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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: November 2002
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UK government lifts lid on UFO files Nov 29, 2002
Quark stars and quark meteorites? Nov 21, 2002
Matter through the looking-glass Nov 13, 2002

Unidentified lights in the sky
UK government lifts lid on UFO files
(Nov. 29, 2002)

This site maintains a skeptical but open-minded stance on the issue of unidentified flying objects. Whatever one's views, it can only be in the best scientific interests that the UK government has agreed on Thursday (Nov. 28) to place in the public domain previously classified information on the 1980 Rendlesham incident (Britain's answer to Roswell!) in which US Air Force personnel based at nearby RAF Bentwaters reported seeing a mysterious illuminated aerial object. For more details on this incident and the opening of the "Rendlesham file", go here (BBC). This site has received many apparently sincere and, in some cases, well-documented descriptions of anomalous aerial phenomena (perhaps a better term than "UFO", which presupposes an object in flight), and is of the opinion that these may indicate, at the very least, poorly understood natural phenomena, such as earthquake lights or ball lightning. In a small minority of cases, it is feasible that advanced prototype military aircraft are involved. The possibility that a residuum of cases may due to intelligent extraterrestrial activity is very remote but can't be dismissed out of hand. It is unfortunate that most professional scientists are discouraged from investigating such anomalous phenomena because of a fear of being associated with popular and hysterical claims and a general reluctance of science to try to fit transient and unpredictable events into established paradigms.

RX J1856.5-3754
Quark stars and quark meteorites?
(Nov. 21, 2002)

Quarks make up most of the matter around us, including all the protons and neutrons in the atoms of your body. But they stopped existing in a free form shortly after the Big Bang. Or did they? According to two recent pieces of research, free quarks may still be around in the universe today. Back in April, observations from the Chandra X-ray Observatory hinted at the possibility that the collapsed star known as RX J1856.5-3754, shown in the photo, might be a quark star – something more squashed than a neutron star but not as cokllapsed as a black hole. For more on this, go here (BBC). Now, a group of researchers has suggested that a couple of seismic events recorded in 1993 were caused by quark matter striking the Earth.

For more on this, go here. Weird forms of matter – and their possible interaction with our planet – have certainly been in the news recently. See the story on mirror matter below.

a crater on Eros
Matter through the looking-glass
(Nov. 12, 2002)

Robert Foot (University of Melbourne) has been reflecting on the possibilities of mirror matter – a weird kind of opposite-to-ordinary-matter stuff that isn't antimatter. Mirror matter, so its proponents argue, is what is needed to balance the fact that normal matter has a left-handed (sinistral) bias. For more about this, go here (Space Daily). Foot has written a book about the subject called "Shadowlands," which was published last year. Some readers, and Foot himself, make some interesting comments at the Amazon webpage here. Of course, one always has to be cautious about the comments of scientists who have popular-level books on the market (mentioning no names, Foot and Darling!). But the suggestion by a professional researcher that mirror matter may play a key role in the cosmos, be affecting the motion of our deep space probes (including Pioneer 10 and 11), have been responsible for the 1908 Tunguska event in Siberia, and may exist inside some craters on the asteroid Eros, as reported here (BBC) and shown in the photo above, certainly deserves some serious attention.


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