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CEFAA: 23 years researching anomalous aerial phenomena

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 5 oct. 2020 10:37 por Plataforma Sites Dgac

The Committee for the Study of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena (CEFAA), under the General Secretariat of the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC), turned 23 years old.
CEFAA's current team, led by Director Hugo Camus, at the Committee's venues in Cerrillos, Santiago.

CEFAA members and some of the Committee's advisors a short time after its creation in the late nineties, led by General (R) Ricardo Bermúdez.
On 3 October, 1997, the Exent Resolution No. 01599 established the creation d the CEFAA following the interest expressed by the then Chilean Air Force Commander-in-Chief, Air General Fernando Rojas Vender, and by former Commander of that branch , General Ramón Vega Hidalgo, who determined that the investigative body would be under the authority of the DGAC.

An official document from then DGAC's Director, Air Brigadier General Gonzalo Miranda Aguirre, gave lfe to CEFAA at the venues of the Technical Aeronautical School, in Santiago.

Sightings in Arica 

The decisive cases that aroused the interest of the Air Force Generals to create organization like ours in Chile took place at the end of March and the beginning of April, 1997. During those days, the press published reports on the sighting of lights of unknown origin over Arica for three consecutive nights and one of the incidents was even seen by personnel from the Control Tower and by the then head of the Chacalluta Airport.

According to its regulations, the mission of CEFAA is to collect, study, analyze and classify all information related to strange aerial phenomena reported on Chilean territory, with the aim of supporting the safety of air operations in the airspace under the responsibility of DGAC, which covers 32 million square kilometers.

History 

CEFAA's first director was Colonel Enzo Di Nocera and from its very beginning, Air Traffic Controller Gustavo Rodríguez Navarro was linked to the new body. Rodríguez was well known within the DGAC because he had been collecting and investigation reports on anomalous aerial phenomena for decades and for personal interest.

In 1998, Air Brigade General Ricardo Bermúdez Sanhueza assumed the leadership of ETA and also CEFAA, until February 2002. In March of that year, CEFAA's leadership was left in the hands of Air Brigade General Hernán Henríquez Cobaise, who held that position until March 2008. During all those years, CEFAA entered a dormant stage. 

On December 15, 2009, the then General Director of Civil Aeronautics, Air Brigade General José Huepe Pérez, decided that CEFAA would become directly dependent on the General Secretariat of the DGAC, and because of that the Committee abandoned the Aeronautical Technical School's venues and was moved to the grounds of the National Aeronautical and Space Museum, again in charge of General (R) Ricardo Bermúdez. 

CEFAA operated for years with General Bermúdez at the head, with Air Traffic Controller Gustavo Rodríguez as investigator and José Lay as Head of International Relations.

During those early years, the Committee stood out for giving free talks at the Aeronautical Technical School, for organizing a high-profile event with international guests during the International Air and Space Fair (FIDAE) in 2000 and for similar events during the FIDAE in 2016 and 2018. 

In December, 2016, General Bermúdez left CEFAA and in September, 2017, scientific journalist and historian Hugo Camus Palacios joined the Committee after winning a public concourse and soon thereafter took CEFAA's helm.

New CEFAA 

In 2017, in addition to Hugo Camus, Pablo Trigo Marihual joined CEFAA as administrative assistant. At the end of that year, Gustavo Rodríguez and José Lay left the Committee after several years of service and in March, 2018, science professor Gustavo Arriagada Bustamante joined the Committee as a researcher. 

The new CEFAA team was completed in mid-October, 2019, when journalist Patricio Abusleme Hoffman joined as a second investigator. 

During the few years of operations of the new CEFAA, Director Camus has participated in UFO congresses, has been interviewed by various media and, along with researcher Gustavo Arriagada, has offered lectures on CEFAA's work to airmen and personnel from different branches of the Armed Forces in various Chilean cities. 

After the paradigm change that the Covid-19 global pandemic meant, CEFAA members have continued to carry out their work remotely, consulting with their internal and external advisers when the cases under study warrant it. 

To report any sighting of anomalous aerial phenomena that have taken place within the territory of the Republic of Chile, users can do so through CEFAA´s website at the following link: 

http://www.cefaa.gob.cl/home/enviar-caso

UFO news collector Luis Altamirano has passed away

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 5 oct. 2020 10:04 por Plataforma Sites Dgac

At 2:00 AM on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, and a few days before he turned 76, ufologist Luis Altamirano passed away due to a pneumonia. He was one of the pioneers of UFO research in Chile and had spent years living in a nursing home in Santiago.
In this late seventies or early eighties picture, Luis Altamirano (the second from left to right)  enjoys during a meeting of the CIO, one of the first UFO groups that existed in Chile, aling with Aquiles Castillo, Luis Riquelme and Juan Castillo, among others.

(Source: IIEE Chile)

In the photograph, taken probably in the eighties, a smiling Luis Altamirano is at the center. To his right is Hugo Pacheco, another Chilean UFO research's pioneer who already passed away.

(Source: IIEE Chile)

A more recent picture of Luis Altamirano.

(Source: Rodrigo Bravo)
In the UFO community it is possible to find the most diverse characters, some of them very endearing and who are remembered due to their peculiar characteristics, and Luis Altamirano was one of them, as he stood out as a great searcher and compiler of press clippings and magazine articles about UFOs and other subjects.

Short in stature, with a face dominated by a prominent nose and protruding ears, Altamirano was always characterized by his humility and generosity, since he selflessly helped more than one generation of ufologists with information. 

Reserved and generous 

Luis Bernardo Altamirano Cañoles was born in Valdivia, in Southern Chile, on September 13, 1944, and was raised and educated in Osorno. His interest in the UFO phenomenon began  during his early teenage years, when the launch of the Russian satellite Sputnik in 1957 made a deep impression on him and made him turn his eyes to the sky and wonder about the mysteries of Man and the Universe.

As a result of this hobby, the boy began to cut out and collect newspaper and magazine articles that addressed the topic of “flying saucers”, as they were known at that time.

In 1965, Altamirano left his homeland to settle in Santiago and spent most of his free time searching in the National Library for newspaper articles which addressed the subject of unidentified flying objects.

“He had qualities that are very rare in the world of ufologists, that is, he was humble, he knew how to listen, he was reserved in his own way and he also had a commendable memory,” wrote about him Raúl Núñez Gálvez, who met and spent some time with Altamirano on several opportunities.

And Núñez is right , since those who knew Luis Altamirano knew of his rather introverted personality, of his permanent listening and disinterested collaboration. In addition, Luis had diction difficultes, which forced his interlocutors to put all the attention in his words in order to understand what he was saying. 

“The Nibelung” 

In 1978, the late ufologist Hugo Pacheco created the UFO Research Center (CIO, for its Spanish acronym) along with Aquiles Castillo, Luis Riquelme and Alberto Montenegro, among others, and Luis Altamirano was also one of the founders of said group.

Years later, in the mid-nineties, Aquiles Castillo founded another group of people interested in the UFO phenomenon called OVNI-Chile, in which Altamirano also participated along with other members such as Carlos Muñoz Brito, Claudio Chandía, Lucy Quezada and Ernesto Giraud.

It is said that the late ufologist Jorge Anfruns Dumont coined the nickname with which he was known until today, “El Nibelungo” (“The Nibelung”), after the dwarves of Germanic mythology who lived in the bowels of the Earth, a nickname that Luis Altamirano took with humor.

On November 25, 2009, Altamirano published as co-author with journalist and writer Juan Guillermo Prado the book Historia de la ufología en Chile and also collaborated in the dossier “Ufology in Chile”, coordinated by Diego Zúñiga and published in 2002 in Cuadernos de Ufología of the Anomalía Foundation, in Spain. 

Sunset in “Las Rosas” 

For several decades, Luis Altamirano worked in a food processing company. In the same factory where he worked, he lived in a modest room where, afflicted by compulsive hoarding, he was surrounded by all sorts of junk and papers that he collected.

In 2006, a couple of years after turning sixty, Luis suffered a thrombosis that prevented him from continuing to work. Since he had no family or close friends, he donated a large part of his UFO documents collection to Raúl Núñez and ended up in a nursing home run by Las Rosas Foundation, where he lived until today and welcomed with joy the acquaintances who visited him and that still remember him with affection and gratitude.

In 2020, Luis got the Coronavirus during the Covid-19 pandemic that the planet is going through, but he recovered from the disease.

At the end of July, a video was released on social networks reporting an important donation from the Charlie Clark Foundation in Chile to help feed families during the pandemic, and part of that donation was destined to the Las Rosas Foundation home where Luis lived, thanks to the intervention of Rodrigo Fuenzalida Herrera, who in addition to being a well-known ufologist in Chile is the operations manager of the Charlie Clark Foundation in Chile.

Shortly thereafter, on August 15 and 16, 2020, several ufologists and groups organized a virtual national ufology event, a solidarity day for the benefit of Luis Altamirano, which generated a great deal of interest among followers of the UFO subject.

But, despite beating Coronavirus, Luis's health was fragile after suffering a second thrombosis and he finally left the earthly existence at dawn on September 9 at El Salvador Hospital in Santiago.

His mortal remains were to be buried in the Metropolitan Cemetery between September 9 and 10 and the news about his death, spread through social networks by Rodrigo Bravo, Rodrigo Fuenzalida and other acquaintances, caused deep regret in the Chilean UFO community.

US Navy will lead study on unidentified aerial phenomena

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 5 oct. 2020 9:29 por Plataforma Sites Dgac   [ actualizado el 5 oct. 2020 9:29 ]

On Friday, August 14, 2020, the United States Department of Defense issued a statement about the creation of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF), the new unit of the US Government that will be in charge of officially investigating anomalous aerial phenomena.
Picture from one of the US Navy videos of anomalous aerial phenomena.

In August, 2020, the US Pentagon announced the creation of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF), which will be in charge of officially studying anomalous aerial phenomena.
The unit was born after its creation was approved on August 4, 2020 by Deputy Secretary of Defense, David L. Norquist. 

According to the statement, the Department of the Navy will be in charge of leading the UAPTF, “under the cognizance of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security.” 

According to the release, “The Department of Defense established the UAPTF to improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins of UAPs.  The mission of the task force is to detect, analyze and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security.”

“The safety of our personnel and the security of our operations are of paramount concern. The Department of Defense and the military departments take any incursions by unauthorized aircraft into our training ranges or designated airspace very seriously and examine each report. This includes examinations of incursions that are initially reported as UAP when the observer cannot immediately identify what he or she is observing”, the statement concludes. 

Gradual opening 

The statement was released during a gradual opening within the US government to discuss the issue and publicly admitting having knowledge of incidents that have been witnessed by military personnel.

In 2017, media such as The New York Times began publishing articles and filtering videos captured by US Navy fighter jets showing unidentified phenomena.

At the end of April 2020, the Pentagon officially released those videos that had been leaked three years earlier, acknowledging their authenticity and that they showed unidentified phenomena. Meanwhile, other media, such as Popular Mechanics magazine, published articles on secret programs within the US Department of Defense that would have operated between 2007 and 2012. 

After pressure from US congressmen and senators, such as the Democratic Senator for the state of Nevada Harry Reid and the Republican senator for the state of Florida Marco Rubio, the Pentagon finally announced the creation of the UAPTF, which has opened the door to wild speculations among those interested in ufology about the possibility of new official revelations.

July, a month of astronomical shows

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 14 jul. 2020 6:03 por Plataforma Sites Dgac   [ actualizado el 5 oct. 2020 5:09 ]

Living in quarantine for months due to the Covid-19 pandemic is certainly not easy. Lack of freedom, social contact, and anxiety and anguish caused by prolonged confinement are felt. However, here the greatest good is the health of all Chileans and that is why we must be cautious and follow the advice of the health authorities.
An artist's rendering of a meteor shower, as the Perseids shower.

José Utreras, astronomer at the Faculty of Physical and Mathematical Sciences of the University of Chile and popularizer at the CATA Astrophysics Center.

Comet Neowise, which passes near Earth once each 6,800 years, will be visible from the Southern Hemisphere from July 22 on.

One of Google's Loon balloons, which are often mistaken for UFOs.
Despite all the restrictions, we still have access to beautiful natural phenomena that can literally be happening above our heads without our even knowing it. In July, two celestial phenomena could offer us the possibility of enjoying the wonders of the Universe and completely free. 

Meteor shower 

Between July 17 and August 24, an annual phenomenon known as the “Perseid shower” will take place, which are meteorites that, from Earth, seem to come from the constellation of Perseus and that upon entering the Earth’s atmosphere and falling are perceived as shooting stars. 

The “star shower” is also known as “Tears of Saint Lawrence”, because the date on which it is visible usually coincides with August 10, which corresponds to that name day. 

“Maximum visibility is around August 12th. However, from most of the territory of Chile at this time of year, (the constellation of) Perseus is, in general, below the horizon or very close to the horizon, so it is difficult to see it”, explains José Utreras, astronomer at the Faculty of Physical and Mathematical Sciences of the University of Chile and popularizer at the CATA Astrophysics Center. 

“From Arica, at around five in the morning, the place from which you can see this meteor shower, the Perseids, has an altitude of about 12 degrees above the horizon. So in places well to the North you could see this meteor shower”, he added. 

The phenomenon is produced by the rocky material that is left by comets on their way around the Sun, which remains floating in the shape of a ring and enters the Earth’s orbit attracted by the force of gravity when our planet orbits around the Sun. 

Then, some of these rocky fragments fall to the Earth and when they become incandescent due to the effect of the friction, they are perceived from the ground as shooting stars. 

Millennial traveler 

Another surprise that the month of July has in store for us is the passing of a true millennial traveler, comet Neowise, which was first observed by astronomers in 2016 and is named after the NASA telescope that discovered it. 

According to scientists, it is a celestial body that passes in the vicinity of the Earth only once every 6,800 years, so we can observe it now or never. The last time it was close to our planet it was probably seen by ancient people. 

“The relevance it has is that since comets are so infrequent, this becomes a particularly special phenomenon. Because you can study how comets are affected by radiation from the Sun and see if they could be destroyed”, said José Utreras. 

“There was some expectation that this comet could be destroyed on its way to the Sun by losing a lot of gas, which is ice that is sublimating. But, apparently, it has not happened”, he added. Comets are made up of ice, dust, and rocks. 

However, the astronomer from the University of Chile warns that it is very unlikely that comet Neowise can be seen with the naked eye. 

“It is currently lowering its brightness and will begin to be seen in the Southern Hemisphere from July 22. At the end of the month you will be able to see it better, because when it’s very close to the Sun you can only see it at dusk or dawn, depending on where you are” Utreras said. 

“It will be visible at sunset, around six in the afternoon. The problem is that as it is not so bright, it will compete with the brightness of the sky, so you have to have special equipment in order to see it”, he warned. 

Comet Neowise’s closest point of approach to Earth will be on July 23, when it will be about 103 million kilometers away. 

Satellites and balloons 

In addition to the daily passage of satellites from the Starlink constellation from Elon Musk's aerospace company SpaceX, which are often thought to be unidentified flying objects (UFOs) by observers, it is possible that in the coming weeks project Loon balloons from Google fly over Chilean territory and generate UFO reports. 

This has happened several times in recent months, but thanks to the technology currently available, CEFAA can quickly determine when a UFO report corresponds to one of these artifacts. 

At the moment, there are three Loon balloons flying between Peru and Ecuador, but the artifacts sometimes fly through the skies over the southern cone, including Argentina and Chilean airspace, which is the responsibility of the General Directorate of Civil Aeronautics (DGAC).

Planet hunters

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 9 jul. 2020 5:51 por Plataforma Sites Dgac   [ actualizado el 17 sept. 2020 7:53 ]

On June 25, 2020, the Science journal published an article reporting the discovery of two “super-Earth” exoplanets orbiting the star Gliese 887, a faint red dwarf with about half the mass from the Sun and located 11 light-years from Earth.
Professor James Jenkins, astronomer and academic from the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Mathematics of the University of Chile.

Matías Díaz, student of the Ph.D. in Sciences, mention Astronomy, of the University of Chile.

An artist's concept of an exoplanet of the "Super-Earth" kind.
The discovery was made by a team of astronomers who are part of the Red Dots project, led by Guillem Anglada and Sandra Jeffers, who observed Gliese 887 every night for three months using the European Southern Observatory (ESO), in Chile. The High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Finder, known as the HARPS spectrograph, was the one that detected two signals corresponding to planets around the star. 

To learn more about this finding, we spoke with two scientists and planet hunters who collaborate in the Red Dots project at the local level and who contributed to the discovery of the “super-Earths” around Gliese 887. They are Professor James Jenkins, astronomer and academic from the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Mathematics of the University of Chile, and Matías Díaz, student of the Ph.D. in Sciences, mention Astronomy, of the University of Chile. 

CEFAA: Why did the team decide to observe the star Gliese 887 in particular? Why did they say, “let's focus on this one”, specifically? 

Matías Díaz: Well, the explanation has to do, first, with the design of the observation campaign. In general, one chooses certain stars according to the properties and depending on what one wants to look for. 

So, the choice of these stars falls within the program that was made during 2017 and 2018 with HARPS, which is called Red Dots. A sample of the type “M” stars was chosen, the closest to the Sun, which are slightly redder stars and with a mass lower than the Sun’s. 

What does that mean? That the study of these stars allows us to investigate or try to find planets in the habitable zone with relatively shorter periods, compared to other stars such as the Sun, which are a little hotter and the habitable zones are at a slightly greater distance. 

James Jenkins: In the Red Dots project we are trying to map all the closest stars around the Sun. We want to understand what the planetary systems are like around the Sun. 

The closer these stars are, the easier it is for us to follow up. The nearest stars are the most important stars. The closer we find these planets, the easier it is for us to characterize them going forward in the near future. We want to better characterize these planets, see if they have atmospheres, if there are more planets in the system and what kinds of chemicals we can detect in their atmospheres.

CEFAA: And now, after this finding, what comes next in the study of the star and the planets?

Matías Díaz: I believe that what comes next is trying to have more data to confirm a third signal. As it is not confirmed yet, some more observations are necessary to say “Ok, we are sure there is a third planet.”

What it’s interesting about this third possible planet is that it would fall into the habitable zone, because the two that are “super-earths” are a bit out of the area, on the edge of the habitable zone. 

Likewise, it is a bit debatable to talk about “habitability”s when one does not know the properties of the planet. You only know that it is located in a place that allows liquid water to exist. You don’t know anything else; like if the planet actually has water, etc. 

And the other thing is that once that planet is confirmed, we should try to study its atmosphere. It is interesting to study a planet that is in the habitable zone, to try to see if it looks like the Earth, which is what we are looking for. Planets that resemble Earth and that can support life on other stars. But so far we don’t know. But that’s where the study of this star leads us. 

James Jenkins: We try to develop new codes, new algorithms for understanding the signals that we measure from stars and see if they are from what’s called the Doppler effect or if it is an artifact of the star, the star’s magnetic activity. 

The star’s magnetic activity, when it’s coupled with the rotation of the star, can give us signals that look very much like the signals we see from planets, so we’ve developed codes to try to really, really detect very, very small planets and understand if the signals that we see are from planets or from the star. 

So, in this case we helped confirm that those signals were really planets and not stellar activity, as we call it. 

CEFAA: And these two planets are bigger than Earth, “super-Earths.”

James Jenkins: Yes. We believe they will be. We actually don’t know their physical size at the moment, but what we do know is the mass. And there is a relationship between the mass and the radius, so we expect they will be bigger, maybe two or three times the size of the Earth. 

That is one of the next key points. We want to continue to observe this star, and measure the velocity of the star with really high precision to try to confirm this signal we see (a possible third planet), which looks like it could be real. It is in a very interesting area. 

CEFAA: Do you hope to confirm the existence of this third planet this year, or next year, for example?

James Jenkins: I think we need a lot more data so we’ll probably be looking try to confirm that in the next couple of years. And especially now, the observatories are closed at the moment because of the pandemic. We have already lost telescope time.

In the next two to three years we will get enough data to be able to confirm that this third possible planet in the habitable zone really exists or if we are just seeing excess noise in the data.

Matías Díaz: We have limited time. We apply for telescope time once a semester and on average they give us about 10 nights per semester. So there we try to do the most with the time we are given. But, in general terms, it is a very demanding endeavor that requires a lot of observation time. That’s why it takes a long time, sometimes even years, to confirm these planets. 

CEFAA: At a speculative level, 11 light-years (away) is quite a lot. So we will probably never reach to such a great distance, as to try, in the far future, to colonize a planet that is habitable, for example. 

Matías Díaz: Sure; on current scales, and given the technology we have at the moment, it would take us hundreds of thousands of years to reach the nearest star. Proxima Centauri is the closest star, which is also a red, “M” type. That’s the closest, which is four light-years away. This one (Gliese 887) is almost three times Proxima’s distance. So it would take hundreds of thousands of years with today’s technology. 

Now, if progress is made in that area in the coming decades... I think we are not talking about human scale at this time. There would have to be a very significant advance in technology to allow us to do interstellar travel.

Unless there is a very important advance in a relatively short period, I think that is out of the question.

US Senate asks for more attention to anomalous aerial phenomena

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 26 jun. 2020 6:27 por Plataforma Sites Dgac   [ actualizado el 17 sept. 2020 6:04 ]

In mid-June 2020, US senators expressed their concern that the military and other official agencies of the country have not paid enough attention to reports on sightings of anomalous aerial phenomena, which, according to their vision, could be linked to adversaries of the United States.
 Republican Senator for the state of Florida Marco Rubio was the author of the document that he sent representing the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

A image of the United States' Senate chamber.
In a report attached to a draft of the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, Republican Senator for the state of Florida Marco Rubio, representing the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, requested that the Director of National Intelligence work with other agencies to produce a report detailing what they already know about anomalous aerial phenomena, how that information is shared, and what kinds of threats or other risks the unidentified objects could pose.

“The Committee supports the efforts of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force at the Office of Naval Intelligence to standardize collection and reporting on unidentified aerial phenomenon, any links they have to adversarial foreign governments, and the threat they pose to U.S. military assets and installations,” the report says.

“However, the Committee remains concerned that there is no unified, comprehensive process within the Federal Government for collecting and analyzing intelligence on unidentified aerial phenomena, despite the potential threat,” it adds. 

Next, the document criticizes the way in which information is shared and coordination within the Intelligence community, stating that it has been inconsistent and that senior leaders of the country have not given the issue the attention it deserves. 

Later, the Senate Committee directed the National Intelligence Director, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and the heads of other agencies, to submit a report within 180 days of the date of enactment of the Act, to the congressional intelligence and armed services committees on unidentified aerial phenomena (also known as ‘‘anomalous aerial vehicles’’), including observed airborne objects that have not been identified. 

Guidelines 

In addition to that, the  Senate Select Committee on Intelligence enumerated eight elements that report to be prepared should include, among which the following stand out:

—A detailed analysis of unidentified aerial phenomena data and intelligence reporting collected or held by the Office of Naval Intelligence, including data and intelligence reporting held by the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force.

—A detailed analysis of data of the FBI, which was derived from investigations of intrusions of unidentified aerial phenomena data over restricted United States airspace.

—A detailed description of an interagency process for ensuring timely data collection and centralized analysis of all unidentified aerial phenomena reporting for the Federal Government, regardless of which service or agency acquired the information.

—Identification of potential aerospace or other threats posed by the unidentified aerial phenomena to national security, and an assessment of whether this unidentified aerial phenomena activity may be attributed to one or more foreign adversaries.

—Identification of any incidents or patterns that indicate a potential adversary may have achieved breakthrough aerospace capabilities that could put United States strategic or conventional forces at risk. 

The Committee requests that the report shall be submitted in unclassified form, but that it may include a classified annex. 

Media cases 

The document was issued after sightings by US Marine pilots made headlines in recent years. 

In 2017, media such as The New York Times leaked reports of Marine pilots’ encounters with unidentified aerial phenomena in 2004. This year, the Pentagon made those reports official, acknowledging that they are genuine. 

Among the interesting things mentioned in the Senate Committee document is that the FBI would have been collecting information on sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena, since it is known that between January 2019 and January 2020 that agency investigated incidents not yet explained of UAPs in various parts of the states of Colorado and Nebraska, including areas close to US Air Force facilities.

Another striking aspect is the apparent admission that the senators in charge of overseeing Intelligence gathering activities in the United States still do not have a good understanding of the interagency process for centralized collection and analysis of data on sightings of anomalous aerial phenomena in the United States Federal Government, or who would be the highest-ranking official in charge of that process, if there is one.

There could be up to 36 civilizations in the Milky Way

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 19 jun. 2020 7:20 por Plataforma Sites Dgac   [ actualizado el 11 sept. 2020 9:55 ]

Are we alone in the Universe? This is the question that has haunted Humanity since we discovered that Earth is just one planet among hundreds of thousands that could exist in the Cosmos, in thousands of galaxies, and each discovery of a new exoplanet opens up the possibility of finally finding other intelligent life forms that we can communicate with.
Christopher Conselice, professor of Astrophysics at the University of Nottingham, who led the new study. 

According to the new study by University of Nottingham's scientists, in our Galaxy, the Milky Way, alone there could exist up to 36 communicating civilizations.
Although we have not even confirmed the existence of life outside the Earth yet, a new study published in June, 2020, estimates that there could be more than 30 intelligent civilizations in our galaxy, the Milky Way, alone, which is a great progress compared to previous calculations. 

The study, led by the University of Nottingham and published in mid-June by The Astrophysical Journal, took a new approach to the problem. They started by assuming that intelligent life on other planets forms in a similar way to how it happened on Earth and thus obtained an estimate of the number of intelligent civilizations capable of communicating within the Milky Way. 

“There should be at least a few dozen active civilizations in our Galaxy under the assumption that it takes 5 billion years for intelligent life to form on other planets, as on Earth” explained Christopher Conselice, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Nottingham, who led the study.

“The idea is looking at evolution, but on a cosmic scale. We call this calculation the Astrobiological Copernican Limit,” he added. 

Best estimates 

The classic method for estimating the number of intelligent civilizations is based on subjective values regarding life, in which opinions vary quite substantially, explained Tom Westby, co-author of the investigation.

Several previous calculations were based on the famous “Drake Equation,” put forward by the American astronomer and astrophysicist Frank Drake in 1961.

“Drake developed an equation which in principle can be used to calculate how many Communicating Extra-Terrestrial Intelligent (CETI) civilizations there may be in the Galaxy,” the authors wrote in the new study. “However, many of its terms are unknowable and other methods must be used to calculate the likely number of communicating civilizations” they added.

According to Tom Westby, the new study “simplifies these assumptions using new data, giving us a solid estimate of the number of civilizations in our Galaxy.” That estimate shows that in the Milky Way alone there could be around 36 active civilizations.

“I am sure that Quantum Computing will open up a whole new age of discovery in Astronomy and Astrophysics, not least in terms of handling the analysis of vast data relating to potential new exoplanets, and indeed, searching through possible radio signals in active SETI” Westby also commented in response to a question sent by CEFAA. 

Difficult communication 

However, the average distance to potential civilizations would be 17,000 light years, which would make finding and communicating with any of them very difficult based on our current technology. According to the study, it is also possible that we are the only civilization within our Galaxy, unless the survival times of civilizations like ours are long.

“Our new research suggests that searches for extraterrestrial intelligent civilizations not only reveals the existence of how life forms, but also gives us clues for how long our own civilization will last” said Christopher Conselice.

“If we find that intelligent life is common then this would reveal that our civilization could exist for much longer than a few hundred years, alternatively if we find that there are no active civilizations in our Galaxy it is a bad sign for our own long-term existence” he added.

“By searching for extraterrestrial intelligent life —even if we find nothing— we are discovering our own future and fate” said Conselice. 

Source: University of Nottingham, CNN and communication with CEFAA.

The first Director who studied “AAPs” in Chile has passed away

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 16 jun. 2020 6:02 por Plataforma Sites Dgac   [ actualizado el 11 sept. 2020 9:23 ]

The first Director of an official body of the Republic of Chile in charge of investigating anomalous aerial phenomena, Sergio Bravo Flores, died last Sunday in Santiago, aged 94.
Colonel (R) Sergio Bravo Flores during one of his last interviews.

CEFAA's Director, Hugo Camus Palacios, interviewed Sergio Bravo at his residence in 2017 and 2018.
In June, 1968, Sergio Bravo created the Chilean Commission for Studies of Unidentified Space Phenomena, sponsored by the Scientific Society of Chile, in which took part leading academics, scientists and researchers of the time.

In an interview published by the Spanish newspaper ABC, in 1969, he stated: “I confess that at first, when the news about it began to invade the world press, we were skeptical. But there were so many stories and the professional solvency of many of the people who told them was so solid, that we developed an interest to investigate these events in a systematic and scientific way.”

At that time, the members of that Society met periodically in offices located in downtown Santiago to comment and analyze the studies and the progress of science in the sixties. 

That Director led a “Provisional Committee” in which other members were the National Airline meteorologist, Guillermo Duarte; engineer Juan E. Gatica; doctor Hugo Sievers; doctor in Physical Sciences and Mathematics Antonio Camurri Righi; Helga Buiggen; the Chilean Air Force lieutenant Jorge Montero, commissioned by the Directorate of Aeronautics; and engineers Edgardo Fuenzalida, Pablo Petrowitsch and Guillermo Krumm. 

According to its postulates, the goal of this Commission —which operated until 1975— was “... to establish in all seriousness the true causes that are related to this matter.” 

Natural heir 

The Committee for the Study of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena, CEFAA, is the natural heir to that Commission of the Chilean State and some of its current members had the honor of meeting Sergio Bravo at his home in 2017 and 2018. 

On both occasions, long interviews and talks were held on the investigation of anomalous aerial phenomena in the country. 

We appreciate his generosity and willingness to share his experience and knowledge. 

In 2018, he commented to CEFAA that his first task in the Commission created in 1968 “was to obtain reports from the meteorological and telegraphic stations that the (Meteorological) Office had from Arica to the Chilean Antarctic territory,” adding that on July 9, 1968, he sent the first official memo requesting reports to 43 aeronautical facilities.

In seven years, that agency managed to gather about a dozen reports that accounted for sightings in different parts of Chile. Part of them were sent to the University of Colorado, in the United States, where a team of academics (later baptized as the “Condon Committee”) carried out a detailed study of aerial phenomena reported in that country and the rest of the world. 

Meteorologist and biologist 

A native of Putaendo, Los Andes, in the Fifth Region, Sergio Bravo obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Biology in 1945 at the University of Chile; that same year he applied to the Captain Ávalos Aviation School and graduated as an Ensign in 1947. 

In 1950 he was assigned to the Chilean Navy and obtained the title of Meteorologist. He served destinations in Aviation Group No. 5, in Puerto Montt, and was appointed second commander of the Antarctic Air Base President Gabriel González Videla in 1952. 

In 1955 he was commissioned to the United States Air Force to do a specialization course in Meteorology. Later, he was a specialist professor in Meteorology and Head of the Chilean Meteorological Office, today the Chilean Meteorological Office, between 1960 and 1975.

He retired in 1976 with the rank of Colonel of the Chilean Air Force and until 1993 he served as a professor of meteorology at the University of Santiago.

United Arab Emirates launched its first unmanned mission to Mars

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 15 jun. 2020 5:56 por Plataforma Sites Dgac   [ actualizado el 11 sept. 2020 8:25 ]

Historically, the space race has been led by the United States and Russia, which went to space while it was still part of the Soviet Union.
This is how the Amal space probe looks like, according to the image provided by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Deputy project manager and minister for advanced sciences of the United Arab Emirates, Sarah al-Amiri, explains in a press conference what the Amal mission is all about.
Gradually and as the years have gone by, new countries and blocs have joined the efforts to reach the stars, such as the European Union, China, Japan, India and Israel, as well as private companies such as SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic and Bigelow Aerospace. 

In this area, and at a public level, the United Arab Emirates is a relatively unknown actor, but the Arab country is about to launch an ambitious unmanned exploration mission to Mars. 

Amal mission

On July 19, 2020, the United Arab Emirates launched the Amal mission, an Arabic word that means “Hope”, which consists of a probe that is traveling to Mars and that will orbit the planet for 687 days to study its climatology and the composition of its atmosphere.

The rocket that carries the probe left from the Japanese island of Tanegashima and the device will travel to its destination for seven months. The 1,350 kilogram probe will complete an orbit around Mars every 55 hours for a total of one Martian year, which is equivalent to 687 Earth days, and has several sensors built into it to understand the Red Planet’s weather patterns.

“We are studying a planet that looks as if it was very similar to our own, but has undergone some form of change to the point it can no longer have water, one of the major building blocks of life” said in a press conference Sarah al-Amiri, deputy project manager and minister for advanced sciences of the United Arab Emirates.

Sir Ian Blatchford, director of the UK's Science Museum Group, told the BBC that the UAE mission “will provide the most comprehensive, holistic picture of Mars’s climate.”

Relevance

Officials say the launch is of enormous importance to the status and economic survival of the UAE. Those in charge of space exploration in the Arab World hope that the developing space program will open up more opportunities for the youth of the country and strengthen its place among the most influential nations in the world.

According to project manager Omran Sharaf, getting the probe to Mars and putting it into orbit around the planet will be a huge challenge, given that about half of the missions to the Red Planet end due to failures.

“This is a region that more than 800 years ago used to be a generator of knowledge, an example of coexistence and cooperation, of people of differing faiths building the region. The moment we stopped doing that, we went backwards” Sharaf said. Currently, there are only eight active missions to Mars, and the United Arab Emirates hopes to join that exclusive club.

The country has had some success in space exploration so far, launching four Earth observation satellites and sending its own astronaut, Hazzaa al-Mansoori, to the International Space Station.

In preparing for the Amal mission, the United Arab Emirates consulted with Japanese and American experts and the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center in Dubai partnered with experts from the University of Colorado, from the Arizona State University and the Space Sciences Laboratory of Berkeley, California. 

Source: The Daily Mail.

NASA astronauts on historic mission with SpaceX will return to Earth on August 2

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 2 jun. 2020 7:14 por Plataforma Sites Dgac   [ actualizado el 11 sept. 2020 7:40 ]

US NASA astronauts Douglas “Doug” Hurley and Robert “Bob” Behnken will return to Earth aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule on August 2, 2020, after staying on the International Space Station for just over two months, on a historic mission in which a private company sent astronauts into space for the first time in history.
American astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley with Chris Cassidy and other astronauts after arriving to the International Space Station.

From left to right, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley dressed in an astronaut's suit with a new design.

The takeoff of the falcon 9 rocket, which transported the Crew Dragon capsule with the astronauts, from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, in the United States of America.

Image of the SpaceX's Crew Dragon space capsule while it maneuvers to dock at the International Space Station.
On Saturday, May 30, 2020, the eyes of the scientific establishment and millions of people and enthusiasts in the United States and around the world, including Chile, followed with attention, suspense and emotion the launch of the Crew Dragon capsule from Cape Canaveral, in which for the first time in almost 10 years two astronauts ascended into space from US territory. 

It was the joint mission “Demo 2” between the US space agency (NASA) and tycoon Elon Musk’s private aerospace company SpaceX. Originally, the SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket that carried the capsule with veteran astronauts Hurley and Behnken was scheduled to take off on Wednesday, May 27, but the launch had to be postponed to Saturday, May 30, due to adverse weather conditions. 

The liftoff from Complex 39A of the Kennedy Space Center, in Cape Canaveral, Florida, took place after 15:30, Chilean time, and was followed by millions of people through television and the Internet. 

After 19 hours of flight, the Crew Dragon capsule successfully docked automatically to the International Space Station, so that on Sunday, May 31, at around 10:30, local time, millions of viewers saw Behnken and Hurley floating down the hatch to the ISS, where they were greeted by resident astronauts led by American Chris Cassidy. 

Reusable rocket 

A few minutes after launch, the astronauts were already emerging from the upper atmosphere into space. Then, phases of the Falcon 9 rocket began to separate and the first of them, the main booster, successfully landed on a SpaceX unmanned craft, since the rocket is reusable.

The relevance of the mission is that the partnership between NASA and SpaceX could mark the end of the US space agency’s reliance on Russian Soyuz space capsules to put its astronauts into orbit and, at the same time, motivate private companies in that country to implement systems that take astronauts and tourists to space. 

Meanwhile, NASA puts its best efforts to materialize the return to the Moon, the construction of the Space Station “Gateway” around the satellite, to establish a permanent colony and prepare a manned trip to Mars. 

It is the first time that a private company, with its own technological development and designs, has transported two astronauts into space, which marks the beginning of a new era in which private companies will compete or complement each other with the world’s main space agencies to go out to the cosmos, explore and seek new horizons. 

The Crew Dragon capsule made by SpaceX has an eye-catching design. It has room for a maximum of seven passengers and touchscreens, like those of cell phones and tablets, which replace the old lever and button systems. 

“This is the begining” 

“We designed it with the idea that it would be amazing and look beautiful,” said mission director Benji Reed about the Crew Dragon capsule. 

After the launch, and while the astronauts flew towards the ISS, those responsible for the mission offered a press conference call. 

NASA Administrator Jim Brindestine was very pleased with the successful takeoff, although he remarked that this is not over, it is only the beginning. 

“Let me be clear, the mission is not over yet, this is a test flight, so this is the beginning. So far, everything has turned out very, very well and we are thrilled that Bob and Doug, our American heroes, are safely in orbit and on their way to the International Space Station,” he stated. 

“I think the business model has proven to be very successful. We are reducing costs, we are increasing access and that will continue to happen, as we get more partners and, of course, as SpaceX and others (developers of technologies for space exploration) have more customers,” he added. 

Eighteen years waiting 

Meanwhile, Elon Musk, the CEO of the private company SpaceX, had some difficulty to find the words and make up sentences due to the prior emotions. 

“I am very excited and it is difficult for me to speak. I have been working towards this goal for 18 years, so it is difficult to assimilate that it has already happened. But there is a lot of work to do,” he commented. 

“Hopefully, this is the first step on a journey to (establish) a civilization on Mars, because life can be multiplanetary, based on the Moon, for the first time in Earth’s 4.5 billion years of history,” he added. 

The mogul, who also owns electric car maker Tesla, also said that “it will take a tremendous amount of innovation and technological development to make going out of orbit a routine thing, in which thousands or, hopefully, millions of people can travel to other planets.” 

A space landmark

The president of the Chilean Space Association, Héctor Gutiérrez Méndez, was one of the thousands of interested parties who followed the launch with expectation. 

“This is a case worth analyzing. For almost 10 years, the United States depended on Russia for all kinds of transportation to the International Space Station. Normally, an American, a Japanese and a Russian traveled in the Soyuz space capsule, for example. Now there are two Americans,” he stated. 

“A few months ago, the United States created a Space Force. So this is an indication, a sign, that this country wants to regain its technological independence and sovereignty to have its own means in space exploration,” he added. 

Along the same lines, the Chilean pilot, aerospace engineer and astronaut candidate Klaus Von Storch remarked that the partnership between NASA and SpaceX began years ago, but until now the private firm had only carried out logistical transport. 

“It is a tremendous milestone that was achieved when NASA had budget cuts and saw that the participation of private companies could serve to address the costs issue,” he explained. 

“With this, an opportunity has been opened not only for NASA, but for the rest of the world, so that space tourism can develop in a better way, in addition to the development of medicines and a myriad of activities that take place in space,” added Von Storch, who also stressed that the mission brings with it a change in the design of spacesuits and monitoring systems, which have state-of-the-art technology. 

Astronauts Behnken and Hurley will return to Earth aboard the Crew Dragon capsule on August 2.

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