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UFO ROUNDUP, Volume 4, Number 23

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  • Frits Westra
    UFO ROUNDUP Volume 4, Number 23 September 30, 1999 Editor: Joseph TrainorMARS CLIMATE ORBITER DISAPPEARSOn Thursday, September 23, 1999, at 5:05 a.m.,
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 30 2:13 PM
      Volume 4, Number 23
      September 30, 1999
      Editor: Joseph Trainor


      On Thursday, September 23, 1999, at 5:05 a.m., scientists at NASA's
      Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California were monitoring the Mars
      Climate Observer (MCO) as it began its final approach into orbit
      around Mars. The Mars Climate Observer was launched from Earth on
      December 11, 1998. NASA hoped that the $125 million spacecraft "would
      return the most detailed information yet about Mars' climate and
      atmospheric conditions." The MCO passed behind Mars, ready to begin a
      17-minute engine burn maneuver that would slow its speed and drop it
      into a Martian orbit. But, at the moment the spacecraft should have
      emerged from nehind Mars, JPL sent a radio signal and received nothing
      by way of a response. "We're not quite sure what's happening," said
      project manager Richard Cook after the MCO failed to answer the
      signal. "We don't know what specifically happened to the spacecraft,"
      Cook added, "We believe it came in at a lower altitude." The Mars
      Climate Orbiter "was last heard from about 5:05 a.m. Thursday after it
      fired its engine to slow down as it neared Mars. All systems were
      fine as it slipped behind the planet and out of radio range from
      Earth." "Controllers thought the spacecraft was on a course to fly no
      lower than 87 miles (149 kilometers) above the surface on the far side
      of Mars. That would be low enough to be captured by Martian gravity
      but high enough to avoid damage from atmospheric friction." "But the
      spacecraft failed to reappear on the other side of Mars about 20
      minutes later when it would have been back in radio range."
      "Controllers checked their calculations and found that the spacecraft
      had been on a (flight) path just 37 miles (59 kilometers) above the
      surface--so close to Mars that atmospheric friction probably burned or
      shattered it, Cook said." "'We're never had an error like this in the
      spacecraft business that I could recall,' says Lou Friedman, executive
      director of the non-profit Planetary Society in Pasadena. 'This is
      unprecedented, and we'll learn a lot from it.'" "The loss will not
      hurt Martian exploration in the long run, said Carl Pilcher, NASA's
      chief of solar systems exploration. The agency plans at least one
      Mars mission every two years for at least a decade. The same type of
      instruments aboard Climate Orbiter can be flown on missions planned in
      2006 or 2007." On Saturday, September 25, 1999, at 3 p.m., NASA ended
      its radio search for the missing spacecraft. The agency had been
      using the three 70-meter (230-foot) diameter dish antennae of their
      Deep Space Network in the hopes of re-acquiring a radio signal from
      the MCO. For now, the Mars Climate Orbiter seems to have met the same
      dismal fate of the Mars Observer in 1993 and the Pathfinder/Sojourner
      mission of 1997. (See USA Today for Friday, September 24, 1999, page
      6A, "Bad math may have lost spacecraft" by Paul Hovenstern.) (Editor's
      Comment: The loss of the Mars Climate Observer wasn't the only
      unusual event happening in space last week. Read on...)


      Astronomers in Hawaii last week announced the discovery of "three new,
      distinct, weirdly- orbiting moons around Uranus, bringing the planet's
      satellite total to 21, the most in our solar system." "The discovery
      of these irregular satellites is very important because it seems that
      Uranus is not an oddball but rather is like Neptune, Saturn and
      Jupiter," Matthew Hormar of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for
      Astrophysics said in a statement Monday," September 21, 1999. "If
      these new moons are confirmed, and added to the two other irregular
      satellits observed in 1997, Uranus would have 16 regular and 5
      irregular moons, the most of any known planet." "Irregular satellits
      do not follow the near-circular orbit of most satellites, including
      (Luna) Earth's Moon." Instead these irregular moons follow "highly
      elliptical orbits or follow paths that are severely tipped to the
      plane of the planet's equator." (See the Reuters report for September
      22, 1999. Many thanks to Steve Wilson Sr. for forwarding this news
      story.) (Editor's Comment: Curious how these three "weirdly-orbiting
      moons" were missed by both Voyager spacecraft during their Uranus
      flybys in the 1980s. It'll be interesting to see if their presence is
      confirmed by other astronomers. On the other hand, if these large
      objects in orbit around Uranus are the "saucer carriers" of an alien
      task force, then maybe we have an answer to the loss of the Mars
      Climate Observer and the spectacular recent surge in UFO sightings.)


      "Astronomers worldwide are tracking down a mysterious and unusual
      burst of energy that exploded like a flash bulb in the sky last week,
      lingered several hours and disappeared." "The sudden flash turned a
      star too dim to see except with a good telescope into one almost
      visible to the naked eye. But the outburst really wowed astronomers
      in invisible wavelengths-- X-ray, gamma ray and radio--when it flashed
      more than 120 times stronger than normal, to become briefly the
      brightest object in the sky." "Messages flashed through cyberspace as
      astronomers buzzed about something very peculiar going on." "''It's
      become kind of a global detective story,' said American University
      astronomer Richard Berendzen." "On Sept. 15, as a storm approached in
      Australia, Rod Stubbings, as amateur astronomer, snatched a glance at
      a star that is known to flicker a bit in the southern constellation
      Sagittarius." "'Wow! This is some outburst,' Stubbings recalled via
      email. 'I closed up the observatory, ran inside and reported the
      outburst.'" "Then the worldwide hunt started. Researchers scoured the
      spectrum from long-range radio waves to very short wave X-rays and
      gamma rays. Astronomers at the Massachusetts Institude of Technology
      diverted a NASA X-ray telescope to take a look." "'This one came
      screaming out of nowhere at us,' said MIT rsearcher Donald Smith."
      "'Something really unusual is going on,' said astronomer Bob Hjellming
      at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in New Mexico. 'It's
      gotten odder and odder as we've gotten pieces of data on it.'"
      "Gamma-ray astronomers started an independent investigation. They
      were floored by what they saw." "'It's kind of like you were sitting
      out on your porch seeing a rabbit going hopping across and then
      another and then another and then a 500-pound gorilla is going across.
      And you're sitting there saying, 'Did this really happen?'' said Mike
      McCullough, a gamma-ray scientist at the University Space Research
      Association in Huntsville, Alabama." (See the Duluth, Minn.
      News-Tribune for September 26, 1999, page 16A, "Astronomers still
      hunting for flash's source.") (Editor's Comment: I have to ask it.
      Did this mysterious flash have anything to do with the disappearance
      of the Mars Climate Observer?)


      On Friday, September 17, 1999, residents of the city of Ferrara in
      northern Italy spotted "an object with a very long luminous tail,
      moving at an extremely high velocity.." Witnesses said the OVNI
      (Italian acronym for UFO) "had a luminosity that was five times the
      size of Jupiter's. The object was a silver-blue color and was seen by
      10 witnesses." Ferrara is 75 kilometers (45 miles) northeast of
      Bologna. On Sunday, September 19, 1999, at 10 p.m., municipal police
      in Viterbo received dozens of telephone calls reporting "an OVNI
      approaching Tuscia and being a white light surrounded by multi-colored
      lights." "'It was very speedy,' said all of the witnesses." The UFO
      "caused much apprehension and alarm among the populace." Viterbo is a
      city located about 55 miles (88 kilometers) north of Rome. (See the
      Italian newspaper Il Corriere di Viterbo for September 20, 1999.
      Grazie a Alfredo Lissoni e Giuseppe Monticelli di Centro Ufologici
      Nazionale (CUN) d'Italia per questo rapporto.)


      On Monday, August 23, 1999, at 11:20 p.m., an air freight pilot flying
      a twin-engine Beech Baron BE-58 at an altitude of 5,500 feet Mean Sea
      Level (MSL) when he caught sight of a dark triangular UFO. The aerial
      encounter took place just north of Dubuque, Iowa (population 57,546),
      a city on Highway 20 approximately 203 miles (324 kilometers)
      northeast of Des Moines. The pilot, who declined to be identified,
      reported, "During a moon rise in the eastern sky at 11:20 p.m., an
      object caught my attention, moving at an unusually high rate of speed.
      As I looked upward and focused on the object, I made out a dark blue
      or almost black trianglular craft flying grid patterns in a
      north-to-south and east- to-west pattern." "I noticed the craft was
      leaving behind its travel path a gray misty contrail, which seemed to
      be falling into small puffy clouds between myself and the craft." He
      estimated that the triangular UFO was flying at an altitude of about
      10,500 feet MSL. "When the Flying Triangle made a change of direction,
      it was done very abruptly. Ninety-degree turns were made with no
      gradual change of direction. They were instantaneous. I estimated
      its rate of speed to be 500 to 800 knots, nearly ten times that of my
      rate of speed. The craft had no lights. The only way I could see it
      was by the reflection on its surface of the nearly full moon." "After
      flying for an additional 12 minutes, I noticed the contrails
      descending or falling past my aircraft. They almost looked like
      snowflakes, but the air temperature (outside the plane) was only 50
      degrees Fahrenheit." Passing through the contrail, the pilot said his
      lungs "began to feel inflamed and irritated. I also felt a burning
      sensation and had to keep my breathing rate low at the time." (Many
      thanks to Steve Wilson Sr. for forwarding this report.)


      On Saturday, September 25, 1999, at 9:45 p.m., six residents of
      Dandridge, Tennessee (population 1,540), a small mountain town 23
      miles (36 kilometers) northeast of Knoxville, gathered to do some
      skywatching. The group included three couples--Patricia and David G.,
      Elizabeth and Rex C. and Angela and Colin T., all of Dandridge, who
      were standing by with binoculars, two telescopes and a videocamera set
      upon a tripod. From 9:45 p.m. to 12:45 a.m., the six people "watched
      this mysterious light in the northeastern sky about 20 to 35 degrees
      above the horizon for three hours." "Through the telescopes, we could
      see three distant lights rotating, pulsating and flashing," Patricia
      G. reported, "They were white, orange-red and green. The lights would
      move and flash and continue right out of range of the telescope lens.
      The telescopes were not moved or touched." "Every so often, another
      red flash could be seen 'below' the light, with arms that extended two
      inches below the original," she added. Patricia reported that UFOs
      have been seen "off and on" in the Dandridge area all summer. (Email


      On Sunday, September 19, 1999, at 10:36 a.m., a resident of North
      Vancouver, British Columbia, Cnada (population 38,436) reported seeing
      "eight or nine brightly shining objects, some with tails, extremely
      high in the sky over North Vancouver, heading towards Horseshoe Bay."
      Later the same day, at 9:10 p.m., "a resident of Nanaimo, B.C.
      observed an object heading north from the 2 o'clock to the 10 o'clock
      position, a 40-degree angular sweep across eight miles east to west at
      approximately an altitude far above 10,000 feet (3,000 meters)" The
      UFO was described as "whitish with three lights in a triangle.. There
      was one object and it happened in five seconds." Nanaimo, B.C.
      (population 60,129) is a port city on the eastern shore of Vancouver
      Island about 35 miles (56 kilometers) west of Vancouver city via
      ferry. (Many thanks to Donald Ledger for this report.) (Editor's
      Comment: Eight miles in five seconds works out to an airspeed of 5,760
      miles per hour.)


      On Sunday, September 19, 1999, at 8:30 p.m., Christen S. was walking
      her dog in her hometown of Boronia, Victoria state, Australia when she
      noticed something unusual in the sky. "I had just seen three bright
      lights in the sky," Christen told Diane Harrison of the Australian UFO
      Research Network. "About the size of a (Australian) five-cent piece.
      A dull orange star-like object. At first I thought they were stars,
      but they moved in a V formation. When they went away, they formed a
      straight line and faded off in the distance." On Wednesday, September
      22, 1999, at 8:30 p.m., Fabian T. and some friends were in Musgrave,
      Bayswater, Vic. "when a guy yelled to me to have a look at these three
      strange lights in the sky.." "They were big. They just hung in the
      sky," Fabrian reported, "One moved away from the other. They did this
      for about four or five minutes. Then they formed a V formation and
      faded out one at a time." "I'll tell you, we were all scared. It was
      as though it was watching us. I got to my car and took off home. And
      I tell you, I don't scare easily." (Many thanks to Diane Harrison of
      Australian UFO Research Network for these reports.)


      On Friday, September 10, 1999, Martin, a UK policeman, and his wife
      were in Weston Zoyland, Somerset, UK when they spotted a bright UFO
      in the sky. "My wife and I observed a bright light much larger than a
      star and moving at a very rapid speed to 120 degrees from north from
      85 degrees from north. We were heading in an easterly direction from
      our home in Weston Zoyland at 0500 hours (5 a.m. UK time--J.T.)" "The
      object suddenly became stationary for about 15 minutes, during which
      time I observed it through my telescope. It appeared to have a
      spherical underside, but the top was not spherical. One side had a
      faint red glow. After this period of time, it moved in a direct line
      at a great speed and eventually disappeared." (Many thanks to John
      Hayes for this news story.)

      (Note from John Hayes: If anyone has more information on this story
      please send details to Masinaigan@... and Dave ufo@...
      from the United Kingdom UFO Network who sent me the original report.


      More crop circles appeared in the small town of Midale, Saskatchewan
      last week, making it the focus of Canada's current crop circle flap.
      Midale (population 497) is on Provincial Highway 39 about 98 miles
      (157 kilometers) southeast of Regina. On Monday, September 14, 1999, a
      pilot spotted "a formation of (crop) circles just east of Midale,"
      according to reporter Sherri Tessier, "One circle is a simple large
      ring complex 80 feet (24.24 meters) to 90 feet (27.27 meters) in
      diametre. Another is a smaller circle with two surrounding rings,
      about 50 feet (15.15 meters) in diametre." On Tuesday, September 28,
      1999, another crop circle formation was spotted from the air by pilot
      John Erickson and researcher Nancy Talbott. The crop circle was found
      "four miles east and one mile north of Midale" and consisted of "a
      large 50-foot (15.15 meter) to 60-foot (18.18 meter) circle" in a
      wheat field "with a circle of standing wheat about three feet across."
      A crop circle formation was also found in Canada's Alberta province
      recently. On Saturday, September 4, 1999, farmer Carl Kuhn was
      combining his field of durum wheat in Acadia Valley, Alberta, a small
      town on Provincial Highway 41 approximately 115 miles (184 kilometers)
      north of Medicine Hat, when he spotted a crop circle. Kuhn reported
      that the circles "were in a straight line about 10 feet (3 meters)
      apart. The first two were about 30 feet (9 meters) in diametre, the
      largest on the right end is about 60 feet (18.18 meters) in diametre.
      All have a counterclockwise lay." According to Paul Anderson of
      Circles Phenomenon Research-Canada, "In the largest circle there are
      series of single standing stalks spaced about every two or three
      square feet., which show no signs of every having been touched or
      flattened down," adding that Kuhn reported "no entry pathways" near
      the circles within the wheat field. (Many thanks to Paul Anderson of
      CPR-Canada for these reports.)


      On Tuesday, September 21, 1999, at 6:47 p.m., the witness, who was
      visiting his parents' home in East Sussex, about 60 miles (96
      kilometers) south of London, was in the kitchen, "when all of a
      sudden, a high-pitched tone came from nowhere. I raced into the garden
      but couldn't see anything. About ten seconds later, it faded, only to
      be replaced by roar of a very low, unmrked, chunky black helicopter
      circling around the small block of homes where my parents live." "It
      just hovered about 200 to 225 feet above us in the garden. I ran and
      grabbed a disposable camera and took nine pics (photographs). It
      stayed above us for about nine minutes, then took off down the road
      into the sunset." "Think I'll have that cup of tea now." (Many thanks
      to witness Steve B. and John Hayes for this report.)

      from the UFO Files...


      What do three of the USA's most famous celebrities--singer Rosemary
      Clooney, 71, TV and movie actor George Clooney, 38, and the new Miss
      America for the year 2000, Heather Renee French, 24, have in common?
      They all hail from Augusta, Kentucky (population 2,000), a town on the
      south bank of the Ohio River on Highway 8 about 63 miles (100
      kilometers) north of Lexington. The small riverfront town has a past
      full of strange mysteries. Let's start with the surprising discovery
      of some weird bones in Augusta back in 1792. According to author Lewis
      Collins, an early settler, Gen. John Payne, made a strange discovery
      while building his house along the Ohio River "The bottom on which
      Augusta is situated is a large burying ground of the ancients...They
      have been found in great numbers, and of all sizes, everywhere between
      the mouths of Bracken and Locust Creeks, a distance of about a mile
      and a half. From the cellar under my (Payne's) dwelling, 60 by 70
      feet, over a hundred and ten skeletons were taken. I measured them by
      skulls, and there might have been more, whose skulls had crumbled into
      dust...The skeletons were of all sizes, from seven feet to infant.
      David Kilgour (who was a tall and very large man) passed our village
      at the time I was excavating my cellar , and we took him down and
      applied a thigh bone to his. The man, if well-proportioned, must have
      been 10 to 12 inches taller than Kilgour, and the lower jaw bone would
      slip on over his, skin and all. Who were they? How came their bones
      here?" "When I was in the army, I inquired of old Crane, a Wyandot
      (Huron Indian--J.T.) and of Anglerson, a Delaware (proper name Lenni
      Lenape--J.T.), both intelligent old chiefs, and they could give me no
      information in reference to these remains of antiquity. Some of the
      largest trees of the forest were growing over the remains when the
      land was cleared in 1792." (See Historical Sketches of Kentucky by
      Lewis Collins, Maysville, Ky. 1847, page 205.) On December 21, 1806,
      the town of Augusta had a distinguished--some might say infamous--
      visitor. None other than Harman Blennerhassett, the foremost
      Illuminatus of the early USA. Blennerhassett was born on October 8,
      1764 in Hampshire, UK. He attended Westminster School in London and
      Trinity College in Dublin, graduating in 1790. Next Blennerhassett
      turned up in Paris, part of the entourage around Jean-Baptiste
      Val-du-Grace, a Belgian nobleman better known as Anacharsis Cloots,
      self-styled "Secretary-General of the Human Race." (In case you're
      wondering where the UN title came from--J.T.) With a letter of
      introduction from Cloots, Blennerhassett made his way to Germany and
      met Adam Weishaupt, the Big Enchilada of the Order of the Illuminati,
      and was admitted to the order, rising to the level of Illuminatus
      Magus. A couple of years later, Blennerhassett turned up in the UK's
      Channel Islands. On the isle of Jersey, he met and married Adeline
      Agnew (no relation to Spiro--J.T.), the beautiful daughter of a former
      lieutenant governor of New York state. He didn't stay long in New York
      City, however. Blennerhassett purchased an island in the Ohio River
      and built his "castle," a luxurious house where he indulged his
      interests in chemistry, astronomy, magnetic therapy, astrology and
      occultism. He also made a new friend--Aaron Burr, the vice president
      of the USA. To make a long story short, Blennerhassett and Burr
      engaged in a conspiracy to unseat then-President Thomas Jefferson.
      The plot was discovered by Army officers loyal to Jefferson, and the
      Ohio militia attacked Blennerhassett's secret camp at Marietta on
      December 19, 1806. Blennerhassett fled with about 50 of his fellow
      initiates, leaving his wife, his sons and the rest of his guerrilla
      troops behind. But instead of fleeing straight down the Ohio River to
      the Mississippi, Blennerhassett made his still-unexplained side trip
      to Augusta, Ky., arriving on the day of the solstice. After the Burr
      conspiracy was exposed, Blennerhassett left the USA and returned to
      the Channel Islands, settling on Guernsey, where he died on February
      1, 1831 His wife Adeline remained in the USA and died in New York City
      in 1842, after unsuccessfully suing the U.S. government for damages to
      her island mansion. (See The Great American Rascal: The Turbulent
      Life of Aaron Burr by Philip Vail, Hawthorn Books, New York, NY 1973,
      pages 138 and 139. See also Life of Harman Blennerhassett by William
      H. Safford, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1853.) (Editor's Comment: I visited the
      Payne House in Augusta in September 1979, and the owner let me explore
      the old cellar where those unusual human bones were found. I wrote a
      story about it, but it didn't sell. And then Heather French of
      Augusta, Ky. became the new Miss America. Which just goes to show
      that if you hold onto your notes long enough, you can write about

      We'll be back next week with more UFO news from around the planet,
      brought to you by "the paper that goes home--UFO Roundup." See you

      UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 1999, all rights reserved. Readers may post
      news items from UFO Roundup on their websites or in newsgroups
      provided that they credit the newsletter and its editor by name and
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