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Chapter 4: How to Build a Flying Saucer

At the end of the nineteenth century, the most distinguished scientists and engineers declared that no known combination of materials and locomotion could be assembled into a practical flying machine. Fifty years later another generation of distinguished scientists and engineers declared that it was technologically infeasible for a rocket ship to reach the moon. Nevertheless, men were getting off the ground and out into space even while these words were uttered. In the last half of the twentieth century, when technology is advancing faster than reports can reach the public, it is fashionable to hold the pronouncements of yesteryear's experts to ridicule. But there is something anomalous about the consistency with which eminent authorities fail to recognize technological advances even while they are being made. You must bear in mind that these men are not given to making public pronouncements in haste; their conclusions are reached after exhaustive calculations and proofs, and they are better informed about their subject than anyone else alive. But by and large, revolutionary advances in technology do not contribute to the advantage of established experts, so they tend to believe that the challenge cannot possibly be realized. The UFO phenomenon is a perversity in the annals of revolutionary engineering. On the one hand, public authorities deny the existence of flying saucers and prove their existence to be impossible. This is just as we should expect from established experts. But on the other hand, people who believe that flying saucers exist have produced findings that only tend to prove UFOs are technologically infeasible by any known combination of materials and means of locomotion. There is reason to suspect that the people who believe in the existence of UFOs do not want to discover the technology because it is not in the true believer's self-interest that a flying saucer be within the capability of human engineering. The true believer wants to believe that UFOs are of extraterrestrial origin because he is seeking some kind of relief from debt and taxes by an alliance with superhuman powers. If anyone with mechanical ability really wanted to know how a saucer flies, he would study the testimonies to learn the flight characteristics of the craft, and then ask, `How can we do this saucer thing?' This is probably what Wernher Von Braun said when he decided that it was in his self-interest to launch man into space: `How can we get this bird off the ground, and keep it off?'
Chapter 4: How to Build a Flying Saucer


flyingdisc, spaceship, spacecraft