Project Blue Book staff members in 1963. Image Credit: US Air Force
It has been five decades since the US government closed the lid on its infamous UFO research project.
Carried out by the US Air Force between 1952 and 1969, Project Blue Book was an in-depth study of unidentified flying objects - the largest of its kind ever undertaken.
It had two main goals - to determine if UFOs were a threat and to scientifically analyze the data.
By the time the project had ended, it had collected an archive of some 12,618 UFO reports. While most of these were deemed to have conventional explanations, a small percentage of the sightings remained 'unexplained' even after being subjected to stringent analysis.
Officially, it was concluded that none of the UFO sightings investigated by the Air Force posed a risk to the United States and nor did they represent evidence of alien visitors or advanced technology.
Not everyone however is convinced that things were quite that straight forward.
According to Mark O'Connell, author of 'The Close Encounters Man: How One Man Made the World Believe in UFOs
', it had quickly become apparent that investigators were way over their heads.
"Strictly speaking, Project Blue Book was formed to determine whether UFOs represented a threat to our nation," he told Popular Mechanics
. "Over time, when it was evident that Blue Book was utterly incapable of answering that question, its mission became one of 'making the UFOs go away.'"
"It was a rigged game because Blue Book investigators were under constant pressure to debunk and explain away any and all UFO reports that reached their offices."
"The worst sin one could commit on the Blue Book staff was to mark a case 'unexplained.'"
Project Blue Book officially closed its doors on December 17th, 1969, however operations didn't completely cease until January of the following year.
"The committee recommended that the Air Force get out of the UFO business," said O'Connell.
"And the Air Force was more than happy to follow the study's recommendation to pull the plug on its 20-year headache."
Source: Popular Mechanics | Comments (4)
Project Blue Book, UFO