The RAND Corporation and UFOs

Written by Super User on . Posted in UFOs


the red planet


Dr. Lipp however, seemed more convinced of the possibility that UFOs could be space ships from elsewhere in the galaxy rather than from our own solar system. He discussed the different types of stars and those similar to the Sun that could generate planetary systems, in much the same way as Dr. Carl Sagan would popularize over 20 years later. Of a sample of 47 known stars within a distance of 16 light years from the Sun, Dr. Lipp maintained that 22 “can be considered as eligible for habitable planets.”

And long before Sagan, the Russians Kardashev and Shklovsky, and other proponents of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), Dr. Lipp advanced “some personal intuition into the discussion with the view that life is not unique on Earth, or even the RANDom result of a low probability, but is practically inevitable in the right conditions.” He also took the educated guess that, “knowing nothing at all about other races, we must assume that Man is average as to technical advancement, environmental difficulties, etc.

That is, one half of other planets are behind us and have no space travel and the other half are ahead and have various levels of space travel. We can thus imagine that in our sample volume (the 22 potential stars within 16 light years from earth—ed.) there are 11 races of beings who have begun space explorations.”

more advanced civilizations

Continuing with the argument that a number of space civilizations could be way ahead of us, Dr. Lipp wrote that their space ships would “require improvements of propulsion that we have not yet conceived.” He mentioned “a large number of hypothetical methods of transportation like gravity shields, space overdrives, teleports, simulators energy beams and so on,” drawn from the combined “efforts of all the science-fiction writers.”

Dr. Lipp’s study seem truly revolutionary if we consider that it was written on December 1948. In fact, his astronomical analysis is quite similar to that of George Kocher in another RAND UFO study, this one written in 1968. Yet Lipp’s final remarks against the “flying objects” being spec ships are weak and seem perhaps a bit contrived in order to adjust to the official Air Force policy of denying the extraterrestrial origin of UFOs.

He based his first counter-argument on the proposition that all UFO incidents up to his time “have occurred within the United States, whereas visiting spacemen could be expected to scatter their visits more or less uniformly over the globe.” Dr. Lipp was evidently misinformed about the UFO phenomenon occurring only in the U.S. in 1947 and 1948. On the other hand, that UFOs became a global phenomenon is an undisputable fact.

The second and final counter-argument is that the only “motive” that could explain the “purpose” of UFOs is, according to Lipp, “that the spacemen are ‘feeling out’ our defenses without wanting to be belligerent. If so, they must have been satisfied long ago that we can’t catch them. It seems fruitless for them to keep repeating the same experiment.” As Head of the Missiles Division of the RAND Corporation, Dr. Lipp should have known that weapons research after World War II was advancing dramatically, thus justifying the continuing UFO surveillance of our planet’s sensitive military and industrial installations for purposes that are still unknown.

RAND Corpartion Headquarters in Santa Monica, CA. (image credit: Cbl62/Wikimedia Commons - CC License 3.0)

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