Wednesday, March 13, 2024

AARO and Project MOON DUST


Here’s something I noticed as I was reviewing all the projects mentioned in AARO’s latest report. There was no mention of Project MOON DUST, which was a multiple agency investigation which, according to documentation from the Project Blue Book files was “…to collect and analyze raw intelligence reports from the field on fallen space debris and objects of unknown origin.” While that doesn’t provide overwhelming evidence that MOON DUST had a UFO component, other documentation, along with the history of the project does.

MOON DUST came to public attention in the mid-1980s, when skeptic Robert Todd, who filed hundreds of FOIA requests, received a document dump from the US Department in State. Included in those documents were some labeled as MOON DUST and the race was on to learn more about it. Cliff Stone, a UFO researcher who lived in Roswell, New Mexico, followed up on this, receiving dozens of MOON DUST documents, as did I.

Cliff Stone who did some of the heavy lifting in
identifying Project MOON DUST.

Stone interested then US Senator Jeff Bingaman in MOON DUST and in his position as a senator, asked the Air Force about MOON DUST. In response to Bingaman’s request, Lieutenant Colonel John E. Madison of the Congressional Inquiry Division, Office of Legislative Liaison, wrote, “There is no agency, nor has there ever been, at Fort Belvoir, Virigina, which would deal with UFOs or have any information about the incident in Roswell. In addition, there is no Project Moon Dust or Operation Blue Fly. Those missions have never existed.”

The trouble with that statement is that it is untrue. Armed with documentation proving that MOON DUST did exist, Bingaman renewed his request. Colonel George M. Mattingley, Jr., wrote, “This is in reply to your inquiry on behalf of Mr. Clifford E. Stone on the accuracy of the information we previously provided you office. Upon further review of the case (which was aided by several attachments to Mr. Stone’s letter), we wish to amend the statements contained in the previous response to your inquiry.”

Or, in other words, the Air Force was caught with its hand in the cookie jar. Mattingley expanded the response. He wrote, “In 1953, during the Korean War, the Air Defense Command organized intelligence teams to deploy, recover and exploit at the scene of downed enemy personnel, equipment and aircraft. The unit with responsibility for maintaining these teams was located at Fort Belvoir, Virgina. As the occasion never arose to use these air defense teams, the mission was assigned to Headquarters, United States Air Force in 1957 and expanded to include the following peace-time functions: a) Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs), to investigate reliably reported UFOs in the United States; b) Project MOON DUST, to recover objects and debris from space vehicles that had survived re-entry from space to earth; c) Operation Blue Fly, to expeditiously retrieve downed Soviet Bloc equipment.”

While this certainly proves a UFO component to MOON DUST, it does seem rather innocuous. Mattingley added, “These teams were eventually disbanded because of a lack of activity; Project MOON DUST teams and Operation BLUE FLY missions were similarly discontinued. The Air Force has no information that any UFOs were ever confirmed down in the United States.”

So, MOON DUST was ended, according to the Air Force spokesman, but that isn’t the truth. According to information received by Robert Todd, in a letter dated July 1, 1987, “…the nickname Project Moon Dust no longer officially exists.” According to Colonel Philip E. Thompson, deputy chief of staff, intelligence, “It [MOON DUST] has been replaced by another name that is not releasable. FTD’s duties are listed in a classified passage in a classified regulation that is being withheld because it is currently and properly classified.”

What we learned on all this is that the end of Project Blue Book in 1969 was not the end in official interest in UFOs. Project MOON DUST can by seen as officially beginning in the fall of 1957, according to Mattingley. We know there are a small number of reports in the Project Blue Book files that were labeled as MOON DUST. Several of them from 1961. The evidence shows, based on the documentation that MOON DUST was in operation into the mid-1980s, and then the name was changed, and the new name was not releasable. This clearly means that MOON DUST was charged with investigation of UFOs after the Air Force claimed that it ended its interest in 1969

We know, based on other documentation, some of it from the Department of State, that MOON DUST did deploy and did recover material. Given the documentation we do have, it would seem that none of these recoveries represented anything of an extraterrestrial nature (or as AARO would label it, “off-world.” Blade Runner anyone?)

The point here is that the ARRO report makes no mention of MOON DUST, or the deployment of MOON DUST teams. This gap in the report tells us that it was not as comprehensive as they would like us to believe. And, if they missed this, what else might they have missed. Of more importantly what might have been hidden from them.

You can learn more about MOON DUST here:

This wasn’t the only project that AARO seemed have missed. There was a plan for something called Horse Fly that was apparently to be based at Wright-Patterson Air Force base. It was designed to provide young officers with experience in investigation and to give them a chance to experience TDY. I have no evidence that it was ever implemented, but it was proposed. You can learn more about it here:

As a side note, General Arthur Exon, when he served as base commander at Wright-Patterson in the 1960s, said that he would periodically receive telephone calls about investigative teams coming in from Washington, D.C. He mentioned just a few of those calls, which also suggests that AARO missed something important. While you can certainly read about Exon in several of my UFO books, you can also learn something more about him and those teams here:

Here’s the real point in all this. AARO alleged that they found no empirical evidence of off-world technologies (yeah, I like that term) but their history missed some examples of investigations. They found Project TWINKLE which, I suppose falls into the camp of an anomalous phenomenon but might have nothing to do with UFOs. The found Project STORK, but seemed to miss the overall importance of that study. And the didn’t find MOON DUST and I’ve written a book about that. Maybe they got the same answer from the Air Force that Senator Bingaman didn’t when he first asked about it and there was no one around to challenge the claim. Had they asked me, I would have been happy to provide the documentation bout MOON DUST.

Anyway, it proves that AARO’s analysis missed a few beats. Is that enough to negate the whole report? Nah. There are some interesting points in it including the validation of the unofficial UFO study beginning in late 1946.

Should we reject it? Nah. It does provide a nice chronology of UFO related government investigations and research. It is something that we, in the UFO can build on.

1 comment:

map any slide said...

Wow! Looks like you have been kept busy since Friday responding the latest report. Great to find you actively blogging again when your uniquely rational approach to the topic of UFOs is needed now more than ever! Hope you are feeling well, Kevin.
This latest report is exactly what we thought it would be. Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick indicated what the conclusion would be months ago in that opinion editorial in Scientific American and on that interview with CNN's Peter Bergen, the same conclusion the Air Force made decades ago about Roswell. Kevin, you already proved that Project Mogul and crash test dummies had little to nothing to do with the real events of whatever happened in New Mexico in 1947. Of course, that was the exact same set of explanations Brian Dunning included in the episode about Roswell on his podcast. A couple of months ago, I decided to visit the podcast's website to find the episodes on the topic of aliens and UFOs, and it was just depressing. Sorry.
Kevin, I mention all this here since you spoke with Brian Dunning in the past. Tonight is the anniversary of the Phoenix Lights which were explained as flares, but could just as easily be explained as airplanes in close formation, the same explanation for the Hudson Valley UFO Flaps. We have been told all sorts of things about the Phoenix Lights. Major Ed Dames told us they were some sort of holographic projection. Bill Burns told us they were some kind of neutral buoyancy lighter than air aircraft. Tom T. Moore told us the lights were a mother ship from Sirius. Years ago, I remember I read something on the internet saying the lights belonged to a hybrid human extraterrestrial race from the future. Seems unlikely for them to be the same as the amphibian people we were told allegedly inhabited a planet in the Sirius system. I do not know if any of that is true or not. Those conflicting explanations cannot all be true, so somebody must be lying. Right? I only mentioned the Phoenix Lights tonight as one example since tonight is the anniversary of the sightings.
Seems like there are two parallel investigations going on in the government's renewed interest in UFOs, one concerned with foreign surveillance and another investigating persistent urban legends. I do not want any more proven false stories spread in media anymore. That is why the world needs you, Kevin. You are one of the few remaining true heroes in ufology today. Thanks!