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Forty-five years ago this month — as everybody here knows — the U.S. Air Force managed to slither out of UFO research by shutting down Project Blue Book. It did so by hiring the University of Colorado to make its UFO stuff go away, and UC project director Edward Condon was the man who could deliver the goods. Less than a year into his panel's review, Condon declared the subject was “nonsense,” and added, “but I’m not supposed to reach that conclusion for another year.” The USAF got its $313,000 worth when Condon officially announced UFOs were a massive waste of time and beneath the dignity of serious scientists.

But he couldn’t just stop there. In the condescending “Conclusions and Recommendations” portion of the report, Condon actually made a play at equanimity: “We think that all of the agencies of the federal government, and the private foundations as well, ought to be willing to consider UFO research proposals along with the others submitted to them on an opend-minded, unprejudiced basis. While we do not think at present that anything worthwhile is likely to come of such research, each individual case ought to be carefully considered on its own merits.”

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