Find out how this airline pilot’s UFO sighting led to a bestselling novel. Did you know I modeled the movements of the strange ship in the first scene of my bestselling sci-fi novel, Ambush, after the flight profile of a UFO I saw above Fort Hood, Texas?
In this blog, I’ll lay out exactly what we saw and where. I’ll also tell you what it might have been and how that ties into my novel’s backstory.
For the backstory of my SECTOR 64 series, I put forth an alien first-contact scenario that my readers find very plausible, some even wondering aloud if this could be our current reality.
Let’s imagine that elsewhere in the galaxy a species elevated itself from the primordial soup a million years ahead of us. Making the most of that thousand-millennia head start, they master physics, achieve faster than light (FTL) travel, and populate thousands of star systems.
Always looking for burgeoning technological societies to bring into the galactic government, they populate the galaxy with a network of detectors designed to watch for certain markers thought to be key indicators, i.e.: unnaturally organized radio waves or light waves (laser beams) and unnatural fission reactions (nuclear detonations). Some, like radio waves, would probably just be annotated for future research. Others, like nuclear detonations, would require a more urgent investigation.
While they’ve mastered FTL travel and communications, their sensors are still limited to detecting occurrences at the speed of light. In other words, if a burgeoning society starts blasting radio waves or nuclear electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) across the cosmos, our curious aliens wouldn’t detect it until the wave traveled at the speed of light to the nearest sensor. Then it could use their FTL sub-space communication network to pass on the news.
To comprehend the logistics involved, we must have a full appreciation of the galaxy’s size. It’s a BIG galaxy. If our curious aliens only wanted to deploy ten million sensors, they would have to disperse them throughout the galaxy on a grid with one-hundred light-year spacing. The Milky Way is 100,000 light-years across and one thousand light-years thick. That means if you could travel across the entire width of the galaxy at the speed of light, the Earth would circle the Sun 100,000 times during your trek. (Note: these are external observations. The hypothetical FTL traveler would experience this time quite differently, but that’s a subject for a future blog.) Even if you could travel at an incredible 100,000 times the speed of light, an Earth year would pass in the time it took you to traverse the galaxy.
When it comes to jaunting about the Milky Way, your FTL travel would have to be SIGNIFICANTLY faster than the speed of light to be of any appreciable use. Scientist and sci-fi writers often employ wormholes due to their hypothetical ability to fold space. Joining two points of space-time, like folding a paper in half, brings two remote locations together, rendering interstellar travel as simple as stepping through a door.
Back to our first contact scenario. Because of the aforementioned galactic scale, our fictional aliens have quite a few (read: ten million) sensors spread throughout the Milky Way. One day, they receive a signal indicating that a nuclear device detonated on a planet in the remote portion of the galaxy identified as SECTOR 64. They discover the signal originated from a medium-sized rocky planet in a solar system only two light-years from the sensor. (That would be very fortuitous, remember our one-hundred light-year spacing.)
So our curious aliens fold space-time and dispatch a scout ship to SECTOR 64. Arriving only a few days after their sensor detected the first nuclear blast, they get to the planet the locals (humans) call Earth in a year the humans have designated as one thousand nine hundred and forty-seven or 1947. Because of the sensor’s two light-year distance from the planet, two Earth years have passed since their original nuclear detonations in 1945.
Our curious alien scouts travel to the only place on the planet where they detect nuclear weapons. It happens to be relatively close to where the first nuclear detonation occurred. The humans call the region New Mexico.
In 1947 only one nuclear-armed bomber squadron existed, the 509th Bomber Group based at an Army Air Corp Base known as Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF).
Yep, you guessed it. That’s near an infamous small town named Roswell, New Mexico.
In a tragic accident, the scout ship is knocked down by a surprisingly powerful thunderstorm.
After a series of nearly calamitous events, the aliens do make first-contact with world leaders of the day.
Today’s volume of totally useless trivia: As many of you who read my book already know an underground hangar entrance at Southern Nevada’s Area 51 is the setting for two key scenes in my Amazon Top Rated novel SECTOR 64: Coup de Main.
What you may not know is I based that hangar’s location and description on a feature I saw on Google Earth’s images of the secretive Air Force facility adjacent to Groom Lake. While researching the novel I did an in depth visual scan of the airfield. If you look at the base’s layout you’ll notice a not inconsequential distance lies between the hangar facilities and the runway complex. I reasoned that if you had a vehicle who’s very appearance would stand out you’d want a shorter path to the runway complex.
During my search I found the feature pictured above. While it may only be a jet-blast shield, its position seemed out of place and inconvenient for that purpose. Usually jet-blast shields are positioned to protect roads and structures from said jet blast. Also, the dirt behind/above it appears groomed as though work had been done there. Look closely and you’ll see parallel dark lines leading into the feature’s center.
I created a Google Earth Placemark for it. Click here to open a Google Map centered on the feature.
I’ve always been a huge admirer of the works of the late Sir Arthur C. Clarke. One of my favorite aspects of his writing lies in his use of real world, or at least theoretical, physics in his storylines. He never went off into flights of fancy with plotlines that could only happen in a magical universe. (Disclaimer: that doesn’t mean I don’t love Star Wars. Like every other red-blooded American male that came of age in the late seventies, I too am a big fan of the ‘Force’.)
I tried to emulate his approach in my novel. In the book I tie the physics of the UFO encountered in the first scene with an obscure but very exciting branch of theoretical physics known as Heim’s Quantum Theory, or HQT.
In the 1950s, 60s and 70s Burkhard Heim, a German self-taught theoretical physicist developed his unified field theory (HQT). Now before your eyes glaze over let me tell you the exciting part. If proved viable, HQT opens the door to gravity manipulation and faster than light (FTL) travel.
In 1957 he became an instant celebrity (in Germany) when he first presented his work. In the 1960’s Wernher von Braun, the famous German rocket scientist (think: father of the United States’ rocket program, aka NASA) approached Heim about his work and asked whether his Saturn rockets were worthwhile.
In a 1964 letter, relativity theorist Pascual Jordan, a member of the Nobel committee, told Heim his plan was so important “its successful experimental treatment would without doubt make the researcher a candidate for the Nobel prize.”
For multiple reasons his theory was never put to an experimental test. Primarily because the cost, scale and technologies involved exceeded his abilities.
This leads back to my book. Without giving away too much of the plot, it asks the question:
Here’s a CNN story I read in mid-November. I hope you find it helpful; for me it was a true ‘light bulb’ moment. To prove calorie count trumps all, a nutritionist ate nothing but Little Debbie Snack Cakes for a couple of months and lost 27 pounds. Not only did he lose the weight, his blood work improved. Counter intuitively, his triglycerides and glucose levels got BETTER.
He doesn’t espouse Twinkies as a nutritional mainstay. It’s just an exaggerated means to illustrate the relationship between caloric intake and weight control.
Bottom-line: If you eat less than you burn, you WILL lose weight.
He is roughly my age and weight. So following his example I began a limited calorie diet the week before Thanksgiving (there’s an app for that.) I’m happy to report that in the intervening weeks I’ve lost 24 pounds, having gone from 200 to 176 pounds (as of this morning, 2/26/11.) And I’ve eaten everything from pasta to Mexican food—albeit in limited amounts.
Yes, I mixed in healthy foods too, but the freedom to eat what I wanted made this a maintainable diet.