Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Chromium isotope ratios

Man Claims Metal Fragment Came From a UFO

It sounds like something you would see on the front cover of a tabloid magazine, but after watching the story aired in the History Channel special "UFO Hunters", I was intrigued at the notion of physical evidence from a UFO sighting. Having heard of other similar experiences of UFO crafts shedding material before disappearing, I decided to look into it further.

In 1985, Bob White was traveling in a car on his way to Los Vegas when he and a female companion encountered a UFO. But unlike most sightings, this UFO ejected something before disappearing. [1] The object struck the ground near them, so Bob went to go see what it was. He found the metal fragment in a ditch and was still glowing red-hot. After it cooled off, he put it in the trunk of the car and they continued on their way.

The fragment was shaped in the form of a teardrop approximately 30 centimeters long, and had unusual feathering or scales flowing toward the tail.

After he retired, Bob White decided it was time to share it with the world, and has invested his life savings into getting his story out. He has displayed the fragment in the Museum of the Unexplained and has had several tests done to try to prove it is extra-terrestrial. The tests show that it is comprised mostly of aluminum and silicon, with other trace elements. It did not contain any unknown material, and the conclusion from the lab was that it was similar to a known alloy Aluminum 360. But the percentage of elements doesn't quite match, and there was no trace of any Tin, which was used in Aluminum 360. [1]

Bob White has passed several polygraph or lie detector tests in regard to how he found the fragment including the UFO. He has withstood all the ridicule and is very adamant about his story, and has not deviated from it. He wrote a book called "UFO Hard Evidence" and has two websites explaining his story. [1, 2]

A declassified government document from 1948 was found to contain pictures of a similar metal fragment. The CIC (Counter Intelligence Corp, predecessor of the CIA) document was simply marked "Flying Saucer from Denmark". [3] Later Dr. Gilbert Jordan came forward and said he had performed tests on the CIC fragment for the military. He said that it was very similar to Bob White's fragment as well as the elements it contained. [2]

I first thought that there could be a simpler explanation, so I put the UFO sighting aside, and looked into the scientific aspect. The easiest explanation would be that the object was formed naturally. Aluminum is extracted from Bauxite and does not occur naturally in its pure form, so that rules that out. The next explanation that came to mind is that it was a meteorite that melted from entering Earth's atmosphere. Meteorites do contain metal elements like iron and nickel, but none has ever been found to contain aluminum. Another possibility is that maybe it was a piece of space junk that fell back to Earth. But after looking at pictures of objects from a Delta 2 rocket that fell back to Earth, it appears that space debris still retains its recognizable shape.

I have been in contact with Dr. Robert H. Gibbons who was curator of the Museum of the Unexplained for two years. He has been very helpful in explaining the test results, and has offered insight into to the story. I was interested in the Strontium isotope abundance ratios, because I know this is what scientists look for in meteorites. Scientists use this test to try to determine the origin of an object. Interestingly the ratios were similar to those found in meteorites from Mars. This doesn't mean it came from Mars, and it is also within the range of terrestrial origin. Dr. Gibbons said a more definitive test would be Chromium isotope ratios, which may prove that it is extra-terrestrial. There are only four labs that can do the test, and they are having trouble finding someone to do them. [4]

I guess the reason I found the case interesting is because of the description of previous cases of a UFO giving off sparks or shedding material. The first case that came to mind was the Rendleshem Forrest incident in 1980. I also found that there were other cases where similar metal fragments have been found, that I am looking into and will post what I find. Skeptics will argue that the UFO phenomenon can't be substantiated because of the lack of physical evidence. If proven scientifically that the fragment is extraterrestrial, Bob White's fragment could be the hard evidence he claims it to be.

[2] UFO Hard Evidence, Bob White, Galde Press 2005
[3] (Document file #1 labeled "Army")

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** RealEYES looking for a LAB...


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