The Instigator
DocORock
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
WaximusMaximus
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

NASA Should Assume Role in Investigating UFO Documentation

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/26/2007 Category: Science
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,180 times Debate No: 1032
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (4)

 

DocORock

Pro

Debatable point: NASA should assume an authoritative role in investigating UFO documentation. Rather than assert that NASA should investigate all sightings or personal claims of sightings, abductions or alien encounters, the idea is that NASA collect, analyze and report on CERTAIN well-DOCUMENTED sightings. "CERTAIN" implies that the documentation analyzed will be at the discretion of an educated, interested team of NASA scientists. The word "DOCUMENTED" involves only sightings recorded by photo image, video and digital recordings, unless more substantial or physical evidence is presented.

Opening argument: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a mission statement that proclaims this government organization strives to "pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research". Organizationally, the agency is then broken down into four mission directorates: Aeronautics, Exploration Systems, Science and Space Operations. Each of these directorates have the same underlying question to answer: What is out there in space?

NASA dedicates much of its efforts to answer that question in any form. For this overall mission, the agency is consistently focused on discovering life on other planets. To-date, countless new planets - some close to the size and mass of Earth - have been discovered as part of distant solar systems. Closer to home, NASA believes that one of the moons of Saturn may harbor life deep below its icy surface. Scientists say that if we discover that life exists on a planet (other than Earth) in our own solar system, then - mathematically - we can calculate that life is teeming, abound, and can be found everywhere throughout the entire universe.

With so much documentation available for research - photos and clips that we have collected here inside our own atmosphere - the agency already has access to plenty of material to make scientific determinations about life beyond Earth. The "educated and interested team of NASA scientists" could collect field data of their own, generating photographs and digital imagery to analyze themselves. If a respected agency as NASA seriously analyzed the possibilities of alien life visiting Earth, then perhaps working to answer the question, "Is there life out there?" will be replaced with the more efficient mission of actually locating or contacting the life we already know about.
WaximusMaximus

Con

Why would a NASA investigation come to any other conclusions as the US Air Force, the French space agency, the Battelle Memorial Institute, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the American Astronomical Society? I would contend with the limited NASA budget a more effective and less studied field could be found to invest in.

Second, if NASA is investigating space and UFO's are indeed extraterrestrial in origin then at some point we should intercept them in space, barring the use of wormholes. And even if a wormhole was used the surge of radiation should be so obvious that we should have seen something by now if they were being used in our neighborhood. It would be mighty strange that if extraterrestrials are crossing light-years that we can only see them in the atmosphere.
Debate Round No. 1
DocORock

Pro

The US Air Force investigated UFO sightings from 1947 to 1969. "Project Blue Book" was a program designed to 1) debunk all reported sightings as nonsensical or "weather phenomena" and 2) determine if the aliens that were visiting our planet posed a threat and thus a cause to consider devising a strategy of national defense against them. The biggest separation between the conclusions this branch of the US military (or any of the other agencies my opponent listed) and the conclusions that NASA investigations would produce would be in the scientific approach.

As far as the budget goes, the purpose of proposing NASA to take this role is to make efficient the discovery of life outside Earth, thus shifting our budgets aimed toward locating or contacting that life. Rather, we presume there is no life out there without the scientific proof. So we spend billions of dollars on the research and development of devices that can better scanning the skies and to develop and manufacture thrusting engines that take us further out, but only inches at a time by terms of our expansive universe. If we spent only a portion on investigating what might very well be close encounters - but, again, with a solid, scientific approach - we might find ourselves "exploring" much more efficiently.

As far as arguing what my opponent suggests - barring aliens from the use of wormholes; the improbability of the existence of aliens - I hope to take that up with my contender...perhaps in another, fitting debate.
WaximusMaximus

Con

Both the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Astronomical Society took on scientific investigations of UFO sightings including a massive polling effort. Both institutions are not branches of the government but are in fact professional associations in aeronautical engineering and astronomy, respectively. Their data and research was entirely independent from the government and roughly as inconclusive. A revaluation of the information by NASA scientists would have to reach about the same conclusion if the same scientific method is applied to the same data, there is no other logical outcome.

My opponent also raised the question of NASA scientists generating their own data. The only two alternatives I can see in this situation is a scientist in question being lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time with the right equipment or running after any UFO sighting with any amount of credibility. Both solutions are problematic for their own reasons, namely expense, validity of the data, and ever elusive luck.

I clearly have a different vision of the mission of NASA than my opponent. I would contend that we should be directing our efforts close to home. My opponent has pointed out that we barely know anything about space, for that matter our knowledge about our own solar system is very limited. Shouldn't we invest most of our money getting to know our own backyard before jumping off the deep end and hoping to find extraterrestrials or searching the stars? Exploration of any kind has stages, limits, often placed upon it by the technology of the time. The Portuguese had to first develop the techniques of sailing and navigation before they could round the tip of Africa. Only after this period of small steps and mastery of the techniques of sailing could the Portuguese continue to a greater goal. We are much in the same boat as far as space in concerned. We are only at the beginning. While there is no doubt in my mind as to the existence of extraterrestrials the difficulties of locating them, contacting them, and getting anything meaningful out of it are great. I do not think we are prepared technologically to deal with this issue at this time. To use an analogy it's like A.G. Bell trying to tell us how the internet works. The basic rules still apply, the hurdle is the difference in the levels of technology.

While I don't think I have sufficient knowledge to take you up on your offer of a debate on any further subject at this time I would certainly appreciate if you could suggest some reading material or websites. I have a keen interest in the subject and so far this is an expansive and interesting debate. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
DocORock

Pro

DocORock forfeited this round.
WaximusMaximus

Con

Without a third round response from my opponent I have no further debate to offer at this time. DocORock, thank you for the debate.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Whiplash 9 years ago
Whiplash
*sigh* Lovely use of tax dollars.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by DocORock 9 years ago
DocORock
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Vote Placed by Darth_Grievous_42 9 years ago
Darth_Grievous_42
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Vote Placed by righty10294 9 years ago
righty10294
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Vote Placed by RMK 9 years ago
RMK
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