The Time a Bunch of Secret NASA Tapes Were Found in a Basement

By | March 28, 2020

Basements can turn up some of the strangest things. They are almost like black holes for various miscellaneous stuff, and everyone who has ever gone through and cleaned one out has no doubt turned up some piece of long lost memorabilia or forgotten piece of personal history. Yet on occasion basements can cough up even more bizarre findings that have remained sequestered there in those dank confines for years or even decades. One remarkable such case is the time that a whole bunch of old, mysterious NASA tapes were found squirreled away in a basement, only to later be unceremoniously destroyed to leave conspiracy theories swirling.

In December of 2015, NASA got a call from an anonymous scrap dealer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who said that he might have something of interest for them. In the basement of a home he had visited to appraise scrap he found there in those dank confines two gigantic 1960s Apollo era computer mainframes and hundreds upon hundreds of NASA tape reels, some of them marked and some of them not. The very heavy and bulky computers were labelled as having belonged to the Goddard Space Flight Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the scrap dealer was unsure what to make of all of this. NASA found all of this very curious indeed, and immediately began checking out this odd claim.

It was found that the basement belonged to a deceased NASA contractor, whose name was redacted in the official report, but who had basically been given the expensive computers and reams of tapes by the IBM Allegheny Center in Pittsburgh sometime between 1968-1972, and then had sort of just buried them away to collect dust down in his basement. They were then apparently forgotten until he died sometime in 2011 and the scrap collector got his hands on them in 2015. In addition to the vintage computers were found a total of 325 old-fashioned reel style data tapes, and among the labelled ones were 1 reel from the Pioneer 8 space mission, 2 reels from Pioneer 9, 40 reels from Pioneer 10, 53 reels from Pioneer 11, 10 from the Helios 1 mission, 2 marked as “HESA,” and 2 labelled “Intelsat IV.” It was all so old and from such well-known missions that no one could figure out how any of it could have just disappeared to end up in some random basement, and one NASA employee working on the case would marvel, “It really feels like archeology to me.” The NASA inspector on the scene would write in his report:

I conducted an initial assessment of the material on December 10, 2015. This assessment confirmed the approximate number of 325 magnetic data tape reels that each measured 14″ in diameter with a magnetic tape dimension of ½” and contained by a metal reel. The assessment also showed that the magnetic tapes were in poor condition and almost all were affected by moderate to severe mould, which is identified as a health risk. Most of the tapes were not labelled and of the tapes that were labelled, the content appeared to be space science related with missions including Pioneer and Helios and the inclusive dates range was 1961-1974.

Within the found items were apparently some odd curiosities, such as the fact that one of the tapes for Pioneer 11 was dated 1972, despite the fact that the mission actually launched in 1973, and on top of this the contract duration for one of these 1960s computers was listed as lasting from 2003 to 2004. Why? Who knows? Even weirder is that NASA had no record of the contract to begin with, and furthermore, the serial numbers for the two massive computers were found to not match anything in NASA’s files and as far as they could tell these numbers didn’t officially exist. This all seems as if it surely must have been of some historical importance, that is must have been something NASA would be glad to get their hands on after more than four decades of languishing literally underground. So what did NASA do? Well, they ordered the inspector working on the case to have the data tapes destroyed. All of them. Wait, what?

The official reasoning was that the tapes were too moldy and damaged to be of any value, yet at the same time NASA made sure that the public version of this case, released after a request under the Freedom of Information Act made by Motherboardhad every single name, date, and address redacted. Why would they do this if is was just a bunch of insignificant tapes with no meaning? Why, indeed, and this is where the conspiracies come into play. There are numerous anomalies, such as the lack of serial numbers on file, the oddly labelled tapes, the strange contract dates, and the fact that they had ended up in that basement to begin with, especially considering that the two mainframes were so bulky and heavy it would have required a crane to move them into place. Also, why would NASA just let this contractor help himself to all of this stuff, especially considering that in that era they frequently reused tapes rather than throwing them out, plus the fact that the computers themselves were very expensive pieces of hardware? The reasons for any of this are unknown, but there have certainly been ideas.

Of course one idea is that NASA never did destroy those tapes, and they did hold something important on them. Along these same lines is the idea that they held something important and they were destroyed so that no one would ever see it. Either way we are left with the overarching question of just what was on them in the first place. NASA itself has thrown out the proposal that they were likely empty, but it that was the case then why were so many of them labelled for historic mission? Ideas for what might be on those tapes range from secret classified information on those space missions to evidence of UFOs, but there is absolutely no way to know. The computers themselves were never moved or reclaimed by NASA, just the tapes, but without those the old mainframes are more or less big pieces of junk. So how did these computers and tapes end up in that basement and what did they contain? What did NASA really do with them after finding them again after all of those years? We will probably never know for sure, and it is a curious case of things turning up in the oddest of places.

Source: Mysterious Universe News Feed

Mercury Might Be Home to Alien Life

By | March 28, 2020

The list of places in our solar system that might be home to extraterrestrial life just keeps getting longer. There are moons around Saturn and Jupiter that may be the most likely place to find alien life and it’s recently become more possible that Mars might have life below its surface, too. Some scientists have even put forth Earth’s evil-twin Venus as potentially having alien life. And now Mercury, the closest planet to the sun, has also been put forward as a potential, although very unlikely, home for extraterrestrial life.

A new paper published in the journal Scientific Reports lays out the case for life on Mercury. While the planet’s small size and close proximity to the sun results in no real atmosphere and a surface temperature hot enough to melt lead, the new paper’s authors believe that if life were to exist on Mercury it would be underground. The clue to potential sub-surface life lies in Mercury’s distinctive “chaotic terrain.” Speaking to the New York Times, co-author of the paper Dr. Deborah Domingue, of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, says:

“Think of a kid throwing up a bunch of building blocks and how they land. Some are up, some are down, some are tilted — that’s chaotic terrain.”

Terrain on Mercury.

For almost 50 years,  Mercury’s chaotic terrain has been blamed on earthquakes resulting from a massive meteor impact. The new paper challenges that explanation, arguing that the chaotic terrain was created some two billion years the meteor impact.

The researchers, led by Dr. Alexis Rodriguez, also found that there are areas of the chaotic terrain that appear sunken, as if layers of the terrain have simply vanished. The most likely explanation is the presence of subsurface volatiles, chemicals that can easily change between solids liquids and gasses. The researchers postulate that an intrusion of magma from Mercury’s core heated these volatiles, turned them rapidly into gasses and knocked the supports out from the chaotic terrain. These volatiles are also where the possibility of life comes into play. One of the most well known of possible subsurface volatiles is water.

If there’s one thing everyone knows about Mercury, it’s that the planet is extremely hot. The surface temperature can reach  800 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Due to the lack of atmosphere, night time on Mercury can drop to negative 290 degrees Fahrenheit. Neither day or night on the surface of Mercury is conducive to liquid water, let alone life, but if it exists it wouldn’t be on the surface but below it.

Only a short distance below the surface, the temperatures on Mercury become much more reasonable. Not for us, of course. It’s still hot enough to cook us alive. But we’ve found microbes in deep-sea vents Earth that thrive in hotter-than-boiling water. If there were pockets of pockets of water below the surface of Mercury, it may be an ideal environment for some types of life. Co-author of the study Jeffrey Kargel says:

“It is possible that as long as there was water, the temperatures would be appropriate for the survival and possibly the origin of life.”

 

I thought Alexis had lost it at some point. But the more I dug into the geologic evidence and the more I thought about the chemistry and physical conditions there, the more I realized that this idea — well it might be nuts, but it’s not completely nuts.”

Researchers say there’s little to no possibility of underground oceans, lakes, or anything of that nature on Mercury. Any subsurface water would be bound to rocks in small clusters. Any life that would be under the surface of Mercury would be very basic, microbial lifeforms, and even that is an outside possibility. But still, it’s beginning to seem like habitable environments, of some sort, in our solar system may be the norm, rather than the exception.

Source: Mysterious Universe News Feed

Anaximander of Miletus and His Philosophy on the Origin of All Things

By | March 27, 2020
Representative image of the philosopher Anaximander.

Whence things have their origin,
Thence also their destruction happens,
As is the order of things;
For they execute the sentence upon one another
– The condemnation for the crime –
In conformity with the ordinance of Time.

-Anaximander on generation and destruction

Anaximander of Miletus was a Pre-Socratic philosopher. Many scholars regard him as the first metaphysician due to his belief in the “Boundless.” Despite their faults, his views opened up the cosmos for others and make him one of the first speculative astronomers.

This philosopher belonged to the Milesian school. As indicated by its name, this school of thought was based in the city of Miletus on the western coast of Anatolia, modern day Turkey. Anaximander is one of the three prominent figures in this philosophical school, the other two being Thales and Anaximenes, the former commonly thought to have been Anaximander’s teacher, and the latter, his student.

Source: Ancient Origins Syndicated Content

The Time the Russians Found a Derelict Alien Spaceship in Orbit

By | March 27, 2020

Many people may not realize it, but far above our heads, out in space in orbit around our planet away from where the eye can see is a giant junkyard. There, clogging our orbit is all manner of debris, including nonfunctional spacecraft, abandoned launch vehicle stages, mission-related debris, spent rocket stages, derelict satellites, and a hodgepodge of millions and millions of pieces of miscellaneous junk we have discarded into space. It spreads out in a vast sea of garbage which, although luckily invisible to us on the ground, creates a hazard for spacecraft and satellites. Yet, according to some wild stories, there is more than just garbage up there spinning about our planet past where the eye can see, and one of the strangest of these is a supposed broken alien spaceship complete with entombed alien bodies orbiting the earth.

In 1979, the Soviet astrophysicist Sergei Boshich came forward with the spectacular claim that he had found evidence of what he called a crippled alien spacecraft that had broken up into pieces and was hovering in orbit. By his estimates, he had thus far managed to track 10 pieces of wreckage from the spacecraft, several of which he estimated as being around 100 feet in length. Boshich said he had calculated the trajectories of the debris and come to the conclusion that they had scattered from some sort of space explosion on December 18, 1955, and even more bizarre was that it was his assertion that this mysterious derelict craft was likely now a tomb containing the bodies of the ship’s occupants. It sounds like the rantings of a conspiracy nutcase, but there were allegedly others who backed up these findings, including one Soviet astrophysicist and science fiction writer Aleksandr Kazantsev, who would say “Its size would suggest several floors, possibly five. We believe that alien bodies will still be on board.”

The scientists were quick to rule out the possibility that it could be space junk originating from Earth, as the purported explosion predated the first human object in space, which would have been the Sputnik 1 launched in 1957. They also denied that it could be a meteor, as it was maintaining a steady orbit rather than the falling of a meteor. According to Boshich and his team of scientists, all evidence pointed to an alien craft that had blown up in space, and one o Moscow physicist, Dr Vladimir Azhazha, would say:

Meteors do not have orbits. They plummet aimlessly, hurtling erratically through space. And they do not explode spontaneously. All the evidence we have gathered over the past decade points to one thing — a crippled alien craft. It must hold secrets we have not even dreamed of. A rescue mission should be launched. The vessel, or what is left of it, should be reassembled here on Earth. The benefits to mankind could be stupendous.

Apparently the discovery generated interest from the Americans as well, and according to the story there was some degree of cooperation among them to come up with a plan to salvage the crippled spacecraft and possibly even board it. One problem was that the Soviets were being very secretive with the information they had, which generated skepticism from British scientists. One British scientist would say:

There are more than 4,000 pieces of wreckage orbiting the Earth. Each has a catalogue number to identify it. We would like to know the catalogue number of this wreck. It is possible to date wreckage after a considerable number of observations. Like the Americans, we would be interested to look at this if the Russians make the information available.

Quite interestingly, it had been pointed out in a 1969 article in the magazine Icarus, astronomer John Bagby claimed to have found 10 moonlets in orbit around the earth, which he had calculated had spread from a single source on the date December 18, 1955, the same day as was claimed by Boshich 10 years later. The story of what had gone on to be called “The Boshich Wreckage” was printed in various news sources at the time, and generated a fair amount of speculation and conspiracies. One was that, although there was no official confirmation that an actual salvage mission had actually been launched, the Americans and Soviets had secretly gone and done it. Another theory was that this was all a smokescreen put out by the Soviets to cause misinformation in the Cold War of the period, a total fabrication quite possibly based on the article in Icarus.

Of course there is also the possibility that the whole story is a big sham to begin with. Although the discovery was printed in a wide variety of publications, it all originated with an article in the British tabloid newspaper Reveille, which is in many ways sort of like The National Enquirer and not known for being a particularly trustworthy source. It furthermore seems that there is no real confirmation that any of this happened at all, and so rather than some conspiracy maybe it was all just made up by some bored newspaper writer. What is going on with this all? Was it ever really real in any sense, and if so, how? Was this some conspiracy launched by the Russians to mess with the United States, a real crashed UFO floating around in space, a cover-up, or just an entertaining yarn? Whatever it may be, it is certainly a curious little account, and one wonders just what became of this all in the end.

Source: Mysterious Universe News Feed