A FORMER NASA astronaut has spoken publicly for the first time about one of history’s most infamous UFO cases 20 years ago, saying he has “conclusive proof” to solve the mystery.
Tom Jones, a veteran of four space shuttle missions over 11 years, who pondered the mystery of alien crafts before joining the US space agency, says he can solve once and for all the mystery of the so-called “UFO Tether Incident” of 1996.The story involved a satellite, which was tethered to the space shuttle, breaking off.When it was later filmed by the astronauts on board, it appeared to be swarmed by hundreds of UFOs appearing like organisms swimming in a sea, according to onlookers.But conspiracy theorists will be unsatisfied with Mr Jones ‘conclusive proof of’ what the stunning sight was.In an Ask the Astronaut column for Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine he discusses the age-old question of whether he or other astronauts had seen real alien space craft while in orbit.According to conspiracy theorists there are scores of NASA astronauts and personnel who have seen evidence of UFOs and aliens, some who have blown the whistle, and others who remain tightlipped for fear of what will happen.Those who have spoken openly include the late Edgar Mitchell, the sixth astronaut to walk on the moon, who went on to say he had evidence alien races were in contact with the US Government.But Mr Jones is not convinced by the testimonies of Mr Mitchell and other whistleblowers. He says the explanation for mystery sightings is more simple.He wrote: “Astronauts have not seen any evidence of alien life. Reports of unidentified flying objects in images returned from the shuttle or [space] station have turned out to be ice crystals, drifting orbital debris, lightning flashes, or meteors streaking through the dark atmosphere below.“So far, our search for extraterrestrial life — and other civilisations in space — has turned up no proof of alien civilisations.”Mr Jones spoke out with his conclusion about the 1996 tether Incident, due to the mass reports of his crew seeing UFOs.He said: “I was on the shuttle Columbia — STS-80 — and even made a blog entry, ‘Did UFOs Visit The Shuttle Columbia?’ Because when we came back from that mission in 1996, NASA got several queries from people who were watching the video — NASA TV back then — and said, ‘Hey, we saw spaceships on the shuttle video. What’s NASA got to say about that?’”The spaceman said NASA’s public affairs team even referred callers to him, because he was one of the crew members.He added of the tether incident: “I looked at the video and I said, ‘Oh, I know what this is — this is just ice crystals floating along beside the ship for the first couple of days of the flight.’“What looked to some people like a spaceship streaking across the star field, was — to us, looking out the windows — a complete non-event. And yet, it was very significant to people who were watching.”[interaction id=”57334c4a13ce5dee2218f754″]