Thus goes the usual argument by those who would never place faith in UFO sightings or metaphysical experiences. Such science acolytes see high-tech hardware and rocket jets as the only viable means of exploring space. They view our astronauts as men and women operating strictly within the confines of conventional science and engineering. They place unlimited faith in NASA’s ability to study the universe by spending taxpayer money solely on traditional technology.
So, where does this leave the astronauts? Has this nation’s spacefarers confronted the unknown in space?
The answer is a resounding “yes”. The problem is that the mass media usually fails to widely distribute any such experiences.
And, as a whole, U.S. astronauts appear to have maintained a united front - stoutly denying than any valid UFO encounters have taken place. Following a news conference in March, 1996, devoted to artifacts in space, particularly the famous “face on Mars, ” Apollo Astronaut Alan Bean told the media, “It’s not true. No one, certainly not me and Pete Conrad, who I was with the whole time, saw anything that suggested ancient civilizations.” NASA spokesman Brian Welch added, “Everything we found, we made public.”
Despite these assurances, many researchers remain unconvinced. Rumors have persisted for years that the astronauts - nearly all military officers susceptible to being silenced under orders - may have seen something more on the moon than rocks and dust. A According to transcripts of the technical debriefing following the Apollo 11 mission, astronauts Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins told of an encounter with a large cylindrical UFO even before reaching the moon. Aldrin said, “The first unusual thing that we saw I guess was one day out or pretty close to the moon. It had a sizable dimension to it...” Aldrin said the Apollo crew at first thought the object was the Saturn 4 booster rocket (S-IVB) but added, “We called the ground and were told the S-IVB was 6, 000 miles away.” Aldrin described the UFO as a cylinder while Armstrong said it was “...really two rings. Two connected rings.” Collins also said it appeared to be a hollow cylinder which was tumbling. He added, “It was a hollow cylinder. But then you could change the focus on the sextant and it would be replaced by this open-book shape. It was really weird.”
Even more strange was the experience of Aldrin and Armstrong, after they reached the moon.
According to an Associated Press story of July 20, 1969 (my file copy is from the San Bernardino Sun-Telegram), the astronauts sighted eerie lights inside a crater near the point on the moon where their lunar lander was due to touch down the next day.
On their first sweep around the moon, Armstrong described a mysterious bright light on the inner wall of the crater Aristarchus, located north of their flight path. “It seems to have a slight amount of florescence to it. The area in the crater is quite bright, ” he reported. “That area is definitely brighter than anything else I can see. There doesn’t appear to be any color involved in it…It looks like an eerie sight, ” confirmed Aldrin.
Two astronauts who appear to have broken ranks are Dr. Edgar Mitchell and Gordon Cooper. On a Oprah Winfrey Show on July 19, 1991, Mitchell hinted that all information regarding UFOs has not been released, saying, “I do believe that here is a lot more known about extraterrestrial investigation than is available to the public right now (and) has been for a long time.It’s a long, long story. It goes back to World War II when all of that happened, and is highly classified stuff.”
On “Dateline NBC” in 1996, Mitchell was even more candid. “I have no firsthand experience, but I have had the opportunity to meet with people from three countries who in the course of their official duties claim to have had personal firsthand encounter experiences...with extraterrestrials, ” he said. Recently, Mitchell flatly stated that some advanced military craft use technology derived from alien spacecraft that have been collected by the U.S. Government.
Cooper, in a letter read during a 1978 meeting at the United Nations to discuss UFOs, stated, “...I believe that these extraterrestrial vehicles and their crews are visiting this planet form other planets, which are obviously a little more advanced than we are here on Earth.”
Also that year, Cooper wrote a letter to the ambassador of the Mission of Grenada to the United Nations supporting a UN initiative to study UFOs. In his letter, Cooper stated that astronauts “are very reluctant to even discuss UFOs due to the great numbers of people who have indiscriminately sold fake stories and forged documents abusing their names and reputations without hesitation. Those few astronauts who have continued to participate in the UFO field have had to do so very cautiously. There are several of us who do believe in UFOs and who have had occasion to see a UFO on the ground, or from an airplane.”