Posted: 26 Mar 2022 07:04 PM PDT
Bob White and a friend were driving from Denver to Las Vegas in 1985 when suddenly a bright light appeared in front of them while they were near Grand Junction, Colorado. The light, Bob White describes, was huge and very bright. When his friend flashed the car headlights, the object immediately zipped away at a high rate of speed and went between two blue long tubular lights and then disappeared. He then noticed an orange object dropping to the ground. He found where it landed, it was too hot too recover, so he waited for it to cool. He took the object with him after it cooled, and that is his story. The object is about 7 inches long, and is tear-drop shaped.
REEDS SPRING, Mo. — Bob White is convinced his story deserves a grand stage, that his most prized possession should be displayed before a national audience.
It should draw tourists from all over the country, he figures, and be a major attraction for people who want to see an artifact that White swears was retrieved from a UFO in 1985.
Instead, White’s find is in tiny Reeds Spring in southwestern Missouri, secured in a locked display case at Museum of the Unexplained, a converted video-rental store that, during a recent morning, went more than three hours without a customer.
White can’t figure it out.
All he wants to do is find some believers. He wants people to quit snickering and looking at him as if he’s crazy. He wants them to listen to his story, to take a hard look at his metallic artifact, to give him a chance.
“This,” White said, “is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
The odds are stacked against him. He and his partner at the museum, Robert Gibbons, have been rejected and ridiculed. White estimates he has spent more than $60,000 traveling to conferences, starting the museum, having the artifact tested and retested.
And yet he forges on.
“I’m 73 years old,” White said. “I don’t have much longer.
“What I’d like to see before I’m gone is the national media get their heads out of their … ” White paused, choosing his words carefully, “out of the sand. I’d like to see the national media and everybody else realize that what I have is real.”
Scientists theorize that the “UFO” lights that White said he encountered could have been nothing more than a meteorite, that his artifact could be space debris. Some scientists who have tested the object said there was nothing extraterrestrial about it.
Ask White whether he believed in unidentified flying objects prior to 1985, and he scrunches up his nose.
“Never,” he said. “Not a bit. I was the biggest skeptic in the world.”
That all changed overnight. Here’s how he remembers it:
White and a friend were driving from Denver to Las Vegas on a desolate highway near the Colorado-Utah border. It was 2 or 3 a.m., he said, and White was sleeping in the passenger seat. At one point, his friend woke him up and pointed out a strange light in the distance. White didn’t think much of it and went back to sleep.
Then his friend woke him up again. This time, White said, the lights were blinding.
He got out of the car and stared, dumbfounded. The object was about 100 yards in front of him, he said, “and it was huge … absolutely huge.”
In time, he said, the lights bolted toward the sky and connected with a pair of neon, tubular lights — “the mother ship,” White guesses now. And just like that, he said, the entire contraption zipped eastward through the Colorado sky and disappeared.
“What I saw,” White said, “was not of this Earth.”
As the craft flew away, White said, he noticed an orange light falling to the ground. A locator probe? Something that simply broke off? It was red hot when he reached it, he said, but in time it cooled enough to pick up. White shoved the object into the trunk of the car.
The object is about 7-1/2 inches long and shaped like a teardrop. It has a coarse, metallic exterior and weighs less than 2 pounds. It looks a bit like it could be a petrified pine cone and is composed primarily of aluminum.
White has had the item tested several times, hoping for some answers.
The Nevada-based National Institute for Discovery Science in 1996 sent a sample of the object to the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.
“The metallurgical analysis was pretty mundane,” said Colm Kelleher, a scientist at the National Institute for Discovery Science.
“We didn’t find any evidence that it was extraterrestrial. Now you can make the argument that we didn’t spend $1 million and look at every conceivable option. We didn’t cover every base.”
Another scientist who tested it at a California laboratory — and who asked that his name and that of the laboratory not be used — said, “It didn’t show any extraterrestrial signature.”
Sgt. Gary Carpenter, who works at the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado Springs, Colo., said it was not uncommon for NORAD to get calls about strange lights and unidentified objects. Not once, he said, has the object been identified as an alien spacecraft.
“Usually it turns out to be space debris from a satellite that’s decaying, or it’s in the realm of naturally occurring, celestial lights,” he said. “It could be something like a falling star. It could be contrails, the things you would see trailing an aircraft.”
White opened the Museum of the Unexplained with visions of turning it into a destination. He wasn’t looking to get rich — according to the Missouri secretary of state’s office, the museum was registered as a nonprofit organization in August 2000 — but he hoped to spread the word about his experience.
The museum, about 13 miles north of the glitzy Branson strip, might as well be in another world. There are no neon signs pointing the way, no twinkling lights outside the front door. Rather, it’s sandwiched between the Humane Society thrift shop and the Sunrise Cafe on Main Street.
It has struggled, unable to tap into the Branson spinoff crowd and secure a niche audience of its own. Only 2,800 people went through the doors that first year, when admission was free, and the museum hasn’t been able to replicate those numbers since.
These days, patrons age 12 and older pay $5 to stroll through about 2,000 square feet of space. Exhibits include a keyboard from the movie “Men in Black II” in which the shift key doesn’t capitalize or decapitalize but translates from English to an alien language. Other exhibits are little more than newspaper articles or passages from the Internet affixed to the wall with thumb tacks.
The focal point is White’s artifact, and he takes no chances with its safety. Motion detectors, closed-circuit TV and window and door alarms protect it at all times. White packs it up in a gun case every day at 5 p.m., and the object never spends the night at the same place two nights in a row. You can never be too sure, he figures, even in a town with just 465 residents.
“I’m happy for them that they’re having a good time, but I guess I’m just not into that kind of thing,” said Kacee Cashman, the Reeds Spring city clerk since 1998. “I really think they’ve been accepted, but everybody’s kind of taking it with a grain of salt.”
Said White, “I don’t know what I have to do to prove this is the truth. You can’t make this stuff up.” – Knight Ridder Newspapers, June 22, 2004
NIDS Analysis Of Bob White’s Metal Piece
Analysis of Metal Sample
Mr. White, a Missouri resident, provided the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS) a piece of material that he purportedly obtained under unusual circumstances.
Since the material had not been previously tested, NIDS decided to have a battery of tests conducted. The material was delivered to New Mexico Tech, and the tests were conducted under the direction of Dr. Paul Fuierer, an Assistant Professor in the Materials Engineering Department. On August 23, 1996, Dr. Fuierer submitted his analysis, Sample Analysis Report: Sample #2.
The analysis were double blinded. The following is the entire text of the report. No conclusions are made by NIDS.
Sample #2 in its as-received condition can be described as a finger-shaped piece of metal approximately 30 mm long, 7 mm thick, 18 mm wide at its larger end and 10 mm wide at the smaller end.
The interior of the specimen is silver-white in color, and highly reflecting. The outside surface has a tarnished, darker gray appearance with overlapping scale-like features. The sample mass was 5.11524 g.
A semi-quantitative elemental analysis was obtained using a Philips 2400 X-ray Fluorescence (wavelength dispersive) Spectrometer. A scan of the entire bulk sample identified as major constituents: 85 wt % A1 and 9 wt % Si, and minor constituents: 2 wt% Fe, 0.9 wt% Ca, 0.7 wt% S, 0.6 wt% C1, and 0.6 wt% Na along with several other elements (see Table I). This was in agreement with the qualitative analysis done via Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) during the electron microscopy investigation (next section), which detected aluminum, silicon, and iron. In terms of its chemical composition, sample #2 appears to be similar to what is known as a “360 aluminum casting alloy”.
An X-ray diffraction scan was performed on a slice of the sample with an area of about 1 cm^2. The diffraction pattern is shown in Fig. 1. A13.21Si0.47 is seen to be an excellent match. This composition calculates to 86.8 wt% A1 and 13.2 wt% Si, very close to that of sample #2. The four largest peaks are attributed to the aluminum metal, while the three small peaks (d = 3.1349, d = 1.9221, and d = 1.6375) are due to the presence of silicon. The aluminum peaks are shifted slightly to lower angles and larger d-spacings, as a result of the incorporation of a small amount of other larger metallic impurities into the lattice. The sample can therefore be described as a two-phase mixture of an aluminum solid solution as the majority phase, and silicon as a minor phase. This is in agreement with the equilibrium phase diagram for the Al-Si binary system, shown in Fig. 2. The composition of sample #2 is close to the eutectic composition, which is the composition have the lowest melting point.
Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)
The same slice of sample used for XRD was prepared by grinding and polishing to a mirror finish, followed by etching with 0.5% HF acid for 40 sec. Examination under the electron microscope revealed the microstructure to be quite uniform throughout the sample. Fig. 3 shows low and high magnification shots of the prepared surface. The sample contained a large amount of porosity (darker areas are pits and voids). Also apparent are the small particles (tenths of microns in size) surrounded by the continuous matrix material. EDS revealed the small, light particles to be silicon rich, while the darker gray matrix is Al-rich, as expected.
Two samples were cut for metallographic examination; one sliced perpendicular to the length of the sample, and one parallel. These sections were also ground, polished and etched with 0.5% HF. Fig. 5 shows a couple of low mag shots of the parallel sample. The high porosity is very apparent, along with the very fine microstructure. Flow lines are also apparent in these two shots. The coarse ones are easy to see, outlined by the porosity. A more subtle flow line can be seen in the 250X shot upon close examination, defined only by a slight difference in the density of the darker particles on either side. These kinds of flow lines are commonly observed in poor sand or die castings. These are caused by a failure of molten streams of metal to merge due to poor filling of a mold, incorrect die lubrication or incorrect injection pressures.
Only under 1000X magnification can one start to pick out individual black particles (Fig. 6). These tiny black particles are the same Si particles seen under the SEM as light particles. Unfortunately, sub-micron sized features approach the theoretical limit of resolution for a light microscope, and therefore do not reveal themselves very clearly. However, they seem to have grouped together in certain locations to form longer bands, either straight or curved. These are probably dislocations (highly strained defects in the Al lattice) where precipitation of a second phase often occurs.
The fine microstructure observed in sample #2 is exactly what one might expect from a near eutectic composition of the Al and Si with a significant amount of impurities. Since the eutectic is rich in aluminum, one would predict an Al-rich solid solution matrix with isolated particles of silicon…..just what we have. The fact that the Si particles are spheroidized (essentially equiaxed spherical particles) as opposed to the classic eutectic lamellar shape (elongated plates or needles) can be explained by the significant quantity of impurities like Na, Mg, etc. These are regarded as modifiers in metal alloy technology, which alter surface energies and affect the morphology of the second phase silicon.
Putting all of the above microstructural observations together, one can surmise that the metal was being deformed (pushed or blown) as it cooled from the molten state through the eutectic temperature (~ 577 degrees C) and solidified. It probably cooled fairly rapidly since the Si particles are rather small. Also the alloy may have been undercooled such that excess Si was left in solid solution, and then later precipitated out at the dislocations during either normal or artificial aging.
Bulk density of the sample was measured based on the Archimedes Principle by immersion in toluene. The mass, while immersed, increased over a long period of time, finally stabilizing after 3 hours, indicative of a highly porous sample. The density of sample #2 was calculated to be 2.47 g/cm^3. This is 91% of that of the theoretical density of pure A1 (2.71 g/cm^3). This is not surprising, considering the presence of undisolved silicon (2.33 g/cm^3) and significant amount of void space observed under the microscope.
The same samples (both perpendicular and parallel cuts) used for optical microscopy were used to measure hardness. A Vickers Hardness number was obtained from a Leco Tester using a diamond tip micro-indenter. Five indentations were made for each sample. The size of the resulting indentations were measured under the light microscope, and averaged. This average value, along with the known applied load were used to come up with the Vicker’s Hardness number. For the perpendicular cut, VH = 60. For the parallel cut, VH = 62. The difference is probably within experimental error. These values are slightly higher than pure aluminum, and typical for aluminum alloys.
An attempt was made to prepare a specimen for measuring the strength and stiffness (elastic modulus) of sample #2 using an Instron machine, however; the sample proved to be to small.
A four-point probe must be used for accurate measurement for highly conducting materials like metals. For this, a rectangular slab sample was cut and polished to dimensions: length = 11.16 mm, width = 3.36 mm, and thickness = 0.38 mm. A digital multimeter was used to measure the current (provided by a constant current source) through the length of the sample, while an electrometer was used to measure the voltage drop (to the nearest 0.00001 V) across a length of the slab. The resistivity of sample #2 was measured to be 2.90 x 10^-5 Ohm-cm. This is about an order of magnitude higher than that of pure aluminum (3 x 10^-6 Ohm-cm) and five times higher than that of 360 Al alloy (6×10^-6 Ohm-cm). This is completely reasonable, considering the large number of Si particles, dislocation lines, and amount of porosity.
Summary and Conclusions
Results from the analysis of sample #2 are quite conclusive. The specimen is an aluminum-silicon alloy, with a substantial amount of variety of impurities, including iron, calcium, sulfur, chlorine, sodium, magnesium and others. The composition is one that could be used as an aluminum casting alloy. The closest commercial material has the trade name “360 alloy” [Lyman, 1961]. This is a die casting alloy used in applications where excellent castability and resistance to corrosion are required. It is used for miscellaneous thin-walled and intricate castings. Since this type of alloy is very close to the eutectic (lowest melting) composition, it has excellent fluidity at relatively low temperatures.
The microstructure of the sample is one to be expected from the composition: second phase eutectic silicon particles in a matrix of aluminum solid solution. However, due to a few undesirable structural characteristics, it would be regarded as a poorly cast aluminum alloy when compared with published micrographs of commercial materials [Lyman, 1972]. The large amount of porosity would certainly lead to a decreased strength and decreased corrosion resistance. The presence of porosity together with the apparent flow lines suggests that uncontrolled cooling took place. The significant amount of impurities like sodium accounts for the fineness and rounded nature of the silicon particles, rather than the larger, longer, more angular particles usually observed. Dislocations (planes of slip caused by plastic deformation) appear to be decorated by silicon particles. In many cases, these dislocations follow the flow lines. This suggests some forced flow during solidification of the melt (in the range of temperatures 600 degrees C to 575 degrees C).
There are no anomalies in the results of this analysis. The detected phases are accounted for, and the microstructure lends itself to standard metallurgical interpretation. The physical properties that were measured (density, hardness, and electrical resistivity) all fall within the expected range. – Colm Kelleher, Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS)
Phantoms & Monsters