Xeno's strange news awards blog.
In order to have an “unidentified flying object,” the origins of said object must be unknown. And yet, technically, we know how to identify UFOs – or at least as pop culture has imagined them. They are flying saucers covered with lights that float through the air like spinning plates. Or something. Some people spend their lives looking for one, others fear what would happen if they were abducted by one.
Yet, artist Peter Coffin has built one.
“The question I get excited about is “Well, why did you make the UFO in the first place? Isn’t a UFO something that people don’t make? Isn’t it supposed to be an alien thing?”” Coffin told WIRED. “Does it make it more real or less real at that point because it’s man-made?”
Coffin didn’t build his UFO because he’s particularly interested in alien spacecraft. Instead, his flying saucer, which flew over Station to Station“s Barstow event Tuesday, is meant to be thought-provoking – to make people contemplate why we look to the skies hoping to see UFOs, even if we’d be horrified to actually see one. (You know, because it could mean an invasion.)
Think about it. Some folks, like the team at the SETI Institute, scan the heavens actively seeking out life elsewhere in the universe. Other people would spot a flying saucer and immediately feel terrified by whatever life forms might be inside. Hollywood does the same thing: sometimes intergalactic visitors are E.T., cute and cuddly and obsessed with Reese’s Pieces, while others are predatory monsters looking to drain Earth of its resources or enslave its people. …
Walking onto the build site for the UFO before the test run in Barstow – which was actually conducted in a nearby cemetery – Coffin smiled like a kid when he saw his creation again. “It’s going to be great to see this thing fly.” Folks from Cinimod Studio and Prolyte Group, which helped Coffin design and build the contraption, scurried around affixing lights and GoPro cameras to the 1,800-pound aluminum structure and securing its on-board computer. They make it look easy, but Cinimod Studio founder Dominic Harris noted there wasn’t much prior art for something like this. “This was massively over-engineered,” he said. …
Human built circular winged aircraft have been around for a long time, but that is supposed to be a secret. You are supposed to think “Aliens!” if you see one. I’m not saying they are all manmade… But some are and if you make a good one–Coffin has nothing to worry about, his circular lit platform is held up with wires using an unseen helicopter or balloon–you have an accident and then your design never got of the ground, never actually flew, nothing to see here folks.