Is Roswell Finally Dead?

Jim

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#33
An interesting critic concerning the Roswell incident. It's well thought out - not subject to sensationalism.
https://www.csicop.org/si/show/the_roswell_incident_at_70_facts_not_myths

Consider the distances and time involved for a trip to Earth from the nearest possible life supporting planet outside our solar systems. I.E.: "Proxima Centauri b" is one of the closest planets that's may have earth like properties. It's > 4.2 light year from earth = ~ 2.5 x E10^13 miles. Since nothing (with the possible exception of a few subatomic particles like Tachyon's) can even approach the speed of light =186,000 mile/ second, a trip to Earth is unlikely. Sci-Fi and some sensationalistic documentaries has dreamed up propulsion systems that can surpass the speed of light. However the engineering - scientific (nuts and bolts) for this are virtually nil.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proxima_Centauri_b
 

Coal

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#34
Consider the distances and time involved for a trip to Earth from the nearest possible life supporting planet outside our solar systems. I.E.: "Proxima Centauri b" is one of the closest planets that's may have earth like properties. It's > 4.2 light year from earth = ~ 2.5 x E10^13 miles. Since nothing (with the possible exception of a few subatomic particles like Tachyon's) can even approach the speed of light =186,000 mile/ second, a trip to Earth is unlikely. Sci-Fi and some sensationalistic documentaries has dreamed up propulsion systems that can surpass the speed of light. However the engineering - scientific (nuts and bolts) for this are virtually nil.
^this^
 

Cochise

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#35
SkepticalX,

...For whatever reason, I don't find Stevensville compelling at all. In the 21st century, you don't have football-field size UFOs without a single credible photo...

But people do believe Kenneth Arnold who reported seeing some objects from a distance of around 80 mile . And there was no picture of those either. Yet it was the case that more or less started the ufo movement.

I tend to agree that the size of the object reported at Stephensville aught to have drawn more attention. However there is quite a lot to this case.
At least as much as the Phoenix lights.

INT21

I'm surprised by the reliance you place on pictures.

First, pictures were pretty easily fake-able even in the chemical film days, and while some kinds of fakery back then were easily detectable, other kinds, especially on B/W film, were not. And nowadays no picture is remotely trustworthy.

Secondly, how many people will, when confronted with something utterly strange, have a first reaction of pulling out a camera and taking a picture? That may be changing, but as it goes hand in hand with the ability to manipulate images and also the poor and aberration filled lenses of phone cameras, I wouldn't trust a picture any more than verbal eye-witness reports.
 

eburacum

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#36
Sometimes pictures can help to identify the phenomenon in question. For instance the films of the Phoenix Lights show that they were distant flares. Yes, I know there were two events, but no-one filmed the 20:15 event. Perhaps if they had they could have been identified more easily.
 

INT21

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#37
Eboracum,

I linked to it because it held a reference to the radar plotting work that was done.

Skepticalx was condemning the sighting because of the dearth of pictures. One tends to overlook the other aspects of it.

INT21
 

eburacum

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#38
An interesting critic concerning the Roswell incident. It's well thought out - not subject to sensationalism.
https://www.csicop.org/si/show/the_roswell_incident_at_70_facts_not_myths

Consider the distances and time involved for a trip to Earth from the nearest possible life supporting planet outside our solar systems. I.E.: "Proxima Centauri b" is one of the closest planets that's may have earth like properties. It's > 4.2 light year from earth = ~ 2.5 x E10^13 miles. Since nothing (with the possible exception of a few subatomic particles like Tachyon's) can even approach the speed of light =186,000 mile/ second, a trip to Earth is unlikely. Sci-Fi and some sensationalistic documentaries has dreamed up propulsion systems that can surpass the speed of light. However the engineering - scientific (nuts and bolts) for this are virtually nil.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proxima_Centauri_b
As a proponent of interstellar travel, I have to disagree. If we discount the possibility of faster-than-light travel (which I do, emphatically) we are left with the prospects for slower-than-light travel. These require very large amounts of power, and very large-scale infrastructure- if we want to transport entities as complex as humans, with all their environmental requirements. Given a certain amount of luck our own civilisation should be capable building this sort of infrastructure, and of transporting humans and their supporting environment to Proxima within a thousand years. We should be capable of transporting robotic devices to the stars in a few hundred years.

Note that this sort of interstellar travel does not resemble the magical technology supposedly used by the UFOnauts; that sort of technology almost certainly does not, and cannot exist. If aliens came to our solar system they would be propelled by very powerful propulsion systems that would be detectable by a wide range of methods, not by wishes and superstition.
 

stu neville

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#40
..at which point someone has to mention the "dimensional" element, rapidly on the up as the next Fortean theory of everything. Look hard enough and it's cropping up all over the place. Am working on a thing about it (I know it appears that I'm working on lots of things atm, but actually it's only a couple of them, and the dimension thing is a lot of that.)
 

Coal

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#41
Given a certain amount of luck our own civilisation should be capable building this sort of infrastructure, and of transporting humans and their supporting environment to Proxima within a thousand years. We should be capable of transporting robotic devices to the stars in a few hundred years.
While the distances traversed look feasible on paper, you also have to factor in the odds of machine failures and being hit by or hitting something else (the same thing). I'd be surprised if the chances of getting a ship big enough to sustain a small group of people to something even as close as the nearest star, without colliding with something that causes fatal damage, are almost nil. They're pretty iffy for a trip to Mars, and if they don't make a compartmentalised ship with protocols limiting crew distribution, they're going to lose a few crews and ships.

Even for robots you need look at failure rates - for modern electronics they are not nearly as good as you might think. To get (for example) a 4000 component piece of electronics to an MTBF of 9,000 hours (as near as dammit a year) is nigh on impossible, and that before you factor in extreme cold and ionising radiation. Most modern electronics are covered with tiny discrete components to ensure (among other things) proper operation of the silicon, and the failure rates of those add up pretty fast.

You might even do better with simpler and older technology, Voyager has done surprisingly well...

..at which point someone has to mention the "dimensional" element, rapidly on the up as the next Fortean theory of everything. Look hard enough and it's cropping up all over the place. Am working on a thing about it (I know it appears that I'm working on lots of things atm, but actually it's only a couple of them, and the dimension thing is a lot of that.)
This might just be 'reaching' for the next 'You can't prove it's not...' gooj.

We're ticking off empirical reasons for the mysterious to be 'normal', cognitive biases, actual interstellar travel, no Loch Ness monster, (as the Loch simply can't sustain such a creature) and so on.

Humans are odd in that we view the world through a social lens, despite having sophisticated language skills and an understanding of empirical reasoning. We evolved by means of social interaction in small groups (30-40 say), which interaction provided the means for communication, cohesion, social dominance structures, showing the other proto-humans where the best fruit is and other things.

Language came after this, but we're still using that social lens with people and also use to to interpret the rest of the world, so ascribe social values to trees (dryads), water (naiads, Neptune etc), cars (which conveniently have two eyes and are often named by the owner) and ships (given names and are always 'she') to name a few. They have genders or spirits and sometimes both. That's who we are and how we see the universe.

This need to ascribe social values to objects and even life and the universe itself, was a function once filled by religion, then (arguably) by political regimes (communism, once 'God was dead'), and then in the 1970's 'Fortean' stuff, a thing which rumbles on, and latterly we're even seeing a kind of deification of science, which is quite bizarre if you think about it.

[Never mind the teenage vampire trope, 'forever young, beautiful and thin' wish-fulfilment.]

People will look for something else on which to pin beliefs, if you take away the thing they believe in currently.

So if you prove UFO's can't traverse space, then people will invent another dimension. If you show empirically Loch Ness cannot support one monster, never mind a population, then Nessie will morph into a dimension travelling creature. Or something.

(I've rather cut this down from a more detailed and supported argument of about 3000 words...)
 

stu neville

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#42
So if you prove UFO's can't traverse space, then people will invent another dimension. If you show empirically Loch Ness cannot support one monster, never mind a population, then Nessie will morph into a dimension travelling creature. Or something.
Pretty much :) . There are other.. erm.. dimensions to it as well, which is that upon which I am working.
 

eburacum

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#46
I'd be surprised if the chances of getting a ship big enough to sustain a small group of people to something even as close as the nearest star, without colliding with something that causes fatal damage, are almost nil.
That really does depend on how fast you go. Interstellar space is surprisingly empty, and an interstellar ship would carve out a long, thin cylinder light-years long but only tens, or maybe hundreds of metres wide. There would be a lot of dust, and a very large number of protons, in that cylinder, but almost certainly nothing as large as a Rice Krispie. Hitting a Rice Krispie at 1%c would make a large impact- so that's why you include a shield at the front end. Hitting a rice Krispie at 10%c would be a hundred times as energetic- so you need a thicker shield. More mass.

Indeed the dangers of interstellar debris are known with some confidence, and (up to about 10%c) they can be dealt with.On the other hand the ship would collide with a lot of cosmic rays, which would be a danger on the way to Mars as well. So the biological cargo needs to be buried deep inside layers of radiation shielding- yet more mass. Some comic rays are so energetic that nothing could protect the cargo - but these are rare, so you need to travel as fast as you can to reduce this risk. Turns out that 10%c is the sweet spot for any technology that seems feasible; not too slow, not too fast.
 

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#47
Linking back to the specific context of Roswell ...

One should bear in mind that as of 1947 it was still an open question whether there might be life - up to and including intelligent life / civilizations - within our own solar system.

Hypothesizing anomalous incidents were evidence for 'extraterrestrial' involvement didn't necessarily entail addressing the daunting issues associated with interstellar (as contrasted with interplanetary) travel.
 

Coal

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#48
That really does depend on how fast you go. Interstellar space is surprisingly empty, and an interstellar ship would carve out a long, thin cylinder light-years long but only tens, or maybe hundreds of metres wide. There would be a lot of dust, and a very large number of protons, in that cylinder, but almost certainly nothing as large as a Rice Krispie. Hitting a Rice Krispie at 1%c would make a large impact- so that's why you include a shield at the front end. Hitting a rice Krispie at 10%c would be a hundred times as energetic- so you need a thicker shield. More mass.

Indeed the dangers of interstellar debris are known with some confidence, and (up to about 10%c) they can be dealt with.On the other hand the ship would collide with a lot of cosmic rays, which would be a danger on the way to Mars as well. So the biological cargo needs to be buried deep inside layers of radiation shielding- yet more mass. Some comic rays are so energetic that nothing could protect the cargo - but these are rare, so you need to travel as fast as you can to reduce this risk. Turns out that 10%c is the sweet spot for any technology that seems feasible; not too slow, not too fast.
How we know quite how much stuff is out there? (I'm curious).

Making making the vessel thin and long may not make much difference. Once you're in space all directions are relative and stuff coming at you from the 'side' of the vehicle is just as likely as from any other direction I'd have thought. Overall you'd need the smallest surface area to minimise impacts, so a sphere might be better.
 

EnolaGaia

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#49
How we know quite how much stuff is out there? (I'm curious). ...
Good question ...

Within the last year we've finally confirmed there are asteroid-sized objects (Oumuamua) to be found in interstellar space.

I seem to recall a science news item from earlier this year claiming they'd discovered the first hard evidence for a rogue planet coursing through interstellar space.
 

dr wu

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#50
Regarding interstellar travel....thinking only along faster than light ideas as being impossible is very narrow minded.
Only a little over 100 years ago we did not have either airplanes or cars and now we have far surpassed such technology.
Why do we assume that an extremely advanced species might not have figured out a way to travel through space and time via wormholes, or other technology we simply have not discovered yet?
Our understanding of physics is probably very limited and primitive compared to a species 10,000 years or even 1 million years ahead of us.
 

Mythopoeika

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#51
How we know quite how much stuff is out there? (I'm curious).

Making making the vessel thin and long may not make much difference. Once you're in space all directions are relative and stuff coming at you from the 'side' of the vehicle is just as likely as from any other direction I'd have thought. Overall you'd need the smallest surface area to minimise impacts, so a sphere might be better.
Except that a long, thin starship, if it is built in a modular design, is more repairable than a spherical one.
Suppose one section gets sideswiped by an asteroid. That section can be ditched and the front and back sections reconnected.
 

Coal

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#52
Except that a long, thin starship, if it is built in a modular design, is more repairable than a spherical one.
Suppose one section gets sideswiped by an asteroid. That section can be ditched and the front and back sections reconnected.
Hm, good point.
 

EnolaGaia

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#53
... Why do we assume that an extremely advanced species might not have figured out a way to travel through space and time via wormholes, or other technology we simply have not discovered yet?
Our understanding of physics is probably very limited and primitive compared to a species 10,000 years or even 1 million years ahead of us.
I agree, but I feel the need to note that the notions of lightspeed constraints and wormholes are themselves theoretical figments of the same - potentially relatively 'primitive' - physics, etc.

In other words, our (current / human) science may turn out to be wrong about how difficult / impossible interstellar travel may be, as well as what affordances the universe offers for such movements.
 

Coal

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#54
In other words, our (current / human) science may turn out to be wrong about how difficult / impossible interstellar travel may be, as well as what affordances the universe offers for such movements.
Or, right.
 

eburacum

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#55
How we know quite how much stuff is out there? (I'm curious).
Several methods. First there is the extinction of stellar luminosity by interstellar dust. This can be measured by comparing the expected brightness of a star against its apparent brightness; space turns out to be quite lumpy, and it should be possible to avoid the worst of the dust by steering around it. Secondly there are emissions by interstellar hydrogen which is excited by hot, bright stars, allowing the concentration of molecular and atomic hydrogen to be mapped accurately. This gas is so tenuous that a spaceship travelling between Earth and Alpha Centauri would only intercept less than a kilogram of gas per square metre of cross-section during its entire journey. But at 10%c that would be enough to seriously erode a shield.
Making making the vessel thin and long may not make much difference. Once you're in space all directions are relative and stuff coming at you from the 'side' of the vehicle is just as likely as from any other direction I'd have thought.
Well stuff coming from the side would only hit at a few metres per second. Stuff coming from the front would hit at 30,000 kilometres per second.
 

eburacum

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#56
Why do we assume that an extremely advanced species might not have figured out a way to travel through space and time via wormholes, or other technology we simply have not discovered yet?
This is an example of wishful thinking, I'm afraid. Because we want this sort of travel to be possible, doesn't make it so. For instance wormholes may well be possible, but we can't assume that travelling through a wormhole is easier than travelling through flat space; everything we currently know seems to suggest that it is more difficult to get through such a hole because of gravity and tidal forces. So even if we could make such things to order they would probably kill us.
 

Coal

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#57
Several methods. First there is the extinction of stellar luminosity by interstellar dust. This can be measured by comparing the expected brightness of a star against its apparent brightness; space turns out to be quite lumpy, and it should be possible to avoid the worst of the dust by steering around it. Secondly there are emissions by interstellar hydrogen which is excited by hot, bright stars, allowing the concentration of molecular and atomic hydrogen to be mapped accurately. This gas is so tenuous that a spaceship travelling between Earth and Alpha Centauri would only intercept less than a kilogram of gas per square metre of cross-section during its entire journey. But at 10%c that would be enough to seriously erode a shield.
Thank you for that.
Well stuff coming from the side would only hit at a few metres per second. Stuff coming from the front would hit at 30,000 kilometres per second.
That's my point - stuff coming from the side can also be going at 30,000 kilometres per second. Motion is relative.
 
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eburacum

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#58
That's my point - stuff coming from the side can also be going at 30,000 kilometres per second. Motion is relative.
The speed of the particles hitting the front is entirely a function of the speed of the ship. Interstellar vacuum is so rarified that sideways collisions would be negligible and inconsequential. The front of the ship would encounter a kilogram or less of material during the journey; but the sides would encounter a few micrograms if that.
 

Coal

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#59
The speed of the particles hitting the front is entirely a function of the speed of the ship.
Surely it's a function of the relative closing speed of the two objects? This isn't one object encountering a stationary object, it's two objects both of which are in motion.

Interstellar vacuum is so rarified that sideways collisions would be negligible and inconsequential. The front of the ship would encounter a kilogram or less of material during the journey; but the sides would encounter a few micrograms if that.
Isn't it an assumption to consider the 'dust' as motionless' with respect to such a vehicle? The ship might be on a direct line to the nearest star, the near-vacuum might well be moving-left to right at velocities similar to the forward motion you are describing.
 

eburacum

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#60
Well, the sideways velocity can be deduced from its temperature. Some parts of the interstellar medium are moving at about 1km per second, other parts at 10,000km per second; but the number of impacts from the sides are minimal compared to those from the front.
 
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