UFOs/UAP, Grusch, the US Senate and Interstellar Materials
The question of close technosignatures has evolved more in the last month than it has over the entire history of the question, ranging back to Enrico Fermi wondering that if the universe is so old, about 13.8 billion years as best we can tell, then surely it has had plenty of time to spawn other civilizations long before Earth came to be. Once that’s happened, given the virtue of millions of years of technological development, then any civilization that appeared before our own should be everywhere in the galaxy. That often gets lost in the question, that we should be seeing them.
Indeed, if we survive as a civilization for another 5 million years, then the speed of light problem is defeated. You don’t need faster than light travel, because as a long lasting civilization you have the most important factor in the Fermi Paradox mastered. Time. The argument is often made that the distances are too vast for alien civilizations to traverse, or that it takes too much energy.
But those arguments are made inside a universe that literally has all the time possible, and more energy than anyone could possibly know what to do with. Another option is the concept of a Benford probe, where in one of the sun’s countless close encounters with other star systems in the past, had one been inhabited they might have placed a probe in the solar system without the need to travel very far. So Fermi asked, where are they? They should be everywhere, yet on its face, that’s not what we see. We see, so far in the methods we’ve tried, a great silence with no obvious or unambiguous deviations. But it’s also possible that we were seeing something all along that we didn’t recognize it for being what it was.
This is what bothers me about the UFO phenomenon, we’ve heard all the accounts, the skepticism of them and all of the positions within along with stigmas, extremely hostile and unwarranted ridicule, good and bad debunking and everything you can imagine. And here’s what that did. It made us blind enough for at least the last 70 years to not ask a very simple question.
Is there a signal among the noise? Could we have been so blind because of the circumstances of the debate that we wouldn’t recognize an alien civilization if we saw it? This question ranges from the famous statement by Arthur C. Clarke that any sufficiently advanced technology would appear as magic. Sometimes, that’s what UFOs do, claims of violations of the laws of physics in their motion and behaviors.
Do alien civilizations develop technologies that make themselves effectively undetectable, such as abandoning radio for some type of quantum communications, or some other technology that you don’t recognize until you yourself develop it. The other problem is that no matter what you do in the search for alien life, there will always be some level of noise. With SETI, that’s radio interference from earth and natural sources in the universe. With the UFO question, it’s the mountain of hearsay, mistaken sightings and hoaxes. So no matter what you do, you are looking for a signal among the noise. The fact is, we now know there is a signal among the noise in the UFO phenomenon.
AARO itself states 2-5 percent of cases can’t be explained. And it’s coming at this point from several different sources. The first development is in regards to the whistleblower David Grusch. That the US government has in its possession between 12 and 15 captured or crashed UFOs of unknown origin, characterized as non-human, but not necessarily alien. Further he states that the oldest recovered one he was aware of crashed north of Milan in Italy in 1933.
Other sources on this claim lay out that the object was recovered by the fascist government of Benito Mussolini and kept very secret inside a hangar, and only shown to scientists from Nazi Germany. An unconfirmed part of this odd story is that Mussolini apparently wasn’t good at keeping secrets, and told Pope Pius XII of the recovery who in turn leaked it to the US government. The object supposedly came into the possession of the US sometime after 1944, is bell shaped and apparently quite large. This is all quite a tale that rightfully has faced much skepticism. It’s a titanic claim that would change our view of ourselves in the universe, but also put us on a collision course with the worst solution to the Fermi Paradox. At that point, the Fermi Paradox collapses to the Zoo Hypothesis no matter the specific scenario.
People in the UFO and Skeptic community often ask me, well do you want to believe as Fox Mulder’s famous poster stated. Not in the form of close alien life, as long time viewers of the channel know I have great interest in astrobiology and the question of life in the universe, but I would take being alone over being right next to a technologically superior alien civilization. It would be the greatest calamity to befall humanity in our entire history. The reason for this is that no matter the scenario, no matter if the aliens are friendly or otherwise, by virtue of having drastically more advanced technology than we do, think millions of years ahead of us, then we are simply not in effective control of this world.
They are, whether they assert it, or not. Existential dread aside, there will be plenty more of that in a bit, I simply neither believe nor disbelieve and will take what comes with no illusions. In this case, what I need is evidence. And the reality is that the skepticism of the Grusch claim is well warranted because no evidence has been forthcoming. After all, extraordinary claims with no corresponding extraordinary evidence is problematic. But the dam may be breaking on this, through the actions of the US government.
The fact is, whatever this is, it pushed the US House and Senate into rather extraordinary actions, actually unprecedented actions, and possibly for very different reasons than merely a downed UFO. But instead the circumvention of congressional oversight regarding a rogue special access program of some type, known as a SAP, that was not subject to the authority and oversight of Congress, which essentially in a case like this serves as the Pentagon’s checkbook and that funding can be revoked. And that appears to be the threat that’s being made by the US Senate, and it’s very weird and may support Grusch’s claims. The reason it’s weird is because it’s very specific. The bill originates in the Senate intelligence committee, and it’s part of the Fiscal Year 2024 Intelligence Authorization Act, which was approved unanimously by the committee.
And, here goes. The bill specifically requires that anyone under contract or formerly so with the Federal Government that has had in their possession any materials related to UAP that were provided by the federal government that is currently under special or restricted access must provide within 60 days of enactment, which will be in early 2024, must report to the All Domain Anomaly Resolution Office, the current director being Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick, a list of all non-earth origin or exotic unidentified anomalous phenomena material for assessment and analysis. In other words, a hard deadline before legal action on the matter can be taken. The bill actually says that, non-earth origin. This would seemingly be in response to Grusch’s complaint to the Intelligence Services Inspector General, who apparently did see evidence and considered the case urgent.
There are supposed to be other whistleblowers on that matter speaking out internally within the government that have not gone public, though it’s unclear just how many there are, it ranges from 3 to 5 others above and beyond Grusch. In any case, the Senate acted on this information in a way that would not be likely if they had only hearsay.. Another aspect of the Grusch case is that he claimed harassment, and even a break in at his home, apparently by a contractor, which is taken very seriously in government. Further, Senator Josh Hawley has stated that in previous hearings, presumably the closed ones, officials from the pentagon begrudgingly admitted to some kind of activity along these lines.
So the question is, what exactly is going on here. There are three options. The first is that the US has downed UAP and has been covering it up for decades, which is a claim well known in the culture, specifically the Roswell incident and other reports of crashes. If it actually is that, and I’m admittedly very skeptical of it by nature, then they may actually try to keep it secret even after admitting it to Congress. If you start seeing classified briefings to Congress by AARO, but with no kind of public disclosure as to the subject of those briefings, then that might be what happened.
If they have a good national security reason for secrecy and can justify it, that’s where it ends. That would be made especially odd because so far AARO has released some really intriguing things, such as a majority of sightings seem to be of metallic spheres, in Kirkpatrick’s words, with an upper limit on speed of mach 2. But that’s where the information ended, something was going mach 2 on a classified sensor, which we don’t know the limits and errors of.
It’s also possible that the whole thing is a decades long disinformation campaign or psy-op that’s gotten out of hand. On that we might have a better chance of disclosure at some point, the history of the US government in the 20th century is littered with strange stuff along those lines that come out years after they occured. Third is that there may be nothing to it other than a cultural hysteria and no one actually has any materials from a downed UAP. The strange thing here though, is that’s the most unlikely answer despite on its face sounding the most likely. The reason is that it’s already public record that the US Government contracted Bigelow Aerospace to store UAP related materials, over 20 million dollars was earmarked for it and Bigelow was already preparing storage facilities, yet nothing ever showed up.
And there’s the late senators Harry Reid and Barry Goldwater having publicly said that they were aware of such materials. Anyway as this, and the planned House of Representatives hearings in late July, which there are two in the works, on the matter of UAP investigation, we’re guaranteed for at least an interesting next chapter in the story of Grusch. But it potentially might get circumvented. The Galileo Project expedition to recover materials from a suspect interstellar object, IM1, has achieved significant new findings. This time in the form of metallic spherules of the type you would expect a falling iron meteorite to produce during its fiery passage to the ground.
In fact, this type of thing has already been found in a different area of the ocean. In 2018 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration mounted a similar expedition after the NOAA’s NEXRAD weather radar system caught a fireball entering that they projected landed within the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, also using seismic data. This was actually somewhat harder of a prospect than Avi Loeb’s expedition, it was 16 miles off shore, using a magnetic rake similar to Avi’s sled. The NOAA’s expedition found two small spherules that they were able to prove that they were of meteoritic origin. In short they are fusion crust material, the exterior that gets stripped off the meteorite during entry. There has been some criticism that Loeb’s expedition is hopeless and meteoritic material can’t ever be located on the ocean floor and recovered, but the NOAA already did it years ago with the same methods and indeed the leader of the NOAA expedition was an advisor to the Loeb expedition early on.
IM1 itself was strange for a meteorite from the outset. There were actually two data sets used to constrain where the meteorite fell, the CNEOS catalog and data from a seismic station located on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. The data constrained the object’s impact site down to around a square kilometer search area.
Initially the magnetic sled returned fragments of tool steel and platinum bearing wire as I reported on a few days ago, but since that time, it’s gotten significantly more interesting. It’s now yielding what appear to be melted meteoritic spherules. These look similar to the NOAA samples in that they are molten metallic spheres, though somewhat smaller than the two spheres from the NOAA, less than a millimeter.
One of the strange aspects of IM1 is that the data shows that the object was significantly harder than a normal iron meteorite in composition, leading to one possibility being that it was of artificial origin. But either way, these melted spherules have an anomalous composition, both for any alloys we make use of here on earth, but also for meteorites. No meteorite has ever been found with a composition like this. Iron meteorites originating in the solar system invariably contain a significant but varying percentage of nickel. These metals go hand in hand in asteroid formation, and if that’s the case then we’ll need to reexamine the world’s meteorite collections for nickel poor falls that may also be of interstellar origin. So this discovery is potentially as important for meteoritics as it is for astrobiology.
To date, as of the production of this video, Loeb reports 31 spherules so far found. Further they have a composition of mostly iron, but with around a ten percent addition of magnesium and titanium. Loeb also reports one spherule features the rare element indium in a ten percent concentration, which is unheard of for a meteorite, but reports on that will need further clarification through the use of a university level spectrometer, which is actually planned directly after the expedition concludes. In fairness, Indium was used in aircraft engine manufacturing during world war II.
Also isotope data will help establish if these are indeed from an origin outside the solar system. We’ll know far more about these samples within days, and anyone can visit Dr. Loeb’s blog chronicling the project, link in the description below.
And yet another mostly iron fragment of a whopping three grams was recovered, that seems to be consistent with the composition of the spherules. Also the distribution of the recovery of these materials matches the predicted path, size and distribution expected from IM1. There are actually several independent ways that can come together for a case that these spherules are from the interstellar object.
The first is the distribution of particle sizes is consistent with that of a meteoric fireball, smaller spherules near the explosion site, leading to larger spherules the closer you get to the main mass. The samples are so close in composition that they suggest a single source origin, but are distributed over a wide enough area to be consistent with a fireball. And a second expedition is already being planned to use 30 kilohertz sonar to search for the main mass of IM1, whatever that may be.
So with all of these developments, what are the possibilities for what is going on here? If there are objects of interstellar technological origin, or at least non-human origin, in human hands then what exactly put them there. This is where things get spooky. Often first contact is seen as shaking hands with a friendly Vulcan or getting a radio signal telling you how to go visit the aliens but the reality of it may be far different, and a case can be made that it would look exactly like what we’re apparently seeing unfold. But only in a specific scenario. Again, we come to the time question.
Biological beings like humans only live a finite time, and have very human concerns such as reproduction, raising kids, taking vacations, and generally trying to make the best of our experience for the short time we have. We’re not really built for long space voyages. We evolved to be born, live and die on earth. Interstellar space we can do, but not without much longer lifespans and a dramatic change in what we value.
As a result, we sometimes go to space, typically for short periods, but other than earth orbit and the moon a human has not set foot on another planet in the solar system, much less outside of it. What we have done however is explored the solar system with machines. And it pays to remember here, every piece of technology we send out into space either becomes junk and crashes into a planet. The idea of spacecraft being abandoned or intentionally crashed into a world is exactly what we do.
Recovering a few hundred kilograms of titanium and silicon isn’t worth the expense for us, and even historic equipment such as the James Webb Space Telescope will end up dead and wandering the solar system, Hubble will eventually deorbit and burn up if we don’t intentionally retrieve it, and Voyager 2 is on its way out of the solar system carrying a gold record put there just in case someone found it as space trash or it crashed into a planet and somehow survived. And even if it did, would an alien have hearing? Would an alien be able to invent a turntable to listen to the Chuck Berry song and Mozart? Maybe not, and the gesture was symbolic in intent, but at the same time it shows that as humans we intentionally crash things into planets, abandon things, and send out our technology in the form of gold plated records. So why would it seem strange or unusual if an alien civilization does that to us and things fall to earth not of our making? But a scenario can be weaved here that is much darker and more nefarious. As I said before, if we do indeed live in an age of an alien presence here, and that’s a huge if, then something’s wrong. This phenomenon of crashing into earth is new.
Ancient peoples and this persists to this day, knew metal when they saw it. We know of meteorite daggers in the ancient world, and things like the Stone of Emesa that in the Greco roman period which was known as an omphalos. Strange stones, claimed to have been disgorged by Zeus to land on earth. So much note was taken of these stones that some them may have been meteorites, enshrined in temples. They were also known as Baetylus stones, sacred rocks, some of which were likely meteorites that were dedicated to various Gods. So much so that the idea of a marble altar in a church, as we think of them today, may stretch back to this idea.
This idea in the Roman world was so prevalent, that the insane emperor Elagabalus had the stone of Emesa moved to Rome and put in a special shrine where he reportedly worshiped it with deep, but insane devotion. He was murdered by the Praetorian guard in Rome, and the stone sent back only to disappear in history. But herein perhaps is a lesson. Only one of these stones has proveably been found in the archeological record. Known as the cult stone of the sanctuary of Aphrodite Paphia in Cyprus, In the 19th century Archeologists excavating the temple found a deliberately buried stone in an area of carved out bedrock. There are a number of mentions of this stone in the greco-roman period literature, and even depictions on Roman coinage of the conical stone sitting inside the temple.
For many years in modern times, it was claimed that this stone was a meteorite, which now resides in a museum in Cyprus. Despite the claims, this stone is not a meteorite but of a known geologic type of stone found in the area of a certain mountain in Cyprus. Just because we think something might be of alien origin, doesn’t mean it necessarily is. Oddly though, in the case of the cult stone, it seems to have been modern wishful thinking, rather than anything the Greeks and Romans believed. The famous roman historian Tacitus actually described the stone accurately as to what it looks like today, but noted that the open air altar never got wet during rains, but why a stone was used in place of a proper statue of Aphrodite was not known.
He seems to have found the origins of the whole thing obscure. That said, no source during the period the temple existed says anything about the rock being from space. That aside, there’s plenty of meteoritic material in the archeological and historical record.
Anything that falls from the sky is noticed by humans, at least if they saw it fall, or if it were made of materials that proved useful, such as metal. We had iron from meteorites before we had iron smelting. Meteoritic iron was used by many different peoples in making spears and knives. Two examples of this are the peoples of Namibia that over the centuries used the Gibeon meteorite for spear points. This was a huge fall that makes up a significant portion of meteorite jewelry that’s sold today from pieces recovered in modern times with metal detectors. Another example were points created by the native peoples of Greenland that were aware of the Cape York Iron meteorite.
So where are the truly strange materials in the archeological record? There are reported anachronistic artifacts in the fringe, but they never hold up to scrutiny. One particularly famous one is the so called wedge of Auid. Claims have been made that the object, which was reportedly found in a construction site alongside a pair of mastodon bones, is anachronistic because it’s made of aluminum, which doesn’t really occur in a native or free form in nature, and we weren’t able to smelt it until 1825. The problem is that it’s the exact shape of a tooth of a soviet era excavator bucket. It’s composed of 2000 series duralumin, which is the material used in coal mining because it doesn’t spark, and can be comparable in strength to steel.
The problem is that it oxidizes rapidly, giving the appearance of being older than it was. Romania once had a coal mining industry, but experienced a decline causing these excavator buckets to be sold off to construction contractors who repurposed them. In other words, it’s a tooth that broke off the bucket when the mastodon bones were found and is simply a case of mistaken identity. But it’s worse than that.
What we should see are huge amounts of plastic, titanium, aluminum, and materials that mystify us that we don’t yet know how to make from historic and prehistoric UFO crashes. We don’t see it, so if there is something alien to this, which as a skeptic I still think is unlikely, then whatever it is, it’s new. Maybe it’s always been here, but it seems clear it changed its behavior sometime around the lead up to world war II. Why would it do that? So the one way that fits within physics as we know it for this to happen is a probe.
You send out a robot to cross the vast distance of space, or from a passing star, to station itself in a star system that hosts an inhabited exoplanet. Then you sit there collecting data, and if you can self repair you can do it indefinitely. Then you watch and wait. As the world you are watching develops a civilization, you change your tactics.
You simply take pictures of dinosaurs and and get samples. But when that exoplanet reaches intelligence, then you watch closer from a different position. When the species of interest reaches a level of intelligence to create a nuclear detonation, you take even more interest, to evoke stargate, the harnessing of the atom was noted by Ra. You might send expendable probes to watch this unfold, and if someone on earth spotted them, then there is the UFO sighting. The tech might seem incomprehensible and weird, but only because of the Arthur C. Clarke problem.
It’s so advanced that you can’t quite process it because it’s outside of your current technological paradigm. But say it were salting technology, objects abandoned or crashed for a purpose. The intent to be to lead that civilization in back engineering and subsequent technological development. Say you are an artificial intelligence originally tasked by your biological creators to uplift and dictate the development of civilizations in the galaxy.
So you do that by seeding technology at the moment it’s appropriate. Then that might look something like whatever the UFO phenomenon is. A sort of slow reveal by an alien AI big brother. Except in our case, if you examine the really strange cases, the phenomenon sometimes looks irrational. In which case it’s not just a zoo hypothesis scenario, but that the zoo keeper is insane.
Perhaps its original intent was to watch earth’s development, much like a nature photographer would do capturing the behavior of elephants and lions, and then when a technological species shows up watch it carefully, and when it gets to nuclear technology begin to interact with it and then seed back engineerable technology to it at the very moment it starts getting close to generalized artificial intelligence. Do we live in a universe where a damaged, war torn von neumann probe that watched earth for millions of years, lies in the solar system experiencing AI hallucinations, and accumulated cosmic ray damage having left it a shell of its former self irrationally interacting with us in a still quasi-scientific state, but it’s not quite right anymore, and is growing worse as the eons pass. Yet it remains all powerful. For this reason, I do not want to believe. And maybe the US government doesn’t either.
Thanks for listening! I am futurist and science fiction author John Michael Godier currently contemplating on whether I should buy a Fox Mulder UFO poster with the words I do NOT want to believe for the Event Horizon studio with a matching poster of a microbe at Europa with the I Do want to believe mantra on it. Who am I kidding, ANNA and the possum don’t let me have nice things and be sure to check out my books at your favorite online book retailer and subscribe to my channels for regular, in-depth explorations into the interesting, weird and unknown aspects of this amazing universe in which we live.