Are aliens out there? Are they watching us? Depending on your outlook on the universe, you either think the possibility is there or that believers in life on other planets are nuts. In any case, when you think of the typical conspiracy theorist who believes in aliens and secret government pacts with said aliens, who do you picture?
For me, I certainly don't picture an astronaut. But former astronaut Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon, believed in extraterrestrials and was quite outspoken on the topic before his death earlier this year.
Among Mitchell's stories is the claim that aliens visited the United States and Soviet Union during the start of the Cold War. Their intervention, he said, is responsible for the prevention of nuclear war between the two superpowers.
In the U.S. specifically, they visited the White Sands Proving Ground in the New Mexico desert where the first nuclear devices were tested.
"I have spoken to many Air Force officers who worked at these silos during the Cold War," said Mitchell. "They told me UFOs were frequently seen overhead and often disabled their missiles. Other officers from bases on the Pacific coast told me their [test] missiles were frequently shot down by alien spacecraft."
Of course, that isn't the only alien conspiracy that Mitchell talked about. He was also a firm believer that aliens landed in Roswell, New Mexico, back in 1947. He believed that government officials made contact with these beings and even captured a few alive.
Of course, as you might imagine, NASA is no longer a big fan of Mitchell. In 2008, the association released the following statement: "NASA does not track UFOs. NASA is not involved in any sort of coverup about alien life on this planet or anywhere in the universe. Dr. Mitchell is a great American, but we do not share his opinions on this issue.”
At this point, it's hard to tell if what Mitchell said had any basis in reality or if he was just being senile in his old age. Either way, I think it's still worth paying attention to given his background.