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What is that up there? (India)

The Times of India - 5/20/2004

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Are unidentified flying objects (UFOs) real or just a hoax? Following the recent UFO sightings by the Mexican air force, Delhi Times sifts through myth and reality and leaves you to pronounce the final verdict on ET and his kith and kin...

Koi up there hai kya? (trans: "What is that up there")



Are unidentified flying objects (UFOs) real or just a hoax? Following the recent UFO sightings by the Mexican air force, Delhi Times sifts through myth and reality and leaves you to pronounce the final verdict on ET and his kith and kin...

They were spotted again on March 5. Mexican Air Force pilots filmed 11 unidentified flying objects in the skies over southern Campeche. A videotape made available to the media last week showed bright objects, like large headlights, moving rapidly in a late evening sky.

"I couldn't say what it was... but I think they're completely real" declared Lt Mario Adrian Vazquez, the infrared equipment operator who shot the film. The news is specially important because this was the first time the armed forces of any country had reported such sightings. "And the armed forces don't perpetuate fraud" said an officer of the Mexican defence department.

This year, going by media headlines, UFO traffic has been exceptionally heavy on this side of the universe. In April, Australians thought they were being bombed when the ground shook, explosions rent the air and the night skies were set ablaze by a white flash — like 50,000 spotlights. In April, dozens of UFO sightings in Iran sparked flying saucer fever. This is over and above the long history of sightings — the database of the National UFO Reporting Centre, US, lists about 18,200 UFO sightings worldwide, including 10 from India. But the most interesting information comes from the various astronauts who have reportedly seen UFOs down the years. According to reports, both Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin had reported unsual sightings too after their historic landing on the moon on July 21, 1969. According to a former NASA employee, radio hams had picked up the following exchange:

NASA : What's there? Mission control calling Apollo 11.

Apollo 11 : These ‘Babies' are huge Sir! Enormous! OH MY GOD! I'm telling you there are other spacecraft out there... watching us!

NASA reportedly censored this from its transcripts, at the behest of the CIA, to prevent the spread of panic. So what's the truth out there? Does ET actually exist? According to amateur astronomer Rahul Narang, "The recent sightings are definitely those of alien ships. There is no other explanation for these rapidly moving objects. While other countries were afraid to talk about UFOs, the Mexican government has disclosed its data. Recently, a NASA expedition to Mars showed that life might have existed on the planet at some point of time. Even scientists accept that there is life beyond our planet" But the conclusions are still iffy. According to Nehru Planetarium director N Rathnashree: "The presence of extra-terrestrial objects can be confirmed only after happenings such as spy planes and environmental phenomenon are ruled out. I would suggest caution as sightings always end up with earthly explanations" Amitabh Mukherjee, professor, DU's space centre, believes that UFO sightings do exist in the realm of the possible. "However, till today, not a single authenticated sighting has come to our notice. The US launched a defence project a few years back to investigate all such sightings and was able to link most of them to various environmental or human reasons. However, there were certain UFO sightings that didn't come under these criteria and were left unexplained. Consequently, it's still an open-ended question"

Of course, the little green men have done nothing to settle the speculation by making an official appearance. Unless you take Ja doo (Koi Mil Gaya ) to be real. Koi Mil Gaya director Rakesh Roshan insists that people do believe in ETs visiting Earth. "My movie was based on public imagination. People feel there is intelligent life beyond Earth which will visit us someday" So, Jadoo is for real? "That's for time to tell"

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