A senior astronomer at the SETI (Search for Extraterrrestrial Intelligence) Institute has voiced some doubts as to whether the 1947 Roswell UFO Incident was actually an alien visitation. And he has doubts that the ongoing conspiracy theories concerning a massive military and government cover-up of the reported incident stand up to close inspection as well. In fact, the astronomer, Seth Shostak, notes that the Roswell UFO incident is like the reality television celebrity family the Kardashians at least in one key aspect — it is famous for being famous.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the reporting of what has become known as the Roswell UFO incident, where, according to the Roswell Daily Record, the U.S. Army admitted to the existence and recovery of a crashed disk-shaped object just north of Roswell. Thus began, along with an official retraction of the story and the claim that the craft recovered in the New Mexico desert was the wreckage of a weather balloon, one of the most prevailing UFO and alleged government cover-up conspiracy theories in history.
Shostak, writing for NBC News, does not catalog the general facts of the Roswell Incident as they are known (per the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell): something crashed in the New Mexico desert; the military recovered it; the Roswell Daily Record reported the “capture” of a “flying saucer” on July 8, 1947; the military officially rescinded the press release; later, military published wreckage photos and said that what had been recovered was a downed weather balloon; and still later, in 1994, the U.S. Air Force released an official investigatory report (per the New York Times) that debunked the UFO crash story by detailing a military plane crash near Roswell that killed 11 crewmen, the high-altitude test drops of life-like dummies, and the strange appearances of crash (and sometimes burned) victims.
He does point out that (citing an undisclosed survey) one-third of Americans believe that Earth has been visited by aliens. He also insists that, if asked for evidence, most would reference the Roswell UFO incident.
Over the years, UFO researchers and enthusiasts have consistently pointed to the Roswell incident as the “smoking gun,” evidence that not only do aliens visit Earth but that the federal government, for reasons ranging from national security interests to public safety, has seen fit to deny the existence (and proof of said existence) of aliens and UFOs in connection with the Roswell incident.
Shostak notes that there is no hard evidence that a UFO crashed near Roswell in 1947, nor is there any evidence of aliens being recovered there. He says the narrative has been altered over the years to accept that the UFO and aliens were supposedly discovered and has become the search for reasons why the government continues to engage in denying and covering up the incident.
“Roswell’s notoriety derives in part from the fact that the story has morphed from being a massively important discovery (if true) to something else: a conspiracy.”
He added, “Intrigue has trumped science, and the public finds the former considerably more appealing.”
But Seth Shostak does not think the conspiracy theory angle holds up under scrutiny. He notes that there is a certain unbelievability in the various convoluted assertions that the government, notorious for leaking classified, secret, and/or sensitive information for decades, could have kept something as “remarkable” as the Roswell UFO and the existence of aliens under wraps for 70 years.
But Shostak has found that the alleged Roswell crash has something in common with the Kardashians, the celebrity family that has been a staple of both reality television (E! Television’s Keeping Up With the Kardashians and its several spin-offs) and pop culture media for years.
“Perhaps the greatest achievement of the Roswell incident is that — like the Kardashians — it’s famous for being famous.”
That fame has been parlayed into fortune on both counts. For the city of Roswell, the 1947 incident has made it a mecca for tourists, researchers, and celebrants, producing a vibrant attraction for tens of thousands each year. For the Kardashians, reality television was the springboard for lucrative modeling careers, clothing lines, and endorsements.
Shostak says he once asked nuclear physicist and ufologist Stanton what has been learned from the Roswell UFO Incident. Friedman replied, “We’ve learned that UFO’s are real! Isn’t that enough?”
But Shostak remains unconvinced about the now infamous UFO story and believes the chances are “slim to none” that aliens were involved in whatever actually occurred back in 1947.
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