Project MOGUL was first conceived by Dr. Maurice Ewing of Columbia University, NY, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, MA. Dr. Ewing had conducted considerable research for the Navy during World War II, studying, among other things, the "sound channel" in the ocean. He proved that explosions could be heard thousands of miles away with underwater microphones placed at a predetermined depth within the sound channel. He theorized that since sound waves generated by explosions could be carried by currents deep within the ocean, they might be similarly transmitted within a sound channel in the upper atmosphere. The military application of this theory was the long-range detection of sound waves generated by Soviet nuclear detonations and the acoustical signatures of ballistic missiles as they traversed the upper atmosphere.
Ewing presented his theory to General Carl Spaatz, Chief of Staff of the Army Air Forces, in the fall Of 1945. (6) The project was approved, and research was begun by the scientific research agency of the US Army Air Forces (USAAF), the Air Materiel Command (AMC), early in 1946 The project was assigned to HQ AMC, Engineering Division, Electronics Subdivision, which in turn assigned the project to AMC's Watson Laboratories, Engineering Division, Applied Propagation Subdivision, located in Red Bank, NJ.
The NYU "balloon group" was to develop and fly constant-level balloons while simultaneously developing telemetering equipment to transmit data obtained in the upper atmosphere. (11) Group members launched, tracked, and recorded data only in regard to constant-level balloon flight and telemetering of information. They did not have access to observations and measurements that had military applications. MOGUL, in other words, was conducted as a compartmented, classified project in which participants knew only what they needed to know, and no more.
The use of the standard, 350-gram meteorological balloons, constructed of neoprene, was, at best, a "stop gap" method of achieving constant-level flight. (25) Balloons most suitable for this type of work were made of polyethylene, a very thin, translucent plastic. These balloons, however, had just been developed, and, although the NYU group had contracted for some of them, the balloons had not been received.
By December 1948, serious concerns had arisen regarding the feasibility of the project as first conceived. Even though the principle on which the project was based was determined to be sound, questions concerning cost, security, and practicality were discussed-that ultimately led to the disbandment of the project, and Project MOGUL as first conceived was never put into operational use. However, MOGUL did serve as the foundation for a comprehensive program in geophysical research from which the USAF and the scientific community have benefited to the present time. These benefits included constant-level balloon technology, first developed by NYU for Project MOGUL.
On July 8, 1947, the Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) public information office in Roswell, New Mexico, reported the crash and recovery of a "flying disc." Army Air Forces personnel from the RAAF's 509th Bomb Group were credited with the recovery. The following day, the press reported that the Commanding General of the U.S. Eighth Air Force, Fort Worth, Texas, announced that RAAF personnel had recovered a crashed radar-tracking (weather) balloon, not a "flying disc."
After nearly 50 years, speculation continues on what crashed at Roswell. Some observers believe that the object was of extraterrestrial origin. In the July 1994 Report of Air Force Research Regarding the Roswell Incident, the Air Force did not dispute that something happened near Roswell, but reported that the most likely source of the wreckage was from the balloon-launched classified government project designed to determine the state of Soviet nuclear weapons research. The AN/CRT-1 Sonabuoy could have compromised Project MOGUL. Although the Sonabuoy was not itself classified, its association with a balloon would have exposed a specific military purpose, an obvious violation of project classification guidelines.
The debate on what crashed at Roswell continues. Conspiracy theorists will want to investigate the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, New Mexico. The local Air Force Base, which was tasked with the cleanup of the crash site, maintained that it was a research balloon, but many UFO proponents believe that story is a cover-up. At the UFO Museum, each room has been designed to evoke the feeling of 1947, with a recreated newsroom, a government "cover-up" room and information about alien sightings in general.
From the rather benign description of the "event" and the recovery of some material as described in the original newspaper accounts, the "Roswell Incident" has since grown to mythical (if not mystical) proportions in the eyes and minds of some researchers, portions of the media and at least part of the American public. There are also now several major variations of the "Roswell story." For example, it was originally reported that there was only recovery of debris from one site. This has since grown from a minimal amount of debris recovered from a small area to airplane loads of debris from multiple huge "debris fields." Likewise, the relatively simple description of sticks, paper, tape and tinfoil has since grown to exotic metals with hieroglyphics and fiber optic-like materials. Most versions now claim that there were two crash sites where debris was recovered; and at the second site, alleged bodies of extraterrestrial aliens were supposedly retrieved. The number of these "alien bodies" recovered also varied.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|