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Aldrin’s Aliens: A Deeper Look at One Astronaut’s Famous ‘UFO’ Sighting

Over the weekend, a number of tabloids were discussing a lie detector test which purportedly confirms astronaut Buzz Aldrin saw a UFO on his way to the moon in July 1969.

On Sunday, the UK’s Daily Star reported on the story, borrowing from earlier reports in which the Apollo 11 astronaut addressed something unusual he and fellow astronauts Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins observed while en route to the moon.

“There was something out there that was close enough to be observed, sort of L-shaped,” Aldrin was quoted saying. The story was quickly picked up and re-written by other news outlets, some of which elaborated on sightings of unusual things seen by Aldrin, and other astronauts over the years.

The focus of the story had not been UFOs, however, so much as a study which purportedly “confirmed” what Aldrin and other astronauts had claimed to see. According to The Star, an Albany, Ohio-based company called The Institute of BioAcoustic Biology “carried out complex computer analyses of the astronauts’ voice patterns as they told of their close encounters.”

“Although the technology is still top-secret,” The Star reported, “these studies are claimed to be more reliable than current lie detector tests, and could soon replace those used by the FBI and police.”

Aldrin on the job.

Little else was said about the Albany-based company where the study was carried out, apart from the fact that astronauts Al Worden, as well as Edgar Mitchell and Gordon Cooper, participated. It is noteworthy that Mitchell passed away in February 2016, and Cooper in October 2004, indicating that the lie detector tests in question must have occurred at least 14 years ago; strangely, the tabloids are only now picking up on this story (Update: Newsweek commented on the story shortly after publication of this article, referring to voice recordings which were tested, rather than the actual voices of the astronauts; if nothing else, this would allow for a more recent, posthumous testing of Cooper and Mitchell’s voices to have been possible).

Looking for further details about the Institute of BioAcoustic Biology online first brings up a Facebook page associated with the company, which describes its endeavors as follows:

“The research being conducted by the Institute of BioAcoustic Biology is on the forefront of energy medicine; creating the doorway to our next dimension of health revolution. In addition, the techniques hold promise in answering questions about how our universe was formed, and how our aging and perception of time can be monitored using frequency.” 

Admittedly, I share an interest in subjects like cosmology and human perception of time too, although the wording of the company’s mission statement above seems a little odd (pseudoscientific is another way of putting it). From the Facebook page, a link to the company’s website leads to a page where URL links to everything from aura-color readers, to Mike Adam’s “Health Ranger” website can be found. Needless to say, links and associations like these would be enough to cause many to reconsider whether the studies involving Buzz Aldrin and others were indeed “more reliable than current lie detector test,” as The Star reported, let alone whether they might “soon replace those used by the FBI and police.” It might also explain why there hasn’t been much said about them until now.

Our intent isn’t to pass judgment here, so all discussion of the veracity of “top-secret” studies in acoustic biology aside, Aldrin has claimed many times that he and the Apollo 11 crew observed something while en route to the moon. The question remains as to what, precisely, that was.

In 2012, I wrote about the claims which appeared in writer Jay Barbree’s book Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight, where the author said he was told by a confidential source that what the astronauts saw was sunlight reflecting off “a top-secret spy satellite” as it tumbled out of control.

Buzz Aldrin in space, with the Earth visible in the background.

According to Barbree’s account, “The only UFO Apollo 11’s astronauts were seeing as Neil had suspected had been built here on Earth — one they could not identify… and when I told him, he laughed and said, ‘Well, what the hell, isn’t that what a UFO is — an unidentified flying object?’”

The only issue with this explanation is that apparently neither Barbree, nor his “secret” source, bothered to validate the information. As pointed out to me in 2012 by space journalist and historian Jim Oberg, “Barbree’s story is way off base, he relied on an old memory of Armstrong’s instead of checking with actual mission records that show the encounter was 212,000 miles out, nowhere near the geosynchronous arc (24,000 miles) where the spy satellites lurked. He wanted to tie in an unrelated juicy rumor (a correct one) with his Armstrong biography, and didn’t take basic validation steps.”

In other words, while the spy satellite explanation is both juicier, and seems more down-to-earth than the alien spacecraft theory, it remains equally unlikely on further inquiry.

At the end of the day, we still don’t know exactly what it was Aldrin and his crew observed, although Aldrin himself has suggested in the past that it may have been a discarded rocket panel from their own vessel, and that “it was not an alien.” We also have no confirmation as to whether experimental bio-acoustic technologies are really any better than a standard polygraph test at validating his experiences. Hence, Buzz Aldrin’s UFO encounter remains an interesting case, but certainly not conclusive evidence of aliens.

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Micah Hanks is a writer, podcaster, and researcher whose interests cover a variety of subjects. His areas of focus include history, science, philosophy, current events, cultural studies, technology, unexplained phenomena, and ways the future of humankind may be influenced by science and innovation in the coming decades. In addition to writing, Micah hosts the Middle Theory and Gralien Report podcasts.
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