Oct 25, 2021 I Nick Redfern

Project Moon Dust: The Top Secret Team That Retrieved Crashed UFOs? Or Russian Rockets?

For decades there have been numerous alleged cases of crashed UFOs. Of course, the most well-known is the Roswell, New Mexico affair of 1947. There's the Aztec, New Mexico, case of March 1948. The Spitsbergen crash of 1952, and many more. But, the important thing is this: did these events actually involve real crashed craft from other worlds? Or, did those crashes actually involve top secret vehicles of foreign nations? That question brings us to a certain program of the U.S. Air Force. Over the years, ufologists have given a great deal of attention to a certain U.S. military program called Project Moon Dust (also referred to as Moondust). Its origins date back to the 1950s. The reason why so much attention has been placed upon Project Moon Dust is because, some ufologists say, of its potential connection to the issue of alleged crashed and recovered UFOs held by elements of the U.S. military – crash-retrievals, or C/R’s, as they are generally known. Was Moon Dust the main operation when it came to secretly locating, and also recovering, crashed, alien ships and their crews? Or, was all of this aimed at grabbing wrecked Russian technology that fell out of the skies?

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(Nick Redfern) Declassified Moon Dust Files I got from the U.S. National Archives in 1991

Back in 1979, the late UFO researcher Robert Todd obtained a 1961 Air Force Intelligence document (declassified under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act) which offered intriguing data on the Moon Dust program – and on certain related operations, too. Dated November 3, 1961, the document states in part: "In addition to their staff duty assignments, intelligence team personnel have peacetime duty functions in support of such Air Force projects as Moondust, Bluefly, and UFO, and other AFCIN directed quick reaction projects which require intelligence team operational capabilities…"

The document continues: "Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO): Headquarters USAF has established a program for investigation of reliably reported unidentified flying objects within the United States. AFR 200-2 delineates 1127th collection responsibilities…Blue Fly: Operation Blue Fly has been established to facilitate expeditious delivery to FTD of Moon Dust or other items of great technical intelligence interest. AFCIN SOP for Blue Fly operations, February 1960, provides for 1127th participation. Moon Dust: As a specialized aspect of its over-all material exploitation program, Headquarters USAF has established Project Moon Dust to locate, recover and deliver descended foreign space vehicles. ICGL #4, 25 April 1961, delineates collection responsibilities."

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(Nick Redfern) Check out all that old microfiche!

That Moon Dust undertook some intriguing operations is not in any doubt. Hundreds of Moon Dust files are now in the public domain – all thanks to the provisions of the FOIA. The records tell of the recoveries – by U.S. intelligence - of Soviet technology, parts of Chinese aircraft, and portions of burned-up satellites. But what about UFOs? The November 3, 1961 document refers to both UFOs and Project Moon Dust. The Air Force’s very own words make the connection. But, when the Air Force referenced UFOs, what, exactly, were they talking and thinking about? That is, perhaps, the most important aspect of this intriguing story.

For many people within Ufology, the term "UFO" firmly equates to "alien spacecraft." But, does it really? No, it does not. A UFO is an unknown object flying in the sky – and that is all it is, until it’s identified. I found many such examples in the Moon Dust files where the word "UFO" was used, but where the data was clearly focused on Russian satellites, rocket-boosters and so on. In some cases, members of the public perceived the Earth-bound, falling remains of those satellites and rocket-boosters as UFOs, when they were seen hurtling through the Earth’s atmosphere. Studying those reports from members of the public, who thought they had seen UFOs, actually helped U.S. military intelligence to find and recover crashed and wrecked Russian technology.  Sometimes they were successful. On other occasions, they drew a blank. Maybe Project Moon Dust operatives did recover alien spacecraft on one or more occasions. But, there is no evidence of that so far. There is, however, a great deal of data that shows Moon Dust personnel were using the word "UFO" for something akin to "probable decaying Soviet satellite" and not "aliens from another world."

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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