15 AM

In my opinion, the only hope for Humanity being brought "up to speed" as far as UFO/ET information, will be when Barrack Obama becomes our nations first Commander-In-Chief that we all can trust. He's one of the few individuals, that doesn't walk around with his head shoved up his butt. I indeed find it interesting, that 12/21/2012 is just around the corner, and in steps Barrack, almost from out of no-where. Am I the only person who can see this? (Jim's) My prediction is this will be the biggest political landslide election in political history. As a country/world - we better get this one right, because there's not that much time left!!! He will totally reshape the U.S. Government. All those fools who just sit around and get fat on the pork, better be looking for a minimum wage job and try to live. like they've made the rest of the country try to survive

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