By Thomas N. Hackney
According to Drake’s equation, there should be something like 10,000 alien civilizations in the
Milky Way galaxy. Okay, the galaxy is a big place but 10,000 civilizations is quite a few. Where
the heck are they? This was the main question radio-astronomers at the Ames Research Center
asked in October of 1992 when it commenced a ten-year, 100-million dollar “targeted search”
Where are they? Well, as it happens, and to put it bluntly, they’re in our face. Of course, you
have to be really looking for them in order to perceive them, but this is about the size of it.
Take this car signal-light, for example. It measures around 5 by 22 inches. Well, it used to
measure that much before it was pulverized by a meteor from space shortly before Ames
commenced the Targeted Search. The meteorite that was recovered measured 4 by 5 by 11
inches according to the Associated Press. Now, this is nearly impossible, and to be perfectly
frank about it, one or the other of these bolts of chrome really should have been made a complete
mess of here.
So it’s a good thing alien-hunters come in all shapes and sizes, because I, for one, was never one
to discriminate based on an alien’s preferred method of communicating. I’ve always thought it
very plausible that if given a choice extra-terrestrials would employ some other method of initial
contact beside radio-waves.
It turns out the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s discovery of America – October 12, 1992 — was
no small milestone. The print and broadcast media had been quite full of it for weeks. But if the
500th Columbus Day somehow weren’t enough to keep ears and eyes glued, NASA’s Ames
Research Center was launching an alien hunt on the same day.
This was about when that very peculiar thing happened, something that stole attention and
airtime from both historic milestones: a fireball descended from the heavens, traveled 420
miles in our atmosphere before a football sized and shaped fragment rear-ended a 1980
Chevrolet in Peekskill, New York. Because the event occurred at the prime-time hour of 8 p.m.
(7:49 to be exact), the Peekskill fireball event was the single most photographed, filmed,
publicized, scientifically studied and resolved event of its kind ever! It was also the most
uncanny, as we will now see.
NASA’s hypothesis on commencing the High Resolution Microwave Survey (the official name
of the alien-hunting project) was quite simple: Extra-terrestrials exist. The proffered solution to
this mystery of mysteries was also quite simple: “Right, Ames! Here’s a small peek at our skill,
baby!” (See photo.) Aren’t they wonderful, though?
There is a not very well-known axiom that says whenever you have aliens taking out car
“signal”-lights, one should always check for messages on the selected car’s license plate. It only
lies an inch or two from the impact. Why, this very handy metal slate might be selected to
convey just about anything, right? Better have a peek.
4GF – 933
Right. Wouldn’t you know. The license plate is a veritable digest of vital and relevant
information. Beginning with the three numbers (933) on the impact-corresponding right side of
the license plate, we can see that the meteor impact occurred three days before the American
Quincentennial and three days before the activation of NASA’s alien-hunting project called the
High Resolution Microwave Survey.
3 x 3 = 9
HRMS X Quincentennial (yields) Peekskill event
Oct. 12 Oct. 12 Oct. 9
We could also notice that Earth’s Goldilocks-friendly distance from the sun is 93 million miles.
In this context we know that the second 3 in 933 would refer to Earth, the third planet from the
sun. 933 thus becomes a kind of identifying “handle” for Earth. “Come in, 933.” But there was
another clear reading of the chalk to be made here. 933 or March 1993 was the month and year
the comet-train Shoemaker-Levy 9 was discovered.
SL9 produced the most energetic event of any kind ever seen by man. Period. The train of
comets culminated sixteen months after its discovery in what was probably the most significant
meteor event in human experience, though few will remember it now. The 21 projectiles, ranging
in size from around a hundred yards to two kilometers in diameter, slammed into the dark side of
Jupiter one by one with the combined force of something like fifty million nuclear bombs.
Hmmm…did it occur to anyone at Ames or JPL for a minute that the Columbian symbolism
might have been considered a bit rich by any aliens that happened to pick up on that symbolism?
Human history not only contends, it pretty much knows, for a fact, that Columbus’s initial
colonization of America was an unmitigated catastrophe for the indigenous peoples of the new
world. European diseases and bloodbaths perpetrated by the Spaniards decimated millions. The
details of these acts of aggression will not be explored any further here for fear of shocking the
Come to think of it, how were our galactic neighbors supposed to let a faux pas like this slide
without interjecting a word or thought or two in edgewise? You can’t let a thing like this happen
without saying something, can you?
This was one reason I knew something earth-shaking was going to take place in March the
following year. Fiery rocks from the sky have always had a penchant for portending major events
to come. With the third month in ’93 only five months away, either something really big was
going to happen in March ‘93 or my whole theory was whack.
When comet Shoemaker-Levy’s discovery was announced in the International Astronautical
Union Circular on March 27 that year (1993), I knew beyond any cloud or shadow of a doubt
that we were being visited by some truly advanced beings! There’s a word for when your extra-
terrestrial intel is good and things work out. That word is bingo!
Travelling at thirty-seven miles a second, fragment “A” exploded at 3:13 pm EST on July 16.
The ejecta plume that resulted reached a height of 3,600 miles above the planet.
The largest comet, fragment “G”, impacted the planet on the 18th, creating a dark spot on Jupiter
over 7,000 miles across. It alone was estimated to have released the equivalent of 6,000,000
megatons of TNT, or six-hundred times the world’s entire nuclear arsenal. Two impacts twelve
hours apart on July 19 created explosions of similar size to Fragment G.
The great comet crash of 1994 was the first time anyone had ever seen a natural object in space,
much less twenty-one of them, crash headlong into another object in space. The twenty-one
“fragments” were designated “A” through “W” (letters “I” and “O” were not used).
Astronomers had from March 24th, 1993 to July 22nd, 1994, to watch the “string of pearls”
perform its final dance. Talk about your sixteen-month drumroll! Talk about twenty-one comets
for 21 anno Domini centuries! (What else?)
As for the first three symbols on the left side of the license plate, “4GF”, well, this is even easier
to translate and figure. NASA’s radio-telescopes were only focusingon “G” and “F” spectral-
type stars! G and F spectral-type stars are the only stars capable of supporting biological life.
The most intriguing figure here, of course, is the single digit, four. Hmm, four GFs. Does this
refer to four intelligent species from four inhabited planets, or to four-digits on the alien hand?
The annual Draconid meteor shower just happened to be at its apex on October 9, 1992, when
the Peekskill fireball went down. Consequently, all the newspapers and TV news shows reported
that the fireball was a Draconid meteor. The most noteworthy fact was the Peekskill fireball was
not a Draconid meteor; it was what astronomers call a sporadic, a meteor not associated with
meteor showers. Think there might be a message in here somewhere?
No one in the press caught on to the fact that Draconids travel from North to South, not South to
North like the Peekskill meteor did. Draconids get their name from an ancient Athenian named
Draco, whose laws and punishments were so lethal that very few of his offenders came out of
their legal ordeals alive. So cruel and merciless was he that he has become what today we call a
So it seems any strong allusions to Draco just wouldn’t do. The message or intelligence we are
happy to glean from this is that our visitors are not “draconian” in nature. Whew! (Hallelujah!)
But knowing our history as they do, it appears that Peekskill’s creator(s) went to some significant
trouble to requisition a ton-sized sporadic that night, one that could be chiseled and honed down
to a desirable size, shape and weight before human eyes over the eastern United States. The
Peekskill meteorite was one of seventy-odd fragments captured in high-resolution photographs
while the fireball was in flight. The pyrotechnic display was at maximum spectacle when the
meteor-train was more or less parallel with Washington D.C. (where else?)
The good news here is they do not appear to behere to suck the life force from our brains, or
some such silly Hollywood thing. There will be no hysteria, which is always good.
No matter where you look at the Peekskill event, you find the articulating coincidences,
improbabilities, and a certain fluency. We’ll now have a look at the fireball’s flight-path.
In 1994 “Nature” magazine published an article called, “The orbit and atmospheric trajectory of
the Peekskill meteorite from video records.” The first sentence of the article reads: “On 9
October 1992, a bright fireball appeared over West Virginia, travelled some 700 km in a
northeasterly direction, and culminated in at least one impact: a 12.4-kg ordinary chondrite was
recovered in Peekskill, New York.”
When you draw that 700-kilometer flight-path on a map starting at Peekskill, what do you find?
You see that Washington D.C. lies right in the middle of the fireball’s flightpath. Hello. But,
what other city on the planet should have had the best and longest possible viewing of the
Peekskill fireball? HRMS was a federally funded project.
When we now locate on the map exactly where the Peekskill fireball began its “700 kilometer”
atmospheric descent, what do we see then? We see it is directly adjacent to the National Radio-
astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Green Bank, West Virginia! Well, where else should the
flightpath have begun? The NRAO was one of the main radio-astronomy facilities tapped by the
Just another coincidence
If there were any serious doubt remaining about these events’ intelligent causation, this doubt
must be strained even further by the meteorite’s choice of victim, unless “beneficiary” is the
word I want. Curiously, 17-year-old Michelle Knapp of Peekskill, New York celebrated her 18th
birthday on October 12, 1992. It was her 12-year-old Chevrolet that was damaged beyond any
reasonable repair. To call this another coincidence is like calling winning the lottery twice in one
day a lucky break. This was no lucky coincidence; no, I’d say it was more a rhetorical question:
“All grown up are we?”
As for birthday presents, Peekskill had to be one of the best. The Peekskill meteorite fetched its
come-of-age recipient a cool $50,000. She sold her over-used Chevy for another $25,000. Nice
Needless to say, experts in the field of extra-terrestrials don’t like my theory very much,
otherwise the reader will have probably heard of this. The evidence is not really scientific, they
The late famed and much revered Dr. Carl Sagan once wrote a reply to me saying that I had
“failed to make the crucial distinction between a priori and a posteriori statistics.” That’s about
all he wrote, cryptically enough. I still don’t know exactly what he was getting at here, but then I
don’t suppose I was really meant to.
Dr. Seth Shostak, the well-known senior SETI astronomer at the SETI Institute has responded to
me, consistently I’m afraid, over the years: “The idea that meteors are signals from
extraterrestrials (in addition to being dumb — why wouldn’t they actually send information?) is
something that both insults the hundreds of academics who study these things (and the many
more who have in the past) and would be regarded as fantasy if you told them. It’s like saying
that cumulus clouds are a message from ET.”
Then there was this from a referee of the “Journal of Scientific Exploration”: “First, the meteor
has to hit somewhere. That it was the fender of a car instead of the roof of a house or the side of
a barn … is not significant.”
Compared to Peekskill and SL9’s dispatchers, the ET investigators at Ames and JPL might as
well have been apes hopping around in their laboratories during those final days before the
commencement of HRMS, nibbling at the curiously round and smooth edges, and so on. This is
not to say that your author questions for a moment their enjoyment in doing all of this. I’m sure
that searching for extra-terrestrial radio-waves is extremely interesting for them. The only
problem is, the more you look for advanced aliens, the more they look back at you.
Dr. James W. Deardorff
An earth science professor who has written on the arcane subject of aliens is Dr. James W.
Deardorff, retired from the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University. In
1986 he wrote a paper called “ET Strategy For Earth”, which was published in the Quarterly
Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society. In it he describes what now seems remarkably
familiar. I quote from that article now:
“One possibility, given that the extraterrestrial race had somehow studied human society for a
considerable time period without our knowledge, and understood human psychology well,
is as follows. The extraterrestrial communications would be emplaced in a manner easily
accessible to the general public but in a form not acceptable or believable to scientists.
Government agencies, upon advice from scientists, would then take no actions, and the embargo
would more or less remain intact. Awareness of what was taking place would then proceed very
gradually—no faster than humankind in general was inherently prepared to accept the extra-
This might explain why the mainstream media and the government has not featured any of the
information and conclusion advanced in this article. But, wait, it gets even better.
“The messages might contain vague descriptions of extraterrestrial technological achievements
that would read like magic or science fiction. They might even contain a few absurdities
purposely added; these along with the absence of any detailed instructions on how to effect any
technological breakthrough, would help ensure that any scientists who happened to learn about
the communications would regard them as hoaxes or fiction.“
How unsettlingly accurate Professor Deardorff’s reasoning turns out to be! It’s almost as if ET
read from this very script when deciding how to respond to NASA-Ames and JPL’s little
publicity stunt. To its credit, the Ames Research Center sent me his article in response to my
informing the center of my observations concerning Peekskill and Shoemaker-Levy 9. This was
the last I ever heard from the NASA agency.
Two many asteroids!
In 2013, the world saw two asteroids up close and
quite personal — in one day! Say, there’s a coincidence involving meteors for you.
Shortly after dawn on February 15, 2013, a 60-foot asteroid with an estimated initial mass of
12,000–13,000 metric tons did in fact explode flash-bang style about 18.4 miles above the
Russian city of Chelyabinsk. Even so, some 7,200 buildings were damaged by the shockwave.
The energy released by the explosion was said to be equivalent to around 500 kilotons of
TNT, or 20-30 times larger than the atomic bomb detonated at Hiroshima.
Out of the darkness that very same day came asteroid “2012 DA14”, a near-earth asteroid
approximately 150 feet in diameter. It was the largest earth-crossing asteroid to swipe at
Earth’s atmosphere that astronomers have ever known about in advance. For its record-breaking
part, the Chelyabinsk asteroid was the largest natural object to enter Earth’s atmosphere since
the famous Tunguska bolide of 1908, which flattened a remote 770 square mile forest area in
The Chelyabinsk bolide was the only meteor confirmed to have resulted in a large number of
injuries. This made it a bit more interesting and dramatic than any previous meteor event.
More than two thousand Russians were injured after the shock wave from the explosion
shattered many of the windows in the Russian city. Around 1,500 of them applied for medical
assistance. Fifty-two were hospitalized. Although a few came very close to death, nobody died.
Talk about in your face.
If the Chelyabinsk bolide had exploded just a few seconds after it did, it would have easily killed
a million denizens of the Russian city. Indeed, the bolide seems to have exploded with very
precise timing. How else could thousands have been slightly to seriously injured without a
single death being caused? Luck? No, it was skill.
Astronomers believe there are approximately 500,000 of these asteroids and that less than one
percent of them have been discovered. Perhaps this was the titan’s poignant way of
informing us about the facts of bio-galactic life, pointing out that you can never be too sure about
knowing where every last meteor and asteroid is, not unless you’re very vigilant. Even then,
one might come out of the deep at any time and mess you up…by way of a how do you do.
The embargo once placed against our species has now become a slightly leaky one. (We should
be so lucky.) Perhaps this has all been part of somegetting-to-know-you protocol. Or maybe we
should think of it as a million intelligent voices – not even one of them human – announcing in
unison, “Yes, of course we exist; what did you think?”
About the Author:
Born in Salzburg Austria, Thomas Hackney grew up in Washington D.C. and New York City. After earning a B.A. degree in psychology. Tom has worked in publishing and public relations. Over the years, he has maintained an avid interest in both extra-terrestrial possibility and science fiction, and has published in these areas since the 1980s. He is the author of THE ETI GRAIL (Balboa Press, 2012). Tom currently resides in an earth-sheltered home in West Virginia.