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CNI News 20.3

 CNI News - Volume 20.3
 July 26, 1996
 Published by the ISCNI News Center
 Editor: Michael Lindemann
 The stories in this edition of CNI News are:
        Hints That Life of Some Kind May Be Found
 The subject matter of CNI News is inherently controversial, and the views and
 opinions reported in the news are not necessarily those of ISCNI or its
 The next edition of CNI News will appear on Friday, August 2.
 MEDIA WATCH DISCONTINUED: With regret, CNI News announces the resignation of
 Rebecca Schatte as our Media Watch editor. Citing the need to devote more
 time to other projects, plus general burnout, Rebecca says her resignation is
 effective immediately. Consequently, there will be no Media Watch today, or
 until further notice. CNI News editor Michael Lindemann has begun looking for
 a replacement editor -- although Rebecca will be hard to replace. She brought
 humor, wide knowledge and great dedication to her year-long editorship, and
 she will be missed. Thank you, Rebecca, and good luck on your future
 [The following text is taken, with thanks, from UFO Roundup vol. 1, no. 23,
 dated July 21. Editor Masinaigan explores the disturbing idea that the tragic
 explosion of TWA flight 800 may have been caused by a UFO. CNI News hastens
 to add that we neither support nor reject this idea at this time. There are
 some anomalies in the moments immediately before the plane's explosion, and
 during the initial recovery operations, that should be explained before the
 UFO theory is dismissed. Those anomalies are discussed here.]
 Several disturbing facts have come to light since the crash Wednesday, July
 17, of TWA Flight 800 off the shores of Long Island, New York.
 According to the Boston, Mass. Herald of July 17, 1995 (page 2), "Some
 eyewitness accounts, including that of a New York Air National Guard pilot
 flying nearby, described a bright object moving toward the plane in the
 seconds before the craft blew up."
 "'I saw what appeared to be the sort of course and trajectory you see when a
 shooting star enters the atmosphere,' Major Fred Meyer told reporters at a
 (Thursday) afternoon briefing. 'Almost immediately thereafter I saw in rapid
 succession a small explosion and then a large explosion.'"
 "At the same time, air traffic controllers manning radar spotted a circular
 'blip' in the vicinity of Flight 800, though CBS News later reported the
 Pentagon said it does not believe the radar irregularity is related to the
 According to the AP report, Major Meyer "was flying a C-130 (transport plane)
 off Long Island on a training mission at the time of the crash."  He told
 reporters that "he saw an arc of light moving toward the plane."  The same
 story mentions "witness reports of a 'streak of light' hitting the airplane
 just before it exploded."
 "Paul Angelides, who lives in Westhampton Beach, said he was standing on a
 deck of a beachfront house when he saw what he described as a 'red meteor
 with a smoke tail' that followed the course like the outline of 'a parabola.'
  He said he first saw 'the meteor' and then 'the fireball erupts at that
 other location, then the whole fireball falls to earth.'" (Providence, RI
 Journal-Bulletin, page A-10)
 According to the New York Daily News of July 20, 1996 (page 3), "Several Long
 Island residents had reported seeing a flarelike object streak toward the
 jet, fueling speculation of a missile."
 The Boeing 747 took off from John F. Kennedy International Airport on Long
 Island at 8:20 p.m. on Wednesday, July 17.  When the jetliner cleared 800
 feet, the Kennedy tower passed control to New York Terminal Radar Control
 (TRACON), located in Westbury, N.Y.
 At 8:25 p.m., TRACON handed control of TWA Flight 800 to Logan Airport in
 Boston, Mass.  Six minutes later, at 8:31 p.m., the jetliner, then flying at
 13,700 feet, disappeared from both Logan and TRACON radars.
 On the radar screen, the jetliner appeared as a lime-green lozenge. Because
 it was equipped with a transponder, the tiny letters TWA 800 appeared
 onscreen beneath the blip.  During this six-minute interval, the
 "non-transponding blip" approached the aircraft, apparently the "red meteor"
 seen by Major Meyer and eyewitnesses on the ground.
 According to the July 19 issue of USA Today (page 3A), the "witnesses say the
 plane exploded in a large orange fireball. As the plane fell, it broke into
 two big balls of flame.  New York Air National Guard crews say the wreckage
 twisted as it came down, leaving a corkscrew trail of smoke.  As the aircraft
 fell, the smoke blackened. It appeared as though sparks were flying from the
 plane.  When the wreckage neared the water, witnesses heard at least two more
 The wreckage hit the ocean about 20 miles south of Islip, N.Y.
 On July 20-21, FBI agents walked the beach at Smith Point Park on Long
 Island, searching for eyewitnesses to the plane's explosion.
 Two searchers, Jim Cullen, 53, of East Moriches, N.Y. and a friend named
 O'Reilly, made a strange discovery Thursday.  While retrieving wreckage from
 the sea aboard O'Reilly's 27-foot Boston whaler boat, the men pulled in two
 dead women and began, in Cullen's words, to "weird out."
 "The ladies we found were naked," Cullen reported.  "But it was not like
 their clothes were burned off.  I just don't get that, how that could have
 happened." (USA Today, July 19, 1996, page 3A)
 The Boeing 747 itself also has an interesting connection to a UFO incident 20
 years ago.
 The airplane was the 153rd Boeing 747 manufactured.  It was originally sold
 to now-defunct Eastern Airlines in the early 1970s, but Eastern resold it to
 TWA.  In 1975, TWA sold the airplane to the Royal Iranian Air Force.  The
 jetliner was at Mehrabad International Airport near Tehran on the night of
 September 19, 1976, when two Iranian F-4 Phantom jets engaged a large UFO in
 aerial combat.
 Shortly after the UFO incident, TWA offered to buy back the
 Boeing 747 from the Shah's air force.
 Four days before the crash, a woman in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey
 reported seeing a UFO just south of Long Island.  "Ms. Patterson," her mother
 and another woman saw their UFO at 8:15 p.m. on Saturday, July 13.  She
 reports, "My friend and my mother saw a light in the sky.  It looked like a
 streak that a skywriting plane might make.  It was stationary in the sky for
 at least 15 minutes.  We watched it move west toward the setting sun, and
 suddenly another blinking one of the same type of light followed it. It
 finally moved down and back of a dark cloud, but the three of us observed it
 for over half an hour."
 Atlantic Highlands is in northern New Jersey, on the southern shore of Sandy
 Hook Bay, about 20 miles southwest of the crash site.
 [CNI News thanks James Sutton for sending in this story from the Reuters news
 BUTTE, Neb. (Reuter) -- Authorities in this northern Nebraska town searched
 Wednesday for the origin of mysterious "crop circles" that appeared in a
 nearby barley field this week.
 "Nothing like this has ever happened around here before," Boyd County Sheriff
 Duane Pavel said. "People are in awe."
 He said a circle about 25 feet in diameter in the barley field was surrounded
 by a wide swath of barley and then another cleared ring about four feet wide.
 In all, the design was about 42 feet in diameter.
 Pavel said there were no footprints, vehicle tracks or signs indicating the
 circles in the field were man-made. He said the rings were discovered after
 he received reports Saturday night from two county residents who claimed they
 saw mysterious lights in the sky.
 Reports have linked other crop circles to unidentified flying objects but the
 circles have often proven to be the work of pranksters.
 [The following press release was issued on July 23 by Richard C. Hoagland's
 Enterprise Mission project, following the apparent announcement by a NASA
 scientist a few days ago that life might be found on Jupiter's unusual moon
 Europa. CNI News has not been able to find any other article quoting the NASA
 scientist, Professor Steven Squyres, but there have been numerous recent
 articles in the mainstreas press concerning the current exploration of
 Jupiter's moons by the Galileo spacecraft, including speculation that several
 of those moons, notably Ganymede and Europa, probably have liquid water, a
 highly favorable medium for life. CNI News anticipates that Jupiter holds
 many surprises that may come to light in the next few months. Thanks to John
 Joseph Mercieca for bringing this text to our attention. - ed]
 New York, July 23 -- Professor Steven Squyres, a NASA planetary  scientist
 currently attached to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, last week
 flatly attempted to take false credit, on behalf  of NASA, for potential
 confirmation of a revolutionary idea  centering on a major moon of Jupiter:
 "Europa." Speaking at the  July 18, 1996 Meeting of the Committee for Space
 Research, in Birmingham, UK., Squyres claimed his potentially revolutionary
  conclusions were based on "personal examination of 16-year-old  Voyager
 photography, under a formal contract with NASA."
 In point of fact, this immensely significant research -- a  proposal that a
 current liquid ocean, containing possibly highly  exotic alien LIFE FORMS,
 might be confirmed within the next few weeks by NASA's current Galileo
 mission -- is actually an original idea extensively researched and published
 16 years ago (in 1980)  by independent space researcher, Richard C. Hoagland.
 Writing in acknowledgment of Hoagland's highly original "Europa Concept,"
 well-known space pioneer and inventor of the communications  satellite,
 Arthur C. Clarke, noted in 1982 in his sequel to the  famed "2001":
 "The fascinating idea that there might be life on Europa, beneath ice-covered
 oceans kept liquid by the same Jovian tidal forces that heat Io, was first
 proposed by Richard C. Hoagland  in the magazine Star & Sky ('The Europa
 Enigma,' January, 1980). This quite brilliant concept has been taken
 seriously by a number  of astronomers (notably NASA's Institute of Space
 Studies,  Dr. Robert Jastrow), and may provide one of the best motives for
  the projected GALILEO Mission [emphasis added] ..."
 Currently, Richard C. Hoagland is founder and principle investigator of a
 highly controversial independent space research and NASA  watchdog
 constituency group called "The Enterprise Mission."  The Enterprise Mission
 ( is presently  analyzing a wide variety of
 historical NASA data, concerning  potential extraterrestrial life --
 including the new information  coming from Europa. In 1988, Hoagland and
 Squyres faced off in a nationally-televised debate on the "extraterrestrial
 artifact"  issue on CBS's "Nightwatch" news program, hosted by Charlie Rose.
 According to observers, Hoagland won the encounter "hands down"  -- when
 Squyres was forced by Rose to admit that he hadn't even  looked first hand at
 the NASA photographic evidence he was denying existed.
 Some observers now view Prof. Squyres' attempted claim to the "Europa
 Proposal" as nothing more than a  thinly-veiled NASA political effort to
 deflect media and public  attention from the true originator of this crucial
 16-year-old scientific concept, on the eve of confirmation.
 A former graduate student of Carl Sagan, Professor Squyres'  purported
 "original analysis" of the unmanned Voyager spacecraft  images from Jupiter
 seemed to some a deliberate blurring, for the space community and scientific
 press, of clearly independent space research with legitimate "NASA"
 scientific interest in Jupiter.  Also considered significant, was the timing
 of Squyres' totally misleading claim: within mere weeks (on the current time
 line)  of a very real prospect of exciting "NASA" confirmation of this
  16-year-old independent research from Galileo; in his presentation, Squyres
 went on to speculate that "[in Europa's ocean] biological  activity may
 powered by geothermal heat at the center of the  planet -- much like the
 thermophilic, heat-loving bacteria and isolated biological communities
 recently discovered near submarine  volcanoes on Earth..."
 Anticipating this crucial key to the scenario by "only" 16 years, Hoagland
 himself noted in 1980:
 "During the last few years the development of deep-diving submarines has
 opened the floors of Earth's deepest oceans to  exploration. Several miles
 down, in eternal darkness and under  crushing pressures, living creatures
 exist, sustained by a constant rain of dead organisms that drift down from
 the abundance of life at the ocean's sunlit surface. Without such sustenance
 from above, life in the depths was assumed to be impossible -- thus
 apparently ruling  out Europa as an abode of life because of its solid casing
 of ice.  But recent findings have overturned this concept...
 "Near the rift systems that lie along divisions between plates in our
 planet's crust, molten magma wells up, creating warm water vents ...producing
 one of the most fertile crucibles for living organisms known on Earth...
 about four times greater than in productive surface ocean waters...
 "Europa's ocean, according to the line of reasoning in this article,
 potentially has all the ingredients to permit the existence of similar
 internally nurtured oases of life. Only further exploration -- on both Europa
 and Earth -- will tell us if there are two life-bearing worlds in the solar
 Hoagland's highly specific and detailed 13+ page 1980's "Europa Concept" --
 complete with original color NASA images of Europa transmitted back by
 Voyager -- is currently available on the World Wide Web, at
 By John Noble Wilford
 [The following article is edited from a longer text published on June 18 in
 the New York Times. CNI News notes that the discovery reported here might be
 mistaken by some as confirmation of the so-called "photon belt," although in
 our view that connection seems unwarranted. - ed]
 MADISON, Wis. -- Over the last five million years or more, the Sun and its
 planets have had the good fortune to be gliding through one of the safer
 neighborhoods of the Milky Way galaxy. They have generally avoided the
 congestion and turbulence in evidence a few cosmic blocks away. But these
 halcyon days may be coming to an end.
 With their new telescopes and observational techniques, astrophysicists are
 now able to map with revealing accuracy the solar system's immediate galactic
 environment. They are finding it virtually empty of interstellar gas and
 dust. Looking beyond, though, the scientists see a cloud or two, literally,
 looming on the horizon.
 A University of Chicago astrophysicist says the solar system may be heading
 for a cloud of interstellar matter that is up to a million times more dense
 than its present surroundings, where matter is so diffuse that there is, on
 average, considerably less than an atom of hydrogen per cubic centimeter. The
 encounter with the denser cloud could come within 50,000 years.
 Though no cause for immediate alarm, the predicted encounter could sharply
 alter Earth's atmosphere and climate. How, scientists are not sure, but they
 suspect it will not be for the better. With more interstellar particles
 penetrating the solar system's defenses, Earth would probably be subjected to
 an increase in cosmic radiation. This could reshape its magnetic fields,
 change the chemistry of its atmosphere and possibly bring on a much colder
 The new research into the Sun's local interstellar medium, as its immediate
 galactic environment is called, could also give scientists a better
 understanding of conditions that favored the proliferation of life on Earth.
 This could, in turn, set new limits on where life might also have arisen in
 other solar systems that are now being discovered.
 In a report presented [in mid-June] at a meeting of the American Astronomical
 Society, Dr. Priscilla Frisch of the University of Chicago said observations
 showed that the Sun had already entered a relatively low-density interstellar
 cloud. This probably occurred a few thousand years ago, she estimated.
 But this low-density cloud of gas and dust could be a foretaste or more
 ominous developments to come.
 Observations indicate that the Sun, traveling at a velocity of three
 light-years every 50,000 years, is heading for a much denser part of the
 cloud. The consequences could be dire.
 "There would be dramatic effects in the inner solar system," Dr. Frisch said.
 Dr. Jeffrey L. Linsky, an astrophysicist at the University of Colorado at
 Boulder, said: "There will be an encounter. We don't know exactly when or
 exactly how the Earth will be affected."
 Astronomers searching for life on planets around other stars should take
 note, Dr. Frisch said.
 "It doesn't make sense to look for habitable planets unless you also look at
 the way their stars interact with local environments," she said. "I can't
 imagine that a star passing in and out of dense interstellar cloud fragments
 -- such as a star that's traversing galactic spiral arms -- would have a
 stable interplanetary environment. Without stability in the local stellar
 environment, I doubt there could be a stable planetary climate hospitable to
     Hints That Life of Some Kind May Be Found
 By Steven Young
 CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuter) -- Twenty years after sending probes to Mars,
 NASA is preparing a return to the Red Planet.
 The first of two Viking probes touched down 20 years ago on July 20, but
 failed to conclusively answer if life existed on Mars. But this week, as the
 U.S. space agency was commemorating the anniversary, it was preparing to
 dispatch a small armada of spacecraft to learn more about the planet and
 perhaps shed some light on the question of life.
 Earthlings, however, should not be overly concerned about the prospect of an
 attack by Martians.
 "When we talk about life we're not even talking about lizards, salamanders or
 worms," said Wayne Lee, mission planner for Mars Operations at NASA's Jet
 Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "We'd probably be talking
 about simple bacteria and microbes, if it existed at all."
 Life would face a struggle on the surface of Mars, where surface temperatures
 average -81 degrees F and liquid water would boil away in the planet's low
 air pressure.
 Things may have been different about a billion years ago, as pictures have
 revealed channels cut into the planet's surface by torrents of running water.
 What happened to that water remains a mystery.
 NASA's exploration of Mars suffered a devastating blow in 1993 when the $1
 billion Mars Observer, the first spacecraft  sent to Mars since the 1976
 Vikings, was lost days before it was due to arrive at the planet.
 That disaster and budget cutbacks led NASA to take a different tack to Mars
 exploration this time.
 "We have since realized that it is not a good strategy to put all our eggs in
 one basket. Instead, we can use the same amount of money to fly more
 missions, but smaller and at a cheaper cost, and if one of them goes down the
 tubes it does not destroy the entire program," Lee said.
 Three years after NASA's Mars program seemed lost in space, two new smaller
 spacecraft are being readied for the journey to the Red Planet.
 Mars Global Surveyor, scheduled to blast off from Cape Canaveral in November,
 will carry identical copies of five of the seven scientific instruments on
 Mars Observer. From 228 miles up it will be able to photograph objects on the
 Martian surface as small as a compact car.
 Mars Pathfinder, consisting of a lander and a mini-rover, will follow in
 December. If all goes well, the spacecraft will enter Mars' atmosphere at
 17,000 mph next July. Parachutes will slow it to about 30 mph and giant air
 bags will cushion its landing on an ancient flood plain.
 The sides of the pyramid-shaped lander will then open like flower petals,
 revealing a weather station and freeing a remote-controlled rover to explore
 the surrounding area.
 The rover, about the size of a laser printer, will roam from its base beaming
 back video and determining the composition of rocks with an 'electronic
 The two spacecraft each cost about $150 million, plus $65 million for each of
 the Delta 2 rockets that will send them on their way. By comparison, the two
 Viking spacecraft would have a combined price tag of $2.5 billion in 1996
 Global Surveyor and Pathfinder spacecraft will not actively test for life
 like their Viking predecessors, but they may tell if conditions for life
 exist and, in particular, whether some water remains locked below the
 NASA plans to send unmanned probes to Mars every other year, but only by
 2018, at the earliest, can it attempt a manned mission to the distant planet.
 by Frederick M. Winship
 UPI Senior Editor
 Bob Guccione, publisher of Penthouse magazine, said the September issue will
 carry "the first photos of an actual alien." In announcing the issue, which
 marks the magazine's 27th anniversary, Guccione said the pictures are
 "snippets" take from a secret military film of an alien autopsy in the late
 1940s after an alleged spacecraft crash in Roswell, N. M. Guccione said he is
 convinced of their authenticity.
 The flamboyant publisher is reported to have paid as much as $200,000 for the
 three photographs, which some UFO fans say have been floating around for
 years and are even available to surfers on the World Wide Web. Guccione said
 his pictures were sold to him by the daughter of a German scientist who had
 worked secretly on the Roswell project. He said she must remain anonymous
 "due to death threats she has received."
 [It is not clear at this date whether or not Guccione's photos have any
 connection to the infamous Santilli "Alien Autopsy" film footage. - ed]
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Next: CNI News 21.1