Friday, 25 October 2013

UFOs in the Wilderness?

Have you seen an unidentified flying object around your camp or something strange on the road? Really? What makes you think that those strange lights or odd things are truly something out of this world?

I have seen things that are difficult to explain; I am a pilot, you see, and in the sky some weird stuff appears from time to time - even distant lights moving in triangular formation among the stars, which I saw one night near El Bolsón, in Patagonia -, there is also unreported traffic, unseen by radar, and if you go outdoors, like I love to do, you can also see lights and other things that seem out of place even very low over the landscape.

I know other pilots that saw strange things as well, even military ones, officers with ranks like that of Coronel or Commodore, and also keep in mind tha anyone related to aviation has to pass a perdiodical exam, so we can be pretty sure that we are sane and have reasonably good vision and senses, but does that mean that aliens are visiting us? 

No, it does not. Strictly speaking, all that just means that from time to time people see seemingly odd things. It doesn't mean that aliens cannot be visiting us either because odds in purely scientific terms indicate that extraterrestrial civilizations should exist, but really, there is still no hard evidence of such visits.

I am not an "unbeliever" who stubbornly tries to dismiss "evidence" of UFO visits: In fact, I am taking part of the SETI@Home program for more than a decade and I even built a space flight simulator cockpit because I got bored of just flying aircraft, so I would love to know who is out there. But one thing is to have a reasonable and well-grounded preception of the (very) probable existence of intelligent life in other solar systems, and quite another is to believe that as a religious fact based on stuff that can hardly qualify as acceptable evidence in purely scientific terms.

The UFO topic is something that people like to discuss around a campfire much like stories of Poe or Lovecraft so, for the sake of your next debate session while camping, I invite you to read on. And by the way, the official explanation about those lights that I and a some more people saw on a Patagonian night was that they were coordinated satellites moving in formation.

I cannot accept that so easily but cannot dismiss it either. It was surely an odd thing because those lights were as distant as satellites - you can see orbiting objects also in the cold Patagonian nights - and they could indeed have been some of them, but they seemed to move in a somewhat jerky fashion and four people, including myself, saw the three lights in an inverted "L" formation; but then again, it could have been a perfectly natural, Earthly sight caused or distorted by an optical effect. As a frequent visitor of the upper troposphere I know both that strange things appear, and that normal things in the sky could be seen differently.

Even when you learn IFR (Instrument flight Rules) you are told not to guess things in low visibility based on what you think you see in the ground and above, but trust your instruments: A straight line, for example, might be confused with the horizon. You can imagine what comes next if you make that mistake.

Nevertheless, I hope that one day we find life outside Earth much as scientists finally found planets around other stars. It is just that those who are interested in UFOs should try to get, in general, a little more rigorous about the matter.

Myself, getting into Earth's orbit in my simulator.


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