UFO Conjectures

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Socorro/Zamora Insignia by Matthew Gilleece (with Rich Reynolds)

The RRRGroup contends, as many of you know, that the 1964 Socorro. New Mexico event, witnessed by police officer Lonnie Zamora, was a Hughes Aircraft test of a lunar landing module.

New York resident Matthew Gilleece discovered a logo on a piece of equipment being sold on eBay that (very) closely resembles the insignia or symbol that Lonnie Zamora saw and drew for UFO investigators and the Air Force.

Here are Zamora’s drawing:



And here’s a common representation:


And here are images (found by Matt Gilleece) of the logo for Hughes Connecting Devices, an adjunct of Hughes Aircraft, extant in 1964:




Matt Gilleece will have a follow-up to his find, and we’ll have an updated posting about the Zamora sighting at our UFO web-site and here….


  • Without wishing to reopen the debate on the Socorro UFO (I have at least 13 references to it in my collection of UFO books & papers), I must say that I have never heard this explanation before, not once, even from the skeptics. I simply cannot understand how your answer has any chance of being valid. The AF and its consultants spent a lot of time on this case. Quantanilla, Hynek, etc. Is it really possible they have overlooked such an obvious answer as yours? The lunar landing module under test? There was nothing classified about this project. Was a test of this module going on in the Socorro area on that day? Surely Hughes Aircraft would have records of all such tests, and who took part in them. And who were the 'occupants'; why have they not come forward and identified themselves? Am I being simplistic? Have I overlooked something? I repeat: if your answer is valid, the AF would have (or certainly ought to have) solved this UFO almost at once.
    Instead, it is officially an unknown.

    By Blogger cda, at Thursday, April 16, 2009  

  • CDA....

    You might check our material at our Forensic Ufology blog:


    And I may be extracting some Hughes' material from our private UFO web-site that augments (proves?) our contention, for input here.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, April 16, 2009  

  • For the sake of full disclosure, I still have yet to see the "full, detailed...explanation for the insignia seen/drawn by Zamora which we’ve traced to a Hughes logo" that RRRGroup mentions in one of their discussions of this case. I did find the standard Hughes Logo (which apparently is part of their explanation) but it didn't strike me as looking much like what Zamora claimed he saw. So I decided to do my own research, and stumbled upon the logo above which in my estimation does look remarkably like Zamora's Symbol.

    As for the plausability of the "Hughes experimental lunar lander test" explanation generally - once again, I haven't seen RRRGroup's full explanation. But it occurs to me that UFO groups are always claiming that the government covers things up (and they're not entirely wrong about that either). So why would it be out of the question for this test to not have been "on the books"?

    By Blogger Matt G. (NYC), at Thursday, April 16, 2009  

  • CDA:

    The following site was linked in the forensic blog that Rich mentioned to you above, but in case you missed it, you should check it out, especially near the bottom.

    There are logs from the nearby White Sands Missile Range that show that on that very day a helicopter was used to carry a Lunar Surveyor around for some tests. It matches the Zamora sighting in many important ways, and has a Hughes connection as the RRRGroup has been saying.

    Quintilla did NOT overlook such a possibility, but he may not have had access to this information at that time, so dismissed it.

    And by the way, the Surveyor was NOT the "LEM", it was was smaller, a three-legged, unmanned probe, which was used to learn about the moon before the Apollo program got there.

    I think a reasonable person, without an agenda, would have to conclude that was the most likely answer.

    By Blogger Matt G. (NYC), at Thursday, April 16, 2009  

  • My chief objection to the Hughes / Surveyor hypothesis is the key assumption that not only one - but two - witnesses who reported the incident could not identify a helicopter, by either sight or by sound, at demonstrably - or inferred - close ranges. The unidentified "tourist" who made mention of the incident to gas station owner Opel Grinder was sufficiently impressed by an "aircraft" flying "low" over his vehicle to raise the issue with Mr. Grinder, yet appeared reluctant to agree with Mr. Grinder's speculation suggesting a helicopter. According to the Blue Book case file, Officer Zamora's closest approach to the unknown "object" came at a distance of only 37 yards - supported by the photographic evidence - yet he is assumed to have been unable to identify a 32 foot-long Bell-47 helicopter at such a short distance. Even if he lost his glasses before getting out of his vehicle - which he claimed occurred only as he tried to escape the "takeoff" seconds later - and his vision was critically impaired, the probability that he would not have heard helicopter blades at some point appears less than certain. Further, the Surveyor testing documentation which is openly available strongly suggests that the only Surveyor testing which involved a helicopter consisted of doppler landing-radar evaluations only, and that these Bell-47 flights did not carry a complete Surveyor article, or the vernier rocket motors that would be required to account for the documented burn evidence at the landing site, or the reports of a "flame". In my humble opinion, common sense suggests that the scientific probability of these two witnesses being unable to identify a helicopter - by sight or by sound - at close ranges must remain low. And should this unavoidably key assumption fail, then the Hughes / Surveyor hypothesis as a whole must, likewise, fail with it. Even more contradictory, in my opinion, is the corollary assumption that Officer Zamora would have been able to positively identified a "symbol" of any type on the assumed helicopter - which was characterized in the Blue Book materials as being only 1 1/2 feet in height - when he is first assumed not to have identified the much larger helicopter itself. I may be wrong, of course, but such an assumption regarding the identification of any such "symbol" appears - in the context given - to represent an arguably critical failure of logic.

    By Blogger Serpentime, at Saturday, April 18, 2009  

  • Serpentime:

    Your assumptions and "rebuttals" are essentially sensible.

    But the Hughes hybrid lunar module and Surveyor device was tethered and self-sufficient, so the helicopter's connection to it may not have been obvious....a sheer conjecture on our part of course.

    Our main objection to the alien scenario that ufologists have plastered on the Zamora account is that the whole episode was too Earthly to be something as esoteric as a visit from another world.

    For instance, the explosive elements of the "rocket blast" and the fly-away are the same as they would be for an Earth rocket.

    The "beings" were clothed in engineering garb -- white coveralls, common to test apparel (then and now).

    The blast residue was not unique but similar to that which was (and is) left over after a rocket blasts off from its Earth (or moon) setting.

    Zamora's symbol (or insignia) is not unEarthly. It is made up of characters too similar to those on Earth and too similar to those used by Hughes Aircraft company at the time.

    And we'll be inputting a Surveyor flight log here, for that day, April 24th, 1964, that shows a test was done during the hours and at the Socorro locale.

    But your objections are not unworthy, and allow for a scenario that is different than ours, just not one that indicates alien beings landed in Socorro and Lonnie Zamora saw them.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, April 18, 2009  

  • Serpentine:

    I appreciate your comments as well. But in the interest of friendly debate I'd like to address a few of your points...

    The unidentified tourist did not outright deny the possibility that a helicopter could have been involved. In fact, what he is supposed to have said that the strange object was a "funny-looking helicopter, if that's what it was."

    In other words, he allowed for the possibility that it could have been a helicopter, although not simply an ordinary helicopter by itself (which, if the RRGRoup is correct, would be true).

    As for Zamora not recognizing the helicopter aspect - as the RRRGroup has pointed out several times, we do not know enough about Zamora's vision (with or without prescription glasses - and of course, at the point when he was wearing his glasses during the sighting, he was also wearing colored sunglasses) to say for sure what Zamora "should" have been able to recognize at what distinguish. (And certainly an extraterrestrial hypothesis that depends upon his his inability to do so is not on the firmest of ground.)

    Your general objection seems to be that these people (one of whom is unidentified, and one of whom certainly had vision issues, we just don't know the extent) should have been able to identify a helicopter "at close range" (this is debatable - Zamora was never what I'd call "close" with his glasses on, and other witness is, well, unknown). There have been so many cases of intelligent, trained people mis-identifying things (and this object was already out of the ordinary) that, again, to base an ETH on the idea that "they would have recognized a helicopter!" is, to my mind, tenuous.

    Do you have an alternate explanation, Serpentine? (Not a challenge, just curious.) I can't tell if you side with an ETH, btu in case you do...

    Anyone suggesting an ETH would have to concede that there were TWO similar-looking craft with insignias that strongly resemble Hughes logos in the same general area at around the same time, both attended to by people in white coveralls... is that more likely than a person (with vision issues) witnessing something odd and not catching (or not remembering) every detail?

    By Blogger Matt G. (NYC), at Saturday, April 18, 2009  

  • Thank you for your kind and reasoned responses. I respect your commitment to seeking the truth, and feel that the Socorro case – as one of the “classics” – certainly deserves a critical second look.

    Personally speaking, I don’t necessarily support any existing hypothesis – and remain just as uncertain as Captain Holder, the Army’s chief investigating officer, appeared when he stated in a 1995 television interview: “Was it something terrestrial, …extraterrestrial? I have no idea.”

    Certainly, as Carl Sagan observed, the “extraordinary” extraterrestrial hypothesis cannot be considered without “extraordinary” evidence – and the scientific elimination of more prosaic possibilities. To my current knowledge, neither requirement has been conclusively satisfied. Yet there remain statistical inconsistencies in the Surveyor hypothesis – such as I described – that force me to remain skeptical of what I consider to be the most compelling of the “terrestrial” scenarios.

    Again, I may be in error, but the probability of such a gross misidentification at 103 feet (actually 34.3 yards) cannot be assumed statistically likely, even if it is not impossible. The same might also be said for a “low” flying helicopter – “funny looking” or not – traveling over, or near, an automobile. A helicopter typically makes a loud and distinctive sound that is, arguably, familiar to most people – many of whom might feel reasonably confident in their abilities to identify its unique source, even if hypothetically blindfolded and unable to see the helicopter at all. Therefore – from a scientific standpoint, and in my opinion – such a hypothesis may be considered statistically improbable, if not necessarily ruled out, without the establishment of significant supporting evidence.

    My only desire is to reach the proper conclusion for this case (whatever that may be), but to the best of my knowledge, all of the tethered Surveyor drop-tests (using mainly calibrated “T-2” articles) were conducted from a suspended balloon rig at a dedicated facility near Holloman Air Force Base – over 100 miles from Socorro. These were descent tests only – aided by a parachute, to assist the comparatively weak thrust of the scaled-up vernier motors against the earth’s gravity. With inadequate thrust, the T-2 test articles could not have lifted off and flown away over the mountains on their own, even if they were equipped with sufficient fuel (nitrogen tetroxide and mono-methylhydrazine monohydrate, which leave no detectable residue) and ascent guidance systems to fly independently – which they apparently were not. Nor were they designed for such a purpose.

    If you could present any additional evidence of a free-flying Surveyor test article with an ascent and flight capability – as alleged at Socorro (?) – it may strengthen this hypothesis, and I would be most open to learning about it.

    In addition, a scale plotting of the physical locations of the four “holes-in-the ground” at the landing site, recorded by Captain Holder – and compared against a scale drawing of the Surveyor plan-form and landing pads – conclusively, and mathematically, rules out the Surveyor test article as a possible source of these features. The dimensions do not correspond in any combination. According to Bernard “Duke” Gildenberg, who received the “Daily Range Schedule for Friday 24, April 1964” from Capt. James McAndrew, the “holes-in-the-ground” were easily explained by the alleged Surveyor’s landing pads – which may now, in turn, raise reasonable doubt regarding the accuracy of Mr. Gildenberg’s contentions, research, and assumed knowledge.

    The “Daily Range Schedule for Friday 24, April 1964” states that “Surveyor Helicopter Flts” were scheduled for “0745–1145”, a time window that closed six hours prior to Zamora’s apparent encounter near Socorro Municipal Airport at approximately 1745. While a delay in such test flights may not be regarded as unreasonable, this does not necessarily explain why the alleged “Helicopter Flt” was allegedly off-range near a civilian population center almost two hours after the range (and radar surveillance) had closed for the weekend at 1600.

    Again, the only Surveyor helicopter flights that are described in the Surveyor test program documents are suggested not to have carried any rocket motors at all.

    If you could provide any independent evidence that establishes the presence of Hughes personnel near Socorro on April 24 – as opposed to Holloman Air Force Base, many miles and a mountain range in-between away – this may strengthen the hypothesis, and I would be most open to learning about it.

    While I, personally, believe that the Surveyor hypothesis is statistically superior to any of the other “terrestrial” explanations that have been proposed – hot air balloon, publicity stunt, teenage prank, and so on – I am still unable to satisfactorily correlate many of the key assumptions to the documented evidence of which I am aware. Therefore, in lieu of additional evidence, I must continue to remain skeptical.

    Though my skepticism does not implicitly rule out the Surveyor hypothesis, it does – in my opinion – weaken it as a potential explanation for this event. In any case, I do not believe that it can be properly considered as a conclusive answer (at least at the present time). Without it, however, I admit that we must likely return to the realm of pure speculation without substantial evidence – should we seek a prosaic explanation.

    Nevertheless, thank you for considering my arguments.

    By Blogger Serpentime, at Saturday, April 18, 2009  

  • Serpentine:

    Your reasoning is exquisitely sound.

    The Hughes "lander" was a top secret construct, created in conjunction with the CIA and Air Force, using a cover operation.

    We'll try to provide supporting documentation without compromising and upcoming book on the Hughes organizations' [sic] work -- secret and otherwise -- with the U.S. military, then and still.

    Again, our position is that the Socorro/Zamora event is too prosaic, too mundane to be attributed to an alien visitation, alien in the other-worldly sense, of course.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, April 18, 2009  

  • Serpentine, not to beat this to death, but this is fun, and you seem reasonable - I have some information you might find interesting.

    I’m not sure it’s safe to treat your info about how close Zamora got to the craft as if it’s unassailable. (I suppose you got the incredibly specific “103 feet” figure from the Blue Book File?) Well, check out this link:
    At 1:35 in the video, Zamora himself says he “went up to it close, about 200 feet”. And this was in a radio interview only days after the event! Point being, it’s impossible to say for sure how close he ever got to it. But if he’s right in this interview, 200 feet is not what I’d call “close range”.

    It would be interesting to do some acoustical testing in that terrain – your assumption that he “would/should have heard the helicopter” from whatever distance it was may not be true after all, especially if it was a small helicopter as suggested.

    Also - if we are talking about an early Hughes lunar lander prototype attached to a small helicopter, wouldn’t it be possible that the noise generated by the lander could have drowned out the noise of the helicopter? Or of they were simultaneous, it would be hard to pick out.

    And depending on how it was mounted, the helicopter could have been largely hidden by the lander. (The RRRGroup may have evidence that the Hughes Lander could have been self-propelled, which would eliminate the helicopter aspect altogether!)

    Zamora says another interesting thing, this time regarding the two “small people” he allegedly saw. We’ve all read that he said that “These persons appeared normal in shape--but possibly they were small adults or large kids." (Which, to be honest, is a far cry from how some people represent it.)

    Did Zamora always stick to that description? Well, check out 6:20 in the above video, where Zamora says he thought they were “a couple of coveralls hanging from a clothesline. Couldn’t see what it was, but it looked like a couple of coveralls.” Maybe the Hughes employees (or the aliens?) were doing their laundry?

    The point is, Zamora’s testimony, while seemingly honest, is not always consistent. Those who insist he saw “little people” conveniently forget that he also said he thought they were coveralls on a clothesline and that, more importantly, he “couldn’t see what it was”. What else “couldn’t he see”?

    And don’t forget the psychological aspects of the experience - his perceptions at the time may have been clouded by his excitement. (And he was definitely “excited” – listen to his friend and co-worker Sam Chavez at about 5:00 in this video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxhAdPlbJD0).

    When you see something out-of-the-ordinary (as Zamora seemingly did), it’s difficult, in the moment, to look for the “ordinary” aspects of it, like listening for a helicopter noise, or distinguishing a helicopter shape behind something strange (if it could even be seen, and if vision was good enough to see it!).

    I guess my ultimate point, Serpentine, is that if you're hanging your “I have doubts it was a Hughes lander being tested” hat on what Zamora says he did or didn’t notice – I think your hat is in for a ground landing of its own…

    By Blogger Matt G. (NYC), at Monday, April 20, 2009  

  • Thank you for your thoughts and assistance. Not too long ago, I spent many hours analyzing this case, and would be very interested to acquire unpublished information regarding the Hughes / Surveyor testing program at White Sands Missile Range. As you may be aware, NASA has released a select number of technical documents that are freely available. While often helpful, these reports do not conclusively confirm, or deny, the Surveyor hypothesis – though, in my opinion, the sum of the available evidence appears to weaken it. Nevertheless, there are still some important questions that I would like conclusive answers for, if possible.

    Your supposition is correct – the specific distance information was cited from the Blue Book archive. The 103-foot citation is taken directly from Officer Zamora’s sketch that was published with your article. If you look toward the top of the picture, you will see the words “Sketch of object from my position – at approximately 103 ft”, and is signed below “Lonnie Zamora”. The 103 foot figure is also cited by Captain Hector Quintanilla in a preliminary report to his commanding officer, Colonel Eric de Jonckheere, where he states of Zamora: “At his closest observation, he was 103 feet from the object.”

    Blue Book investigator Technical Sergeant David Moody also noted in his own report that Zamora “parked the car and got out and approached the object to a point about 100 ft”. The 100-foot figure is also cited in a detailed diagram of positions, distances, and events, compiled by Captain Holder.

    This 100 – 103 foot vantage describes the point where Lonnie Zamora approached the object on foot, before losing his glasses as he next attempted to retreat from it. Though I am unsure where the precision of this figure originates from, I might assume that Captain Holder could have measured it as he recorded the physical evidence at the site on the evening of Friday, April 24. Further, a clear picture in the case photographic file (also shown in the YouTube clip) appears to illustrate the nature of the distance between Zamora’s cruiser at its final position and the landing site – appearing to confirm the approximate 100-foot distance.

    The 150 - 200 yard (800 foot?) citation describes the point at which Zamora first sighted the landed object on the ground (and the “coveralls”), before briefly losing visual contact with it as he drove behind a small hillock, then finally pulled alongside of it at the top of the gully. There is also a photograph of the approximate vantage at this point. The Blue Book Case files, and Captain Holder’s diagrams, make this progression clearer.

    In my own personal experience, I have been inside of a closed building while a Bell 47 helicopter has taken off and climbed out at a distance of 150 – 200 yards away. Though I did not see the helicopter take off (many times) I heard and noted the sound well enough to alter my activities and (often) go to the window to watch it climb out at a low level. It was a loud and distinctive sound that I continue to remember. Therefore the suggestion that an average person – with no known hearing deficiency – could not hear, react to, nor identify, such a noise at an approximate 100-foot distance remains difficult for me to accept. In fact – from my perspective – such an assumption begins to approach the “extraordinary”, thereby requiring “extraordinary” evidence to support such a counterintuitive claim. Hence I am inclined to consider the probability of such a “key” assumption to be statistically low.

    As to the alternate 200-foot suggestion, I respectfully disagree that this would not, also, be considered an effectively “close range”. Zamora’s testimony does vary at times – which as you point out, may not be considered unreasonable due to psychological factors – but my remaining objections are based more on the Surveyor test data, or the apparent lack of it. So far as I am aware, there is no evidence of a Surveyor-related vehicle that could have accounted for the physical evidence at the scene. The possibility of an aural “drown out” of helicopter noise may be entertained, but this assumes the presence of a rocket-bearing helicopter. Should it exist, as you suggest, I would be most pleased to consider the actual details. The same might be said for evidence of a “self-propelled” vehicle.

    Also, I do understand how such an allegedly classified test flight could have come to take place at the off-range location near Socorro.

    Although I do not discount the Surveyor hypothesis completely, I feel that additional conclusive evidence is required to overcome due skepticism. As such, I will continue to welcome such evidence, should it exist. And although my saying so in no way implies that the “object” involved in this event may have been of a non-earthly origin, I must also remain scientifically open to the possibility that Lonnie Zamora’s stated description of it could, indeed, have been factually accurate. Such an alternative has not been conclusively disproved either, and to assume otherwise, without evidence, is merely speculation.

    Whatever the “object” could have been, in such a case, I am completely unaware.

    By Blogger Serpentime, at Monday, April 20, 2009  

  • Serpentine:

    Matthew G will very likely respond to your comment (above).

    But I want to note that the Hughes lander -- a Surveyor prototype -- was self-propelled and taken to various test venues by a unique Hughes Aircraft helicopter, which we've pictured at our UFO web-site along with a sketch, from Hughes documents, of the moon lander that was under test at the time of the Socorro incident.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, April 20, 2009  

  • Serpentine, I was going to continue the debate because it's interesting (I was going to point out that if all of the proximity figures are based on Zamora's testimony, since his testimony about that topic was inconsistent we cannot be certain how close he ever got to the craft; unless the car was determined to be X feet away from the imprints - provided he never moved it, which again relies on his testimony - still, I'd accept that as the benchmark for the "furthest" he could have been from the object at that point; I was also going to point out that the craft was "below" him, in an arroyo, so much of the noise could been absorbed, or reverberated in a way that changed the sound...)

    But it may be unneccesary, because it seems we're both waiting for the same data.

    If the RRRGroup does have evidence of a self-propelled Hughes lander prototype resembling what Zamora saw being tested around that time near that location... then I think our opinions will cease to be very different. I'm sure we both await such evidence eagerly - I know I do.

    By Blogger Matt G. (NYC), at Tuesday, April 21, 2009  

  • Thanks again, guys. I appreciate your positions, and respect your honesty.

    Personally, I’ve found this case to be an intriguing intellectual challenge, serving as an interesting Rorschach test – if it were – for both sides of the debate. I think I’ve learned almost as much about the psychology of “believers” and “non-believers” as I have about the incident itself. Beyond a doubt, I’ve gained a new appreciation for the Scientific Method in the realm of Ufology.

    I’m still not sure if any known vehicle, related to Surveyor, corresponds scientifically to the evidence at the scene, but I also admit that none of the evidence that I am aware of appears to require an “extraordinary” origin. If the best evidence for Hughes / Surveyor could be advanced beyond the stage of hearsay and speculation – at this point, and in my opinion – my scientific skepticism would be assuaged.

    On the other hand – to play Devils’ Advocate – I recall that the hearsay of Dr. James McDonald, and others, spoke of “fused sand” being found at the landing site, and allegedly being sent elsewhere for testing by the authorities. Although there is no mention of melted sand to be found anywhere in the Blue Book records, a propulsion specialist that I conferred with (who worked for the Propulsion Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory) seemed to feel that rocket engines typically do not produce such an effect. If this were so – and the hearsay regarding “fused sand” was also accurate – it might even create the possibility of truly “extraordinary” evidence existing at the site. In turn, such a consequence might appear to conclusively rule out Surveyor, and open the door to an “extraordinary” source, but – as you know…

    …That’s the problem with accepting hearsay. ;-)

    I look forward to your future research.



    By Blogger Serpentime, at Tuesday, April 21, 2009  

  • The skeptic's arguments are the typical labored grasping at straws and denying the obvious. Why give them serious attention?

    By Blogger Douglas, at Tuesday, May 26, 2009  

  • Douglas - "Denying the obvious"? Are you saying it's "obvious" that Zamora saw an extraterrestrial craft, and that the "people" he saw were aliens? And that anyone trying to find a more prosaic explanation should therefore not be given serious attention?

    Are you aware that Zamora said, regarding the alleged "aliens", that he thought they were: “a couple of coveralls hanging from a clothesline. Couldn’t see what it was, but it looked like a couple of coveralls.”?

    He couldn't see what it was, but he thought it was coveralls on a clothesline. Are you really willing to rest your extraterrestrial hypothesis on that testimony?

    And are you SURE it's the skeptics that are denying the obvious...?

    By Blogger Matt G. (NYC), at Tuesday, May 26, 2009  

  • I think you guys are getting a little distracted - simplify the situation in order to understand it.

    This 'explanation' originated with one of the authors of the "Roswell: Case Closed" report (Bernard "Duke" Gildenberg), and is only supported by a single typewritten file, lacking in detail.

    Further, Gildenberg's rationale for the contractors being out there in the first place - "to gather rocks and lava like they might find on the moon" is ridiculous. WHY would they need to do that? HOW would that further the Apollo program?

    Sure, astronauts were taught about geology before going to the moon, but they didn't fly into unsecured wilderness areas to practice collecting them in a hybrid lander/helicopter of dubious safety. Nor (I suspect) would NASA be willing to so recklessly play with the lives of contractors.

    This entire thing is EXACTLY like the anthropomorphic dummy explanation cooked up by Gildenberg in regard to Roswell. It's cheap, slapdash misdirection that is designed only to fool doofy journalists who don't take UFOs seriously anyhow.

    By Blogger macconnell, at Tuesday, June 23, 2009  

  • Macconnell:
    So when you say we ought to "simplify the situation in order to understand it", I take that to mean you think it was, simply, an extraterrestrial event? Sorry to "complicate" things, but shouldn't you take into account that everything about the craft was well within human-engineered capability at that time? And that, indeed, lunar landers (which the craft did resemble) WERE being tested not too far way from that area? What would the "simplest" answer be?

    Perhaps more importantly, I don't believe the RRRGroup's explanation involves "contractors" gathering "rocks and lava like they might find on the moon", as you suggest. I believe the RRRGroup is suggesting that it was a test of the craft itself, and that the "people" Zamora saw (Hughes employees) were not on board, but were operating it remotely. Which means much of your post simply doesn't apply. Also, have you seen the RRRGroup's research? Can you state for certain that it is not backed up by more than "one typewritten file"?

    There is nothing "cheap" or "slapdash" about this explanation - in fact, I find it interesting that you use those terms yet you also accuse us of making things too complicated. Which is it? Was this explanation thrown together haphazardly, or does it need to be simplified?

    THE RRRGroup obviously takes UFO's seriously enough to do abundant research. By bringing up (and "debunking") things that the RRRGroup has not mentioned, perhaps it is you who is engaging in a little "misdirection"...

    By Blogger Matt G. (NYC), at Tuesday, June 23, 2009  

  • More troubling for Mr. Gildenberg, his “expert” credibility on this case should come into question when one realizes that the four “holes-in-the-ground” – measured at the site by Army investigator Captain Richard Holder – could not have been created by the physical plan-form of any Surveyor-related vehicle. Suggested largely by the “Daily Range Schedule for Friday 24, April 1964”, the linkage of the Hughes / Surveyor program with the Socorro event is not supported by the physical evidence (nor by de-classified technical descriptions of Surveyor “Helicopter Flts”, and their mission / equipment profiles). Nevertheless, Mr. Gildenberg defies mathematics, geometry, basic scholarship, and the photographic evidence, and claims that Surveyor’s “landing pads”, or “sampler arm”(?), were responsible. Perhaps his claims, and presumed “authority”, require further skepticism?

    If “…the ‘people’ Zamora saw (Hughes employees) were not on board, but were operating it remotely. Which means much of your post simply doesn't apply…”, how did these “people” egress the area so quickly, and without leaving any physical evidence – such as footprints, or tire-tracks, as the Blue Book report stressed – behind? How did these “people” get out there, and how did they leave?

    By Blogger Serpentime, at Tuesday, June 23, 2009  

  • Serpentime:
    Presumably, the "people" would have left via the helicopter that the RRRGroup believe was involved.

    Look, I honestly don't feel equipped to argue the finer points of the case (particularly the RRRGroup's explanation), since I have yet to see all the information the RRRGroup collected on the case. (You would think, since they posted something I found, that they might give me a peek; they did say they would do so and I take them at their word, so I am waiting patiently.)

    The bottom line for me is that nothing Zamora saw was beyond human capability; in fact, it represented technology very similar to that being tested in the area. His vision has rightly been brought into question (he either had sunglasses on, or no prescription glasses, throughout the sighting), so to assume that he would have seen and been able to identify everything in the vicinity, especially highly unusual things, is not, in my view, a safe assumption to make.

    By Blogger Matt G. (NYC), at Tuesday, June 23, 2009  

  • Fair enough. From my perspective, the bottom line suggests that the Hughes / Surveyor hypothesis requires additional supporting evidence before it should be accepted, or professed, by scientifically minded people. Many inconsistencies – or contradictions, such as Mr. Gildenberg’s amateurish “flub” regarding the physical evidence – remain unaccounted for by this theory, and the more one examines some of the inherent claims, the more unlikely they appear to become. At the very least, due skepticism should be reserved.

    Perhaps James McAndrew, Duke Gildenberg, Charles Moore, David Thomas, The RRR Group, or others who support the Surveyor hypothesis, will provide clear, verifiable, evidence that Hughes / Surveyor testing truthfully accounts for the Socorro event. In the meantime, however, I would hate to think that I had missed the chance to uncover some other unusual “capability” – just because I had erred in plugging a square Surveyor “peg” into a round Socorro “hole” when the evidence had warned me against it.

    By Blogger Serpentime, at Wednesday, June 24, 2009  

  • Serpentime: One thing to keep in mind is that the RRRGroup's conclusion is NOT that the craft was Surveyor itself, but a Hughes-built lunar lander prototype which presumably was not put into full production.

    But I agree, until one or both of us see what the RRRGroup has come up with, we can't take the discussion of their hypothesis any further.

    By Blogger Matt G. (NYC), at Wednesday, June 24, 2009  

  • Thanks for clarifying RRRGroup’s position. If so, this would represent a departure from McAndrew/Gildenberg/Moore/Thomas, who base their claims on the “Surveyor – Helicopter Flts” recorded by the Holloman Air Force Base “Daily Range Schedule for Friday 24, April 1964”. The 24 April date was cited as alleged “smoking gun” evidence that uniquely linked the Surveyor program to Socorro, but – if so – would apply only to the Surveyor radar-evaluation flights, and not to other test projects, or prototypes.

    Without the Surveyor “flight log”, the Hughes explanation for the Socorro event is weakened, and must now satisfy increased evidentiary requirements if it is to emerge from the realm of conjecture as the veridical answer to the puzzle. Nevertheless, a classified Hughes “lunar lander” prototype – that had nothing to do with Surveyor – would be precisely the kind of unknown “capability” that I would not want to misidentify and overlook.

    What the hypothesis needs now is something more tangible than conceptual drawings and illustrations, and a coherent explanation that links some real, operative, “nuts and bolts” to an arroyo just north of the Socorro Municipal Airport, on a Friday evening.

    By Blogger Serpentime, at Thursday, June 25, 2009  

  • Serpentime:
    We're definitely going to need someone with more info from the RRRGroup to step in here (unless they share the info with one of us!). I fear I may be causing more confusion than necessary, and I don't want to put words in their mouth.

    The reason I said the RRRGROUP wasn't putting forward Voyager itself as a solution is that the Hughes craft they are suggesting looked quite a bit different from the (later) actual Voyager, and in fact much more similar to what Zamora reported he saw.

    But that doesn't necessarily rule out the "Voyager test" log as evidence (nor is it the only evidence).

    It's possible that whatever lander would ultimately be used was destined to be called "Voyager", regardless of the model NASA decided to use; if so, we might expect the Hughes lander tested in 1964 to have been referred to as "Voyager" at that point, even if it didn't end up being THE Voyager. (I hope that make sense. It does in my head...)

    A comaparison might be a car manufacturer who wants to make a new car called the "Road Hog". He has a basic framework in mind, and certain options he wants, but he takes bids from several designers offering their varying versions of the "Road Hog". They test them, and he finally settles on one that ultimately becomes THE "Road Hog". So at various points there could have been several prototypes referred to as "Road Hog" that didn't look much like the ultimate full-production Road Hog.

    More to the point, though, I'm not sure I understand how you can avoid ruling out an extraterrestrial hypothesis, when everything about what Zamora saw was clearly very terrestrial. We may NEVER be able to prove, for certain, to everyone's scientific satisfaction, exactly what he saw and who built and who tested it; but the fact that very similar craft were being tested in that area is enough for me to rule out "space aliens" as a possibility.

    By Blogger Matt G. (NYC), at Friday, June 26, 2009  

  • Matt:

    “Surveyor” was the project name assigned to NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s contract to soft-land an unmanned probe on the Moon in the mid 1960’s (as opposed to the name “Ranger”, for a hard-landing vehicle). The program was first authorized in May 1960, and is described as follows by “Surveyor Project Status Report - As of 13 November 1964”:

    “Surveyor is a lunar soft landing and surface investigation project managed by JPL’s Lunar and Planetary Project Office for the NASA Headquarters Office of Space Science and Applications. …Hughes Aircraft Company (HAC) is under contract to develop the spacecraft.

    The objective shall be to demonstrate a soft landing on the Moon in 1965 as evidenced by post landing spacecraft operations in one or more missions. Subsequent to 1965, the primary objective will be to perform lunar surface operations contributing new scientific knowledge about the Moon and providing basic data in support of Project Apollo.”

    The technical requirements for the mission were described by JPL on November 25, 1960 in a document entitled “Technical Memorandum No. 33-13 / Design Study Requirements for a Lunar Soft Landing Spacecraft (Surveyor)”, for which Hughes Aircraft Company was awarded the contract – under the Surveyor name – on January 19, 1961. The basic design of the spacecraft remained largely unaltered throughout its development, and was clearly recognized as the unique embodiment of “Surveyor” by April 1964. The original “bidding” process had been conducted on paper, and after 1960, there were no competing “designers”, or “Road Hog” prototypes.

    Many of the Surveyor “test articles” are pictured, or described, in NASA’s declassified documentation, and none of these artifacts show any significant conceptual differences from the final, Moon-going, Surveyor vehicles. Though the exact configuration of the “T-2H”, helicopter-mounted Doppler radar apparatus remains unknown, none of the other test articles resemble Zamora’s description, or the physical evidence, in any way. Nor were any of these “test beds” physically, or logistically, capable of creating the Socorro event.

    To my knowledge, there is no record – or even suggestion – of the Surveyor name being applied to any other NASA contracts during this period. Meanwhile, the Surveyor Doppler radar (helicopter) evaluation flights were taking place at the time of the Socorro event, and if so, might be better argued to correspond with the “Helicopter Flts” of the “Daily Range Schedule for Friday 24, April 1964”. At the very least, the highest probability must be assigned to the “Surveyor - Helicopter Flts” entry as representing the familiar “Surveyor” program that is documented at that time.

    Not only were the Hughes test “articles” well recognized as “Surveyor” during the Socorro event period, but referring to any other mission by the same name would have seemed as irrational, and bureaucratically unsound, as it was improbable. For all such reasons, it appears safe to assume that there was no other “Surveyor” prototype – and that the “Daily Range Schedule for Friday 24, April 1964” must remain, in fact, unrelated to the RRRGroup’s alleged hypothesis.

    Should there exist evidence to the contrary, I remain anxious to consider it.

    As for extraterrestrials, I don’t believe that I’ve shown an interest in that direction, but if you prefer, we can place them aside. I would much rather establish why the history of the Surveyor program is radically incomplete, or how someone from Hughes supposedly tested an extraordinary, ascent-capable, version of it near Socorro. Skepticism, in a rational world, would examine all claims equally. Then again, if the true point of studying this case is to identify the “vehicle” that was responsible, it would be scientifically incorrect to exclude any hypothesis – no matter how unlikely, as Sherlock Holmes might have put it – when so much of the relevant evidence is missing, and so many important questions remain unanswered. Speculation is not a substitute for facts.

    By Blogger Serpentime, at Sunday, June 28, 2009  

  • Serpentime:
    So if the RRRGroup has information that Hughes WAS working on a lander at that time that fit Zamora's description (even if it had never been widely heard of before, for national security/secrecy reasons - or maybe even simply because that prototype was never followed up on), would that be enough for you? Or would you also require proof that that specific design was tested in that area at that time? Such proof simply may not exist.

    I would love to put aside the ETH. Once we do that, then really we're just trying to figure out who on earth made the object. If you're right that there were no other contracters vying for the job at that point, then wouldn't Hughes be the only logical choice?

    By Blogger Matt G. (NYC), at Monday, June 29, 2009  

  • Matt:

    If there is credible evidence of the vehicle you suggest, I would be pleased to consider it. This evidence should establish a functional vehicle, capable of creating the physical evidence recorded at the site, and of performing the flight profile required to have departed the area as described. Should such evidence exist, it may strengthen the RRRGroup’s alleged hypothesis to an appropriate degree.

    I am aware that many aerospace missions, and hardware concepts, were under consideration throughout the early 1960’s – NASA asked 37 companies to submit proposals for Surveyor – but would request proof that RRRGroup’s “lander” evolved to at least the stage of a working, field-tested, prototype. Should further evidence demonstrate that such a vehicle was evaluated at White Sands Missile Range / Stallion AAF during early 1964, the case may also be strengthened.

    But here, again, is where I question the alleged linkage of any such “lander’ to the Surveyor program – and to the important “Daily Range Schedule for Friday, 24 April 1964”. For example, there is no evidence that I am aware of that establishes any Surveyor vehicle with an ascent capability. Yet the core of the Socorro case centers on a vehicle that unavoidably lifted off and flew away. Even more damaging, the JPL Surveyor mission contract called for an unmanned vehicle that would descend and land on the moon. Not only was an ascent capability not required, it wasn’t asked for – and the extra engineering involved would have created both undesirable cost, and throw-weight, sacrifices for an extraneous capability that was outside the purpose of the mission. Any such “over-engineered” proposal may, in fact, have been eliminated through the submission process at the outset.

    It has long been speculated that unknown “moonships” and “landers” were tested at White Sands, but if so, the vehicle allegedly encountered by Lonnie Zamora appears to have demonstrated no physical, or practical, connection to the historical Surveyor mission.

    If the RRRGroup suggests a completely different Hughes program, that’s fine, but without evidence, it remains speculation only.

    By Blogger Serpentime, at Monday, June 29, 2009  

Post a Comment

<< Home