No trip to Roswell is complete without a visit to the UFO Museum. While this may be one of the most amateurish exhibitions apart from the county fair, it does put a face on the UFO phenomenon in the USA.

Which One is From Outer Space?

Which One is From Outer Space?

Most of us have heard of the supposed crash of an alien spacecraft near Roswell (or Corona), New Mexico in 1947. The whole fantastic tale seems to be based on a few slender threads of testimony. A trip to the museum clinches the notion that the whole phenomenon is based on innuendo and 2nd or 3rd party stories.

It’s another example of people hustling to conclusions based upon low signal-to-noise observtions. Faint indications of phenomena against a noisy background. Like cold fusion in the 1980’s, a whisper of signal appears now and then.

I recall from freshman psychology that the human brain is especially vulnerable to such glimmers of off-normal stimulus. Gamblers are attracted to the very irregularity of positive feedback that is provided by random events. Perhaps there is a similar neurochemical origin in the obsession with spaceships and alien abductions. It seems to be more than simple curiosity.

It is apparent by casual observation that the city of Roswell has not lovingly embraced the UFO phenomenon with an enthusiastic plunge into full scale commercial exploitation. The Wal-Mart on the north end of town is decorated with a few fanciful alien festoons, but the extent of it amounts to a “museum” and a few worn looking establishments along the main drag.

Saucer Crash

The saucer shape we have come to associate with alien spaceships is based on early sightings of unidentified flying objects. Latter day sightings (LDS? wink wink) comprise a range of shapes and designs.  What I would like to know is this- does the saucer shape make any sense in the context of interstellar travel? What are the aerodynamics of the saucer shape through the full range of velocity regimes? A saucer must eventually transition from operation in a vacuum to hypersonic entry into an atmosphere. Also, the ratio of surface to volume is relatively high, so how do you pack enough luggage & provisions for a lengthy trip?

Take me to your cola!

Take me to your cola!

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