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From 1947 to 1949, hundreds of strange green fireballs were observed in New Mexico over vital security installations. Where these meteors? Dr. Lincoln LaPaz, top scientist on meteors, did not think so. The military at Roswell, Sandia, Los Alamos and other sensitive installations were extremely concerned as they had no explanation. Were they revolutionary technology by the soviets or the US? We now know they were not.

This is one of the 24 pages of one of the many formerly secret official documents on this issue. These pages are the minutes of an important conference on the issue held at Los Alamos on February 16, 1949. Representatives of the Army, the FBI, the Air Force and scientists joined together. Dr. La Paz spent two years chasing the green fireballs and explains the issues. Dr. Edward Teller, one of the fathers of the atomic bomb, asks questions.

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The document:

The transcript:

burner. I checked with Dr. Regener on that and asked him if an alloy had been used, say, copper beryllium, if there would be any change in that hue, and he has assured me there would not. He said it would still give approximate appearance of beryllium copper... you will find in probably 1350 of the 1500 only the merest trace of copper occurrence. There are a few meteorites like ... in South Dakota, where little veins of copper have been found, making up possibly .4 to 1%.

Dr. Bradbury: Is this true of all meteorites?

Dr. LaPaz: It's true in any category. Even in the irons, the presence of copper is very hard to detect, very little (ditch digger). I don't know whether you gentlemen could suggest an easy way to obtain green fireball spectra of not.

Dr. Teller: What is the geographical solution of this?

Dr. LaPaz: Another man would probably answer the best of all.

(Looked at more maps with some talk that was not audible.)

Mr. Hoyt confirmed the green hue of the green fireball he had seen on the night of December 30, 1948. (Record dead for minute or two)

Mr. Hoyt: I would have said approximately as far above the mountain as the floor of the valley was below the top of the mountain. I felt that would give me somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000 feet or thereabouts. It was about 5 minutes to 6 on my way up here. I have a feeling that it had a downward path. I mean it was going South.

Dr. LaPaz: But it was not strictly horizontal?

Mr. Hoyt: That's what I would have said, but remember that the ridge would give you the sensation that it was taking a downward path. Duration - at the time I would say it was approximately 3 seconds.

Comdr Mandelkorn: How does the calculated velocity of these objects compare with the known velocity of meteorites?

Dr. LaPaz: Apparently very much lower; that is, more than the ordinarily observed meteorite falls. First, to observe in the cast of an actual meteorite fall you have a relation of the velocity from the auricle of ... atmosphere down to the impact velocity which may be very ... but it isn't fair to compare the velocity of the green fireballs to the impact velocity of ... (ditch digger and everybody talking at once) ... Not with the trajectory velocity of the meteorites which is the same as the velocity of the fragments that fall from the meteorite. After a meteorite ... the fragments fall about like a bomb. Their resistance just about balances out the ... and as a result, they come down with about the velocity of a falling bomb, a little less because they do not have the same ballistic coefficient.

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This page was last updated on November 19, 2005