It’s November 2018, and NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) is ready to go live. But rather than showing the galaxies or nebulas that typically wow stargazing enthusiasts around the world, this image features something almost too incredible to believe: the mangled remains of a spacecraft that crash-landed on Earth.
Ever since mysterious flaming discs were apparently spotted in the skies above ancient Egypt, humankind has been recording cases of unidentified flying objects. Down through the centuries, strange aerial phenomena have been sighted across the globe – from the ominous shapes that loomed over Nuremberg in 1561 to the mysterious “foo fighters” reported by pilots during World War II.
As the 1940s drew to a close, the idea of the flying saucer had become firmly implanted in the popular imagination. And as the shadow of the Cold War fell across America, such unidentified objects began to be considered a potential threat to security. So it was that in 1952 the United States Air Force launched Project Blue Book – an official investigation into the strange sightings.