Monday, August 2, 2021

Project Galileo

Project Galileo

Or to give it its full name, "The Galileo project for the Systematic Scientific Search for Evidence of Extraterrestrial Technological Artifacts."

Background

In 2017, an object which originated in interstellar space, which we named Oumuamua, Hawaiian for "a messenger from afar arriving first," made a brief passage through our solar system. As at 2021 it is currently crossing the orbit of the planet Neptune. It had been estimated that such an interstellar object would pass through the solar system around once a year. Based on astronomical observations there were some suggestions that it may not have been a natural object. 

https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/asteroids-comets-and-meteors/comets/oumuamua/in-depth/

Referring to the release of the UAP Task Force report on UAP, the Galileo website states:

"...the  scientific community now needs the determination to systematically, scientifically and transparently look to potential evidence of extraterrestrial technological equipment."

Aim

"The Galileo Project research group will aim to identify the nature of UAP and Oumuamua-like interstellar objects..."

Avenues of research

1. Obtain high-resolution, multi-detector UAP images. Discover their nature.

2. Search for an in-depth research on Oumuamua-like interstellar objects.

3. Search for potential Extraterrestrial Technological Civilization Satellites.

Further details 

1. "A search will be made for UAP using a network of mid-sized, high-resolution telescopes and detector arrays. Data will be open to the public. Extensive Artificial Intelligence analysis. Each scope will be part of an array of 'orthogonal and complimentary capabilities from radar, Doppler radar and high-resolution synthetic aperture radar to high-resolution large camera visible range and infrared band telescopes."

2. "Existing and future astronomical surveys will be utilized to discover and monitor interstellar visitors."

3. "Initially, AI object recognition and fast filtering methods will be applied to non-orbital telescopes."

Ave Loeb

Funding of US$1.755  million was behind the project. The lead scientist, Avi Loeb. is Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science, Harvard Astronomy Department. Director, Institute for Theory and Computation, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Founding Director, Black Hole Imitative (BHI), Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. 

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/astronomer-avi-loeb-says-aliens-have-visited-and-hes-not-kidding1/

In 2021, Loeb published a book titled "Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth." In the book he outlines an hypothesis that the object was perhaps a piece of alien technology. 

Image courtesy of Amazon books

In an opinion piece in the "Scientific American" dated 22 June 2021, Loeb set forth his views on a possible link between UAP and Oumuamua.

Scientific American

In a 27 July 2021 article by Adam Mann in the "Scientific American," Mann stated:

"...Loeb says he was contacted by many people interested in UFOs...several of those people turned out to be both wealthy and generous, gifting him with large sums of money to use for further, more formal, investigations."

"The project has assembled a wide array of technicians, instrumentalists and other scientists as part of it research team. It is currently backed by four affluent individuals who mainly made their money developing individual equipment for chemistry applications, among them chemist and entrepreneur Frank H. Laukien."

Team and associates

The Galileo website lists:

1. The names and brief bio of members of its research team. 

As might be expected the research team is composed of individuals with backgrounds in engineering, astrophysics, astronomy, computing, chemistry, 

2. The names and a brief bio of the project's Science Advisory Board.

This board is composed of individuals with backgrounds in astronomy, instrumentation, physics, SETI, venture capitalism, and mathematics. 

3. The names of the Philanthropic Advisory Board.

4.  The names of Research Affiliates.

This list features individuals with backgrounds in law, public and international affairs, film making, cyber security, mechanical engineering, data engineering, and other fields. 

For those of us interested in UAP there are a number of names which UAP researchers will recognize, these are:

Christopher Altman listed as "Vice President of Science and Technology (Space) and Director of Special Projects for UAPx. The UAPx website says that it is "Searching for unidentified aerial phenomena through technosignatures in our skies."

Chris Cogswell, "Chair, Scientific Advisory Board of Skyhub: PhD, Chemical Engineering, Northeastern university.

Jeremy McGowan, "Team member UAPx."

Robert Powell, "Executive Board member, Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies."

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Some old Australian cases located in CUFOS files

Barry Greenwood

Over the last few years, U.S. Boston based researcher and historian Barry Greenwood, and others, have been undertaking the large task of scanning files held by the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS.) Barry last visited CUFOS in Chicago in 2019; and, from this visit,  has just assembled 1.32 Gb of data on 980 separate PDF files. In order to ensure several copies of this data exist in diverse locations, Barry has kindly shared these with a number of individuals including Melbourne based researcher Paul Dean and myself. 

Paul and I have just started the task of looking through the 980 PDFs. Naturally, living here in Australia, we were initially interested in Australian material. As with any batch of sightings, some are more interesting than others. For the sake of posterity I will list details of cases found. 

February or March 1951, Flinders Naval Depot, Melbourne, Victoria.

This file consists of two pages of hand written letter, dated 22 May 1971, sent to Peter Norris of the Victorian UFO Research Society, by a man, Geoffrey A G Wagstaff,  identifying himself as a former member of the Royal Australia Navy.

At around 1630hrs local time the witness stopped his car at the West gate of the Depot, and then observed a cylindrical object in the sky, travelling at high speed in a North-Westerly direction. The witness and a sentry watched for 5-6 seconds. There was 30% cloud cover at the time, 3,000 feet altitude. The cylinder was climbing at an angle of about 20 degrees, It seemed to accelerate, then disappear from view in the distance. There was no noise and no vapor trail.

3 May 1954, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.

The two page CUFOS file consists of a NICAP summary report form, with a typed set of notes at the end which stated that the sighting was reported to the U.S. Embassy in Canberra, and investigated by Donald Lamm, First Secretary (acting duty officer,) Dr. Paul Siple, Scientific Attaché, and Meredith Glenn and Hugh Fletcher of NASA. The source of this information is cited as Arthur L Label, Advisor on Telecommunications Negotiator, Telecommunications Division, State Department, Rm. 4826. 

Mr. and Mrs. Noel Hayden, at 0605hrs local time sighted two objects. One large, soft white light and one smaller pink or orange light. The first moved in a wobbly manner from WSW to ENE, turned NW and colided with a second, bounced and moved out of sight to the NNE. The second was stationary.

Comment: I have rarely seen any mention of UAP investigations by any embassy in Australia, so this is unusual. I found mentions of Donald Lamm, Paul Siple, and Hugh Fletcher on the Internet. Fletcher worked for NASA at the Honeysuckle Creek, A.C.T. Apollo telecommunications facility. 

I also located a multi-page Project Blue Book file on this event, which details the investigation by Embassy staff.

1964. Australia.

The file is two pages in length and consists of a sightings report work sheet and a handwritten letter from a Phil Savage of Newcastle, New South Wales dated 27 November 1969.

The letter recounts a sighting of strange lights when Savage was aged ten. It was a fair sized light which illuminated the surroundings and the road he was on. "The object swooped down from the sky in front of us and passed close overhead of our car(100 feet in the air) and must have going at one hell of a speed for when we looked out the back window it wa gone (after about a second) from our sight. The object seemed to be a fiery ball emitting a very bright white light (rather like magnesium.) Also it made no noise."

12 June 1964 . Near Melbourne, Victoria.

This is a three page file consisting of a sighting cover sheet and a newspaper articled dated 17 June 1964, from the "Mountain District and Knox Free Press."

At 1758hrs local time, people in two separate cars reported seeing an object over Hallam, visible for 4-5 minutes. Initially stationary it took off after a while. It had a red light in the front and a dim white light at the rear. Neither were flashing., it travelled west to east before curving south.

1965? Normanton, Queensland. 

This 3 page file consists of a letter, dated 18 August 1965, from a Mrs. D. Ringland of Gladstone, and a reply to her. There is a reference to a previous letter which is not on this file.

Craft seen standing on four legs with wheels and an occupant (midget.) Night.

July 1965 Gelorup, Western Australia.

This file is 10 pages in length, a report by Unexplained Phenomena Investigations Bureau of Western Australia, dated July 1977.

Noel Jones, 32, of Eaton, at 2100hrs local time, for 15-20 minutes, and another witness reported seeing, on the ground, 400 yards away, which then rose to about 50 feet altitude. It made no noise. The nearest they got to the object was 150 yards to the west of their house. It disappeared over the horizon. It lit up the tree tops and ground as it went away.

15 July 1965. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.

This file is 62 pages long and consists almost exclusively of newspaper articles about this classic sighting, which by all data appears to be a daylight observation of the planet Venus. The sighting made news around the world.

At 1100hrs local time a metallic looking, silvery light was seen "hovering" over the Canberra airport to the North East at an angle of 20-30 degrees elevation. Air Traffic Control staff saw it. After 40 minutes it was lost to view.

18 August 1969. Balcomba Station, near Rockhampton, Queensland.

Three page undated letter sent to the Queensland Flying Saucer Research Bureau. At 0615hrs local time before sunrise,  on a fine day with scattered clouds, a man was driving when he saw, at 40 degrees elevation, travelling to the SSE for 8.5 minutes a small light with a bright red trail. It dipped down, hovered, then took off again.

12 February 1976. to 14 April 1976. Maydena, Tasmania.

Between February and April 1976 there were at least nine separate occasions of sightings in a small Tasmanian locality reported to the Tasmanian UFO Investigation Centre. Newspaper reports spoke of hundreds of people who had observed lights in the sky. On all  but one  occasion there were two lights reported, red to orange in colour. Various reporters said they heard an associated humming sound. Investigation by TUFOIC personnel failed  to determine a conventional explanation. 

This 56 pages of documents provides report forms; investigation notes and newsclippings.

17 February 1976. Tarraleah to Berriedale, Tasmania.

At 0300hrs local time two witnesses were in a truck and were followed for 3.5 hours by a bright white domes shape with orange lights It appeared to come close to the truck at one stage. No noise. It was a fine moonlit night. Nine pages of papers. 

23 March 1976. Australind, Western Australia.

At 1855hrs two witnesses reported observing an object in the western sky. As they watched it seemed to develop an upright central section that looked like the distant mast of a sailing ship. It approached them. Estimated as 6 km away over the Indian Ocean. There was no noise. It receded at speed till it disappeared. Two pages of documents.

29 April 1976. Eaton, Western Australia.

At 0045hrs local  time one witness reported seeing a pale green fluorescent light in the sky which sped noiselessly away. Two pages of papers. 

30 March 1976. No location mentioned.

At 2220hrs two witnesses reported seeing lights. Large star-like red lights. Pulsing. Viewed through binoculars Moved off in southerly direction. Lost to view. Four pages of papers. 

30 April 1976. Between Douglas Park and Maldon,  New South Wales.

A man stopped his car and watched an initially stationary object which he described as triangular with two apex lights. It seemed only 200 feet above the ground and skimmed the top of trees but lost to sight after 1.5 minutes. The file has five pages. 

12 July 1976. Between Campbelltown and Natellan, NSW.

At 0550hrs local time a bright white light was seen in a paddock by a witness while driving, They shone their car lights onto the object which vanished, then reappeared/ The object seemed to emit a beam of light. At one point the object crossed the road only some 50 yards in front of the witness, at 200 feet up. It left to the west. Five pages of papers. 

Thursday, July 29, 2021

The recent SIGMA2 3AF French report on UAP

 The SIGMA2 technical commission of L'Association Aeronautique et Astronautique de France, (3AF for short) is a learned body of the aerospace industry in France. It recently published an important report on UAP, which the French refer to as Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena. This French publication was largely overlooked by the global UAP research community, due to the release of the U.S. Office of the Director of National intelligence report to the U.S. Congress.

On the 3AF website, can be found a 19 page English language summary of the much longer (377 page) French language report. To obtain a copy of the fuller French language report, click here. 

SIGMA2's mandate



"1. Undertake desk research and the creation of a database for investigators of data and documents whose authenticity has been established and quality assessed.

2. Build a scientific and technical network with first, building links with recognized institutions in the field of UAP, starting with CNES-GEIPAN.

3. Establish a selection of case studies from available databases to conduct technical investigations.

4. Initiate a reflection on the physical manifestations of these phenomena and their links with the physical sciences.

5. Establish an inventory of the means and techniques of observations and, starting from a physical analysis, make recommendations on the improvement of observation techniques."

What's in the report?

History of French data

"Regarding French data, SIGMA2 identified the origin of the surveys of UAP in France. They date back to 1951 with the opening of the MOC (Mysterious celestial objects) file by the Air Force Scientific Research Office, followed in 1954 by Ministerial Directive 267/EMFA/A/BS/ DR on MOC."

The report summary then provides details of recent U.S. initiatives, and the pre-release discussion of what would be in the UAOP Task Force report to Congress.

U.S. private groups?

"However, at the end of 2017, SIGMA2 questioned itself on the 3AF/SIGMA2 site about this shift in American communications  policy and its purpose. Was it the work of private groups?...Are these completely unknown phenomena, are they foreign incursions?"

U.K. report

Referring to the U.K. Department of Defence report, Project Condign, the French report summarizes the U.K. report's conclusion as:

"The work concludes that there are no proven risks, particularly for air traffic and defense,  by emphasizing the possible origins of these phenomena in connection with atmospheric plasmas of natural origin."

China

SIGMA2 notes that the People's Republic of China (PRC) responded to the Pentagon's report, by describing "...a similar observations of regular incursions into Chinese airspace..."

Contacts

SIGMA2 has established links with CNES-GEIPAN; French Air and Space Force; the Service Historique de la Defense; the Institute of Celestial Mechanics and Ephemeris Calculation of the Paris Observatory (who have a network of cameras networked with HF receivers); the Chilean CEFAA; and private U.S. groups NARCAP and the SCU; plus the Argentinian CEFAE.

SIGMA2 also jointly organized a November 2020 symposium on the theme "IR-radar cross views of UAP."

Case selection

SIGMA2 is particularly interested in cases with physical data; and selected cases from the GEIPAN database; the U.K. Ministry of Defense files, and American archives.

Regarding the 2004 U.S.S. Nimitz case:

 "...we were unable to conduct a study due to lack of data, as the IR video is insufficient without context data, or distance measurements. We have made an inventory of technologies studied by the U.S. Navy to explain, according to some, the IR and radar video recordings of objects moving at high speeds. These are, for example, filament plasma lasers or UAVs carrying jammers. According to the available data and our analyses, these advanced technologies cannot explain the observed nature of the kinematics and radiation observed at great distances."

Physical elements

Part of the SIGMA2 study in this area concluded:

"...a summary was drawn up by a doctor, part of the SIGMA2 commission in order to establish a parallel between certain cases of UAP identified and knowledge on the effects of ionizing radiation or not on living beings. The inventory includes, for example, the effects of microwaves on tissues, heart rate, memory etc depending on the types and level of radiation."

"We also conclude to the possibility of buoying plasmas that exist in the atmosphere, similar to certain types of ball lightning or Earthlights related to seismic activity...However, according to our analyses the displacement of these plasmas cannot explain the cases of UAP observed with high speeds and accelerations..."

Recovered materials

Studies by SIGMA2:
"...in the documents identifying the analysis of supposedly recovered materials raise several  questions. What are the ejecta of metals in the liquid state? What would their function be? Would they play a role in the propulsion system using nuclear energy?"

Observations

SIGMA2 took a look at systems that monitor air traffic and space.

"Observations of UAP is not a taboo for the French Air and Space Force, which has proceeded to identify cases and provide the data to GEIPAN, when saved...The Air and Space Force is open to provide data but many missions to complete and case UAP observed are almost non-existent..."

The way ahead

"...new technologies and means of observation are gradually being deployed and giving rise to hope for new data collection."

"Likewise, it is necessary to involve physicists in order to compare the analytical data and the physical hypotheses..."

"Assuming increase scientific interest and a willingness to share data, holding an international scientific workshop on type D PAN cases would be desirable."

 In conclusion

The report concluded:

"It seems that some cases are beyond known science and may prompt research into extensions of known laws or lead to other discoveries, confirming alternative theories now qualified as speculation."

Monday, July 19, 2021

Did the U.S.S. Bainbridge have an encounter with a UAP in 2017? - ship deck logs checked

The Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies presentation

In an August 2019 presentation to the SCU, U.S. researcher Rich Hoffman mentioned that there had been two earlier alleged UAP encounters involving U.S. Naval ships. These ships were the U.S.S. Boxer, in 1998, and the U.S.S. Bainbridge in 2017. 

Other mentions of this was made on reddit/ufo; where a comment stated that "Note this was confirmed by Elizondo in this interview today" with another comment stating "Also note, that Elizondo acknowledged that he had heard of these encounters but did not confirm any details regarding said encounters."

Follow up

In March 2021, in attempting to follow up details of either ship's encounters, I contacted Rich Hoffman. I asked if he had any further details on the two events he cited, but he advised that he did not. He stated that the original source of his scanty information had been Luis Elizondo. 

I decided to see if I could locate relevant deck logs for the more recent Bainbridge encounter. But for what date in 2017?  U.S.S. Bainbridge (DDG-96) is a guided missile destroyer, with a home base of Naval Station Norfolk on the Atlantic coast of the U.S.A.


Deck logs

I reasoned that as all other U.S.N. ship encounters had been during training exercises that I would focus on those times for 2017. A search of the internet led me to choose three months of 2017, namely, June, July and October when the ship was definitively on exercises. So, in March 2021, I submitted an FOIA request to the U.S.N. for the Bainbridge's deck logs for those three months. 

On 17 July 2021, I received a final decision response to FOIA request DON-NAVY-2021-004939, and was granted copies of the deck logs with certain redactions (of the names of U.S.N. personnel.)The deck logs consisted of 760 pages. As you can imagine it took quite some time to comb through 760 pages looking for relevant details, such as whether or not observations of UAV/Drones etc. were recorded, or whether or not SNOOPIE teams were called out to make observations. 

What was the result?

I found no trace of any recording of the observation of UAV/UAP etc. in the deck logs. There were, however, numerous instances where the ship's SNOOPIE teams had been called out. I list these below:

1. 7 June 2017, 1745 hrs local time. "Away snoopie team away port side." However, this was during the time the ship was involved in a search and rescue and a yellow flotation device was observed.

2. 24 July 2017. 1500hrs. "Away snoopie team away port side."

3. 25 July 2017. 1413hrs. "Away the snoopie team: Gold team. MAN SCAT."

4. 26 July 2017. 1606hrs. "Away snoopie team (Blue team) VTBDVIDE."

5. 27 July 2017. 1437hrs. "Away snoopie team Gold team. Stbd. side."

6. 28 July 2017. 1213hrs. "Away snoopie team Gold team STBD side."

7. 29 July 2017. 1733hrs. "Away snoopie team away port side."

8. 20 October 2017. 1111hrs. "Away snoopie team stbd side."

9. 22 October 2017. 1825hrs. "Away snoopie team: Port side."

Summary 

In short, if there was a UAP encounter by the U.S.S. Bainbridge in June, July or October 2017, the deck logs for June, July and October 2017 provide little information about it. Of course, if an encounter did happen during 2017, it might simply have been during one of the other nine months of the year. 

What we really need is further data on the event, starting with at least the month; then the relevant month's deck log could be FOId, as I already did for three months in 2017. Has any reader, any additional information which could assist us? The same goes, for the U.S.S. Boxer event, said to have happened in 1998. We lack the month it happened. To my knowledge no one has submitted an FOIA request for the Boxer's deck logs to see if the event can be confirmed. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

The Australian Department of Defence - what assets might detect UAP?

Freedom of Information Act request

On 16 June 2021, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Australian Department of Defence (DOD.) My request asked:

"I wish to obtain copies of emails generated by the Australian Department of Defence, between 1 January 2021 and 16 June 2021, which refer to the terms "Unidentified drone;" "Unidentified aircraft;" "Unidentified object;" or "Unidentified aerial phenomena."

My rationale for submitting the above FOIA request was that, earlier in June 2021, I had submitted a series of UAP related questions to the media section of the Australian Department of Defence. Their response was: 

"Defence does not have a protocol that covers recording or reporting of unidentified aerial phenomena/unidentified flying object sightings."

My FOIA request, simply aimed to see if there were indeed internal communications about such phenomena, which the media section had been unable to obtain.

Preparation before submitting FOIA

While I was preparing my FOIA request, I examined the organisational structure of the Australian Department of Defence, looking to find out where the most likely sections were, which might encounter "Unidentified aircraft;" "Unidentified drones;" "Unidentified objects;" or "Unidentified aerial phenomena."

I identified the most likely area to be the "Surveillance & Response Group." This includes the Headquarters  Surveillance & Response Group (RAAF Williamtown.) Here we find Headquarters No. 41 Wing (Williamtown); Headquarters No. 42 Wing ( (Williamtown;) Headquarters No. 44 Wing (Williamtown) and Headquarters No. 92 Wing (Edinburgh.)

HQ No. 41 Wing has under it:

* No. 1 Remote Sensor Unit (1RSU) (Edinburgh)

* No. 3 Control & Reporting Unit (3CRU) (Williamtown)

* No. 114 Mobile Control & Reporting Unit (114MCRU) (Darwin)

* Surveillance & Control Training Unit (Williamtown.)

HQ No. 42 Wing has under it:

* No. 2 Squadron - (Williamtown) 

* No. 10 Squadron (Edinburgh) RAAF Martime patrol squadron

HQ No. 44 Wing has under it:

* No. 452 Squadron (Darwin) - Air traffic control unit

* No. 453 Squadron (Williamtown) - Air traffic control unit

HQ No. 92 Wing has under it:

* No. 11 Squadron (Edinburgh) - Maritime patrol squadron

* No. 292 Squadron (Edinburgh) - Martime training squadron.

Taking a closer look at some of the above is illuminating, and provides detail of Australian RAAF surveillance capacities, over land, over sea, and in space.

No. 1 Remote Sensor Unit 

No. 1 Remote Sensor Unit (IRSU) is based at RAAF base Edinburgh in South Australia. Its role is radar surveillance and Space Situational Awareness. It does this via a range of sensors;

1. JORN is  collection of three over-the-horizon radar systems, proving a coverage of between 1,000 and 3,000 kilometres from each radar site. It monitors the air and sea to the north of Australia. It is designed to detect air targets equal in size to a BAE Hawk - 127 aircraft, and a sea surface object 56 metres, or longer. The three transmission stations are located near Longreach, Queensland; near Laverton, Western Australia; and near Alice Springs in the Northern territory.



2. C-band radar.  This is located at the Harold E. Holt Naval Communications Station, in Exmouth, Western Australia. It commenced operation in 2017, and is the first southern hemisphere low earth orbit sensor system as part of the U.S. Space Surveillance Network. It is a joint Australian, U.S.A.F. initiative. It operates in the microwave frequency of 4-8 GHz. In 2017 the Australian Minister of Defence stated that the C-band system "...can accurately track several hundred objects a day and identify space debris and satellites."  

https://www.afspc.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1457949/c-band-holt-radar-one-year-on/

3. The RAAF Space Surveillance Telescope (SST)

https://news.defence.gov.au/capability/keeping-eye-space-traffic


The SST became operational in July 2021, and is also located at the Harold E. Holt Naval Communication Station, Exmouth, Western Australia. It is designed to look at any objects in earth orbit up to geosynchronous orbit. It has an aperture of 3.6 metres. It is a joint initiative of Australia and the U.S. Space Force. 

In 2020, the Chief of the RAAF, Air Marshall Leo Davies, "...said the telescope would increase the capacity to detect and track objects in order to manage threats, including space debris and predict and avoid potential collisions." 

As can be seen from the above, the Australian Department of Defence has a variety of very sophisticated sensors which can reach out to long distances to Australia's north; and into Earth orbit up to geosynchronous distances, 36,000 kilometres above the Earth.

In a USAF Peterson Air Force Base fact sheet titled 1RSU Space Systems, I found the following:

"1RSU is the only operation unit charged with enhancing the ADFs Space presence and Space Situational Awareness (SSA). This is achieved with the C-band radar, Space Based Infrared System - Australian Mission Processor (SBIRS-AMP) and in future, Space Surveillance Telescope (SST)

Later, the fact sheet elaborates on the SBIRS-AMP. 

"SBIRS is a constellation of satellites containing Infra-red (IR) sensors to provide early warning and intelligence collection to achieve their missions. This constellation includes Defence Support Program (DSP) satellites, first launched in 1970. SBIRS Geostationary (GEO) satellites first launched in 2011 and SBIRS - Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO) satellites. Downlinked data is processed via the SBIRS-AMP at 1 RSU."

Databases - air safety considerations

The other area which I though there might be some data available is in terms of DOD aviation safety. I determined from my Melbourne colleague Paul Dean that there were two relevant systems, namely the Defence Aviation Reporting System and the Defence Aviation hazard Reporting & Tracking System.  

The Department of Defence FOIA response

On 13 July 2021 I received a two page response from Group Captain, M. A. Kelton. Part of the response described the efforts that they went to to respond to my request. I quote from the DOD FOIA response.

"7. To ensure that all reasonable steps have been taken in this request, every practical avenue of locating the documents have been exhausted. Searches were conducted by 41 Wing (3CRU and 1RSU), 42 Wing, 44 Wing (452 and 453 Squadrons), and 92 Wing personnel who performed electronic searches for information matching the scope of this request, and no records were found.

8. Searches were made for emails bearing the words and/or phrases "Unidentified drone;" "Unidentified aircraft;" "Unidentified object" and "Unidentified aerial phenomena" for the period 1 January 2021 and 16 June 2021. Email record searches on the Protected and Secret networks included those of Flight Commanders, Operations staff, Wing and Unit Air Safety Officers, Air Traffic Control (ATC) Tower staff, and Air Battle Managers on duty during this period. Particular emphasis was made in searching email databases at RAAF bases Darwin, Tindal, Amberley, Oakey, Edinburgh, Williamtown, East Sale and Richmond. Searches for emails matching the criteria were also made within the Defence electronic filing system (Objective) of Surveillance & Response Group. The search criteria was also entered into the Defence Aviation Safety System and the Defence Aviation Hazard Reporting and Tracking System."

"10. Based on the above, I am satisfied that all reasonable steps have been taken to locate the documents sought by the applicant. I am satisfied that the documents do not exist..." 

Paul Dean's earlier Australian DOD FOIA research 

 For anyone wishing to examine the results of earlier (from 2015) FOIA requests made to the Australia DOD, I would strongly recommend you take a look at:

The Royal Air Force's "Contacts of interest." 

Obtaining Actual "Contacts of Interest" from the  Royal Australian Air Force

Paul Dean was able to establish that the Australian parallel to the U. S. terminology of "uncorrelated targets" was "contacts of interest" and was able to obtain 41 Wing documents describing the "contacts of interest" process. 



In conclusion

As does the U.S.  Department of Defense, the Australian Department of Defence, via the sensor systems described above, has the ability to detect unusual or anomalous targets in its detection systems. If it does record such targets, then, based on my FOIA response these are not labelled "Unidentified drone;" "Unidentified aircraft:" "Unidentified object" or "Unidentified aerial phenomena." 

Paul Dean's work showed that the JORN system picks up what the DOD label as "contacts of interest." Naturally, most of these will turn out, upon investigation, to be tracks of illegal aircraft bringing in drugs, or being used by people smugglers, or for other illegal activities. Aircraft entering Australian airspace for illegal purposes go from being "contacts of interest" to "Unauthorised aircraft movements" (UAM.)

It is possible that other, more anomalous targets might be picked up from time to time. However, for the moment, there is no direct evidence that the DOD has any interest in these. 

Monday, July 12, 2021

NASA and UAP - an updated official statement is available

Politico article 

On 10 June 2021 Politico published an article by Bryan Bender, which reported on an interview with NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. One of the items discussed was UAP. I found the discussion of sufficient interest, that I reproduce that part of the article below.

"You have directed your top scientist to investigate military reports of unmanned aerial phenomenon.

A couple of years ago, as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I was briefed on what those Navy pilots saw, and I have talked to the Navy pilots. They are quite convinced. And these are realistic folks. This isn't some UFO tin-foil hat kind. These are pilots who locked their radar on it. They tracked and then they saw it move so fast that they couldn't believe it. And then they went and tracked it again, locked their radar on it in a new position. So there's some phenomenon that we need to explain.

Why NASA?

NASA is a natural place. Part of NASA's science mission is the search for extraterrestrial life (SETI.) When we bring a sample back from Mars...what we'll be looking at is, are there any examples of fossils thagt might indicate that there were some kind of life, millions and millions of years ago.

Another example: We just had now a sample return on its ways from the asteroid Benna. In that sample, will we see anything in the elements that we get back that would indicate there are the composite elements that could have formed life?

So this is a serious effort by NASA, and it's been a mission of NASA. And therefore, me asking the top scientist here if he would focus some of his research on what might be the phenomenon that we are seeing - that the military pilots are -it all fits with NASA' mission for extraterrestrial intelligence.

How formal is your directive on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena?

It is formal  in the sense that the scientist that is the head of our science mission directorate, Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, I have had several conversations with him, most recently 10 minutes ago, about this very topic and about what he has been doing on SETI and now what he is further doing in an inquiry to see if we have any scientific explanation for some of this."

https://science.nasa.gov/about-us/leadership/Thomas-Zurbuchen


Current NASA statement on UAP

I searched the NASA website for any current statement about UAP that they might have made in recent times, given the above information from Bill Nelson. I found one that was updated as recently as 26 June 2021. The statement is headed: "FAQ: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs/UFOs.) As part of a series of questions about SETI is the following question and answer:

"Does NASA search for or study Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP)?

NASA does not actively search for UAPs. However, through our Earth-observing satellites, NASA collects extensive data about Earth's atmosphere, often in collaboration with the other space agencies of the world. While these data are not specifically collected to identify UAPs or alien technosignatures, they are publicly available and anyone may use them to search the atmosphere.

While NASA doesn't actively search for UAPs, if we learn of UAPs, it would open up the door ro new science questions to explore. Atmospheric scientists, aerospace experts and other scientists could all contribute to understanding the nature of the phenomenon.

Exploring the unknown in space is at the heart of who we are."

Other recent NASA statements on UAP

I then looked around for any other recent official NASA statements on UAP. An 8 June 2021 article by Paul Scott Anderson, on EarthSky.org contained a quote attributed to NASA Press Secretary Jackie McGuiness were she said:

"There's not really a lot of data and scientists should be free to follow these leads, and it shouldn't be stigmatized. This is a really interesting phenomenon and Americans are clearly interested in it [so if] scientists want to investigate, they should."

In a 5 June 2021 article by Gabriela Miranda on USA today.com,  another statement was attributed to NASA Press Secretary Jackie McGuiness, which was:

"NASA press secretary Jackie McGuiness said Nelson has not assembled a task force to begin studying UFOs. However, researchers were directed to continue exploring and studying the topic as they see fit according to CNN."

Dr. Zurbuchen

Duncan Phenix in a 3 June 2021 article on mysterywire.com reported on a 2 June 2021 press conference held by Bill Nelson and other NASA leaders.  Bill Nelson was asked about UAP and in turn asked Dr. Zurbuchen is he wished to comment. Zurbuchen stated:

"Yeah, look, I mean, I'm happy to in the realm of science, we're all about unidentified issues, and objects and whatever before, that's what we do. We find something with our observatories, looking at the sky, looking at the Earth, and we go analyze it. We have, you know, history is full of examples of things that were identified, or were referred to as UFOs, you know, some types of clouds, you know, phenomena, better phenomena that way.

And, for me, personally think that as we look at the molecular, you know, and the bacterial level, which is what we are really using the tools of science for, the kind of questions which focus on life elsewhere,, are, are very much in the realm of what we do using the tools of science. So we will do whatever we can to move our understanding forward. In many cases, I I wanted to just say what we learned so far in the last few decades is people tend to underestimate nature. Nature is an amazing place where a lot of miracles happen. That, you know, once we understand, it's like, why didn't we think of that? But the point is, there's amazing science pout there that remains to be discovered. We're committed to continue to do that, especially as we take on new tools, whether it's Jams Webb, whether it's, you know, you know, the Dragonfly outer missions, to look at life in other in other worlds."

It will be very interesting to see what, if anything, comes out of this directive of the current NASA Administrator, on UAP.  

Sunday, July 11, 2021

The USG and UAP - the way forward, and what it means to civilian UAP researchers

Background

In the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF) Preliminary Assessment Report there is mention of a UAP Collection Strategy; a UAP Research and Development Technical Roadmap, and a UAP Program Plan. Scattered throughout the report, and elsewhere, are clues at to what each of these will entail.

https://www.dni.gov/index.php/newsroom/press-releases/press-releases-2021/item/2223-UAP


UAP Collection Strategy

The report stated that:

"Limited data and inconsistency in reporting are key challenges to evaluating UAP."

Also that:

"Sociocultural stigma and sensor limitations remain obstacles to collecting data."

Solutions include:

"The UAPTF is currently working to acquire additional reporting, including from the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and has begun receiving data from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA.)

"Although USAF data collection has been limited historically, the USAF began a six-month pilot program in November 2020 to collect in the most likely areas to encounter UAP and is evaluating how to normalize future collection reporting..." 

Comment: Although we were aware that the United States Navy had issued guidelines for reporting UAP, to its personnel; until this Report came out, we were not aware that the USAF was supplying data to the UAPTF.

"The FAA captures data related to UAP during the normal course of managing air traffic operations. The FAA generally ingests this data when pilots and other airspace users report unusual or unexpected events to the FAA's Air Traffic organization."

"In addition, the FAA continuously monitors its systems for anomalies, generating additional information that may be of use to the UAPTF. The FAA is able to isolate data of interest to the UAPTF, and make it available. The FAA have a robust and effective outreach program that can help the UAPTF reach members of the aviation community to highlight the imperative of reporting UAP."

Comment: The civilian National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena (NARCAP)  has been doing an excellent job of encouraging civilian aircrew to report observations of UAP. Their website is full of intriguing aircrew sightings; and technical reports analyzing the collected data. It is a pity that the UAPTF doesn't link in with NARCAP, to utilize their existing resources and links with the aviation industry.

"The UAPTF is looking for novel ways to increase collection of UAP cluster areas when U.S. forces are not present. One proposal is to use advanced algorithms to search historical data captured  and stored by radars. The UAPTF also planes to update its current interagency UAP collection strategy in order to bring to bear relevant collection platforms and methods from the DoD and the IC."

Comment: Until fairly recently, civilian UAP researchers could obtain radar data for the date/time of sightings, from such agencies as the FAA. However, there have been recent instances where civilian UAP researchers have been denied access to relevant radar data.

Finally, from the Deputy Director of Defense came a directive:

"All members of the Department will utilize the processes to endure that the UAPTF or follow-up activity, has reports of UAP observations within two weeks of an occurrence."

UAP Research and Development Technical Roadmap

"The UAPTF has indicated that additional funding for research and development could further the future study of the topics laid out in this report."

"The UAPTF has begun to develop interagency analytical and processing workflow to ensure both collection and analysis will be well informed and coordinated."

Speaking about analysis:

"The initial focus will be to employ artificial intelligence/machine learning  algorithms to cluster and recognize similarities and patterns in features in the data points."

Comment: Many years ago US researcher Jacques Vallee, laid out a plan to use AI to weed out IFOs from UFOs.  To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science (TTSA) also revealed plans to use AI in conjunction with UAP collection processes. 

https://home.tothestarsacademy.com/#lp-pom-block-2561


UAP Program Plan

Kathleen Hicks, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum dated 25 June 2021 which directed the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security "to develop a plan to formalize the mission currently performed by the UAPTF."

"The Plan should:

1. Establish procedures to synchronize collection, reporting and analysis on the UAP problem set, and to establish recommendations for securing military test and training ranges.

2. Identify requirements for the establishment and operation of the new activity, to include the organizational alignments, resources and staffing required, as well as any necessary authorities and a timeline for implementation.

3. Be developed in coordination with the Principle Staff Assistants, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretaries of the Military Departments, and the DNI and other relevant interagency partners."

Comment:

The Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security (USD(I&S) is a civilian position currently held by the Hon. Ronald S. Moultrie.

The USD(I&S) is a Principle Staff Assistant and Advisor on intelligence, counterintelligence, security, sensitive activities and other intelligence-related matters.

It should be noted that this is the same area of the DoD, where the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) lay. 

What it means to civilian UAP researchers

With the United States government taking a lead position regarding UAP, I have seen some civilian UFO researchers on such platforms as Twitter, suggesting that there is no longer a role for themselves, in investigating UAP. I would suggest that there is definitely a role for us, going forward.

1. With certain elements of U.S. Congress now calling for formal Hearings on the topic, U.S. researchers need to keep up the pressure on their elected members of Congress, to ensure that Hearings are held, particularly public Hearings.

2. The Japanese Defense Ministry, after meeting with a U.S. Official announced that they are taking the subject of UAP seriously. On the other hand the British Defence Minister recently announced, after a debate in the House of Lords, that the U.K. will not be  be taking a fresh look at the topic of UAP. I obtained a statement from the Australian Department of Defence that they also have no protocols for collecting or investigating UAP and don't look like introducing anything like the U.S. has done. UAP researchers in other countries could contact their respective Departments of Defence and obtain their views on UAP.

3. Civilian researchers could also better use their respective country's Freedom of Information Acts (FOIA) to obtain relevant documentation. Despite there being hundreds of UAP commentators on such platforms as Facebook and Twitter, there still remains only a few dozen, at most, individuals actively pursuing information via the FOIA. 

In short, there is still a lot that civilian UAP researchers could be doing in future. 

Project Galileo

Project Galileo Or to give it its full name, "The Galileo project for the Systematic Scientific Search for Evidence of Extraterrestrial...