On March 13th 1997 the ‘Phoenix Lights’ were seen over Phoenix, Arizona and Sonora, Mexico by hundreds of people, and by millions on television. Lights of varying descriptions were reported by thousands of people in a space of about 480 km from the Nevada line, through Phoenix, to the edge of Tucson.
There were allegedly two distinct events involved in the incident: a triangular formation of lights seen to pass over the state, and a series of stationary lights seen in the Phoenix area. Witnesses claim to have observed a huge V-shaped (several football field-sized), coherently-moving dark UFO (stars would disappear behind the object and reappear as it passed by), producing no sound, and containing five spherical lights or possibly light-emitting engines.
This became a hotly debated controversy and the event spawned a number of films including ‘Night Skies’ and ‘They Came from Outer Space’. The case took a twist two days later when a local television station aired a startling confession by an anonymous hoaxer claiming to have created the UFO lights using road flares tied to helium balloons and launching them in one-minute increments. Some people were amused by the hoax, others were angered, and many conspiracy-minded UFO buffs were sceptical of such a mundane explanation. Just because a person has confessed to a hoax doesn’t mean the case is solved – after all, people often falsely confess to things they didn’t do and many UFO believers rejected this confession as part of a military cover-up.
The question of whether we are alone in the universe fascinates us. Astronomers and other scientists constantly research and explore space. One of the most intriguing questions they hope to answer one day is whether life exists on other planets. Despite a lot of research scientists have not yet been able to find evidence of life forms on any planet other than Earth. Earth is very hospitable, which makes living here easy. Earth has water, which living creatures need to survive. Although there may be other planets that have some of Earth’s hospitable features, so far scientists have not found any with all of the features they believe necessary to sustain life. For now, Earth still remains one of a kind!
However, the photograph of the so-called ‘dragon particle’ in October 2014 has been taken by many scientists as evidence that all life on Earth, including humans, is extra-terrestrial in origin and is the strongest indication so far that not only does life exist in outer space, but that extra-terrestrial organisms are continually raining down on earth. Statistically, every star in our galaxy – the Milky Way – should have at least one planet, and small rocky worlds like the Earth are common.
Given the immensity of the universe, it would seem likely that life beyond the Earth is inevitable, just undiscovered. With some scientists predicting the discovery of extra-terrestrial life in the next 20 years, ours may be the generation in which the answer to the question "Are we alone?" may finally be answered.