Gordon Cooper

Is there life beyond Planet Earth? For one man who got close enough to touch the stars, the answer is yes.
    Gordon Cooper, one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts, holds strong views on the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence, claiming there is a distinct possibility that we have already had contact.
     Astronaut Gordon Cooper joined us today in an online chat. The transcript is below.


Moderator at 1:58pm ET
Welcome Gordon Cooper.
Moderator at 1:59pm ET
J. David asks: Mr. Cooper, Why haven't the other astronauts been as candid in their public statements about UFO's, as you have? Are they hiding behind the USAF "no tell" policy? Why so, if you have not ?
Gordon Cooper at 1:59pm ET
I don't think they're hiding behind anything. I think the only one of the other two that saw anything was Deke Slayton, and none of the others saw anything to comment on.
Freediver from gcsd.harris.com at 2:00pm ET
If alien life has already visited this planet how would we know?
Gordon Cooper at 2:00pm ET
In my opinion, it's rather difficult to know. If they don't want us to know, I'm sure they wouldn't know.
Moderator at 2:01pm ET
When did you first begin to believe that the Earth was being visited by extraterrestrials?
Gordon Cooper at 2:01pm ET
I supposed when I was a kid and reading Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon.
D. Scott from 5-83-206.a.jet.net at 2:02pm ET
Were there any experiences that you had while in space that you couldn't find a logical explanation for?
Gordon Cooper at 2:02pm ET
There were none at all that were connected with UFOs, and I certainly was looking.
Larry from rasserver.net at 2:03pm ET
Given the large distances in the universe may we never contact ET life because of this reality?
Gordon Cooper at 2:03pm ET
Hopefully, one of these days, we will have better propulsion systems that will allow us to travel at greater speeds, and these distances will be much less.
Brian Grace at 2:04pm ET
If the government is, in fact, covering up their knowledge of other intelligent life, then they will eventually have to admit it to the public. When, if ever, is the "right time" to tell the people the truth?
Gordon Cooper at 2:04pm ET
I'm certainly not the one to answer that question, because I certainly don't understand so well the government's philosophy on extraterrestrials.
Jeff from moen.com at 2:05pm ET
Is it true that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin observed UFO's on the surface of the Moon during their lunar excursions? From the audio clips I've listened to, it appears that NASA had instructed Neil and Buzz to turn away and not "engage" or investigate any further during their moon walk.
Gordon Cooper at 2:05pm ET
I am totally unaware of any contact they had at that time. I think that was one that was made up by some of the tabloids.
David Bychkov, Alexandria, VA from rasserver.net at 2:05pm ET
Dear Sir, During the Cold War, the Soviet Union did quite a bit of research on this subject. Is it possible that the answers to some of your questions may lie somewhere in Kremlin archives?
Gordon Cooper at 2:06pm ET
Yes, I know that they had done a lot of work on the subject, and there is a possibility that they may have some answers.
Moderator at 2:06pm ET
Do other astronauts or Air Force pilots share your belief?
Gordon Cooper at 2:06pm ET
Yes, some do, some do and some don't. Those that have seen various things do, and some that have never seen anything probably don't.
Moderator at 2:07pm ET
In your book you talk about the photos of the UFO that you sent off to Washington D.C. and never saw again. What do the men who took and developed the pictures have to say. Why haven't they come forward?
Gordon Cooper at 2:07pm ET
I don't know. That's a good question.
Larry at 2:07pm ET
Do you think that the government is covering up ET contact?
Gordon Cooper at 2:08pm ET
I have no way of knowing whether the government is or isn't, because if they don't want to tell us, we have to assume that, we have no way of affirming whether they are covering it up or not.
Newt Shearer at 2:09pm ET
John Glenn stated that during his first orbit he saw "fireflies" dancing around his capsule. What other odd things have happened to astronauts while in space?
Gordon Cooper at 2:09pm ET
Various odd things happened, because space is totally unknown; there's still a lot of unknown there.
Moderator at 2:10pm ET
Chris Goess asks: Mr. Cooper, Does God fit anywhere in the belief in UFOs and ETs?
Gordon Cooper at 2:10pm ET
I think God sits wherever, whatever it is, God sits in the middle of it.
B. Mutchler at 2:11pm ET
What are your thoughts on the fact that the UFO phenomenon has only occurred during the 20th Century? If intelligent ET life exists that are thousands if not millions of years more advanced then us, why do we suddenly have and explosion of sightings that coincide with popular culture and fear?
Gordon Cooper at 2:11pm ET
How do we know that some of the archangel appearances that occur in the Bible aren't extraterrestrial?
Patti Robertson at 2:12pm ET
What is your theory for the faces on Mars? - thank you.
Gordon Cooper at 2:12pm ET
In my personal opinion, I think they are natural phenomenon, but I don't have any way of knowing one way or the other.
dkwas at 2:12pm ET
Mr. Cooper,
What's your opinion of John Glenn's recent return to space?
Gordon Cooper at 2:13pm ET
I think it was excellent that John got a chance to go up again and do some research on the ageing human body. I think that's going to be very beneficial. Plus, I think John did an excellent job for NASA and for this country on public relations.
Moderator at 2:13pm ET
How difficult was it for you to make public your views on this topic? Did it have a negative effect on your standing in NASA or within the military?
Gordon Cooper at 2:13pm ET
To my knowledge, it never had any effect at all.
Emanuel Burgos at 2:14pm ET
Why do you believe there is other life in the universe? Indeed, according to that new book "Rare Earth", some scientists believe that the conditions (such as being located at the right distance from the sun, have the right size moon at the right location from the earth, the right type of sun, the right size solar system, the right location within our galaxy, etc.) for life on earth were so extremely rare, that it is highly unlikely for life to exist elsewhere. How would you respond to that challenge?
Gordon Cooper at 2:15pm ET
Well, if you look at just our solar system, it's certainly not encouraging - but if you look at the hundreds of thousands of other galaxies, there are, about 400,000 potential candidates with atmospheres similar to Earth and temperatures acceptable for life.
jim jenkins at 2:15pm ET
Of all of the ufo related sightings and experiences you have seen and heard through the years, is there one that stands out as being the most believable?
Gordon Cooper at 2:16pm ET
I think there are a number of them that are very believable. I would have a hard time deciding on any particular one.
P. Casimir from aal.org at 2:16pm ET
How do you think first contact will be made between intelligent life in different solar systems?
Gordon Cooper at 2:17pm ET
I don't know. I'm not really sure that we have not already had first contact.
Drew from hum.albany.edu at 2:17pm ET
Do you believe there is any validity to the claims that a UFO crashed in Roswell, NM?
Gordon Cooper at 2:17pm ET
Roswell is a very interesting situation. I'm very torn on what really happened in Roswell. So many stories have been made up, you don't really know what to believe on it.
Judicial at 2:19pm ET
Is it possible for extraterrestrial life to travel to Earth, considering the incredible speeds needed to reach different destinations in space?
Gordon Cooper at 2:19pm ET
Yes, I believe ETs have those propulsion systems at several times the speed of light, and at that kind of speed you can go great distances. I don't think we're all that far from being able to build something like that ourselves.
Kenny Ater / Ohio from proxy.aol.com at 2:19pm ET
Have you investigated any alien abduction stories, and if so, have you found them plausible?
Gordon Cooper at 2:20pm ET
I've never personally investigated any myself. I know a few people that have been investigators on them, and certainly one or two that I've heard about sound very plausible.
jdepinto at 2:20pm ET
With the turmoil present in the world today (such as in the Middle East) why would beings from another planet want to visit here?
Gordon Cooper at 2:21pm ET
I think that's a very good question! It may well be that the reason that extraterrestrials have not made themselves very visible is that we have not learned how to control our world very well. We still haven't learned how to have peace; how to stop warfare.
Cheryl at 2:21pm ET
Do you believe the public has the right to know if there has been contact or would that just cause fear and hysteria?
Gordon Cooper at 2:22pm ET
I think that we're fully able to handle the news, and I think the public really has the right to know if any contact has been made.
Kenny Ater / Ohio from proxy.aol.com at 2:22pm ET
Have you ever requested permission to view Area 51? If not, do you have any thoughts about that area, assuming you are at liberty to speak about it?
Gordon Cooper at 2:22pm ET
First of all, I don't really know anything about area 51 myself. I've never requested to visit it and, as a result, I really don't know anything about it.
Joe Walker at 2:23pm ET
If there have been visits, and if visits are still occurring. Why haven't radio observatories like Aricebo [Puerto Rico] picked up anything?
Gordon Cooper at 2:24pm ET
That's a good question. I think there have certainly been reports from various observatories on sightings. As far as radio signals, like those picked up by SETI, I don't know, maybe they were on the wrong frequency. Maybe they were not transmitting on an audible frequency.
Paul Dickson at 2:24pm ET
Do you believe aliens are among us now?
Gordon Cooper at 2:25pm ET
Yes, I believe aliens are among us now.
UFO Hunter at 2:25pm ET
What are your views on crop circles that occur in England? Are they a message from aliens to us humans? If so, how do we reply back?
Gordon Cooper at 2:26pm ET
I know the crop circle situation, and I don't really know what to make of them. I think some of them are real, and some are made by humans. Humans can do something really similar. In my personal opinion, based on no facts, I believe some of them are for real, and some of them are fakes.
Tom at 2:26pm ET
Do you think the pyramids are an example of ET's visiting the earth?
Gordon Cooper at 2:26pm ET
I think the pyramids in Egypt and some in Central America are examples of a lot of very, very advanced technology, and I think it's very likely that that technology came from extraterrestrial sources.
Steve Anderson at 2:27pm ET
What do you think is the best means of searching for other civilizations? SETI at home? Optical SETI? or other methods?
Gordon Cooper at 2:28pm ET
I really don't have too much opinion on that. I think that if we learn to become peaceful in this world, and stop all the warfare among nations, it might be a good start to encourage appearances by extraterrestrials.
Vinson Tan at 2:28pm ET
Do you suppose part of our civilization's technology is possibly derived from aliens or UFOs? And if so do you think they were given to us or they were stumbled upon?
Gordon Cooper at 2:29pm ET
I think both. I think some were stumbled on by humans, and some were given to us. If we look at Nikola Tesla, who was a genius about various power systems, one wonders if he was not given technology by extraterrestrials, or was perhaps an alien himself.
minuteman at 2:29pm ET
Why do you think NASA has been so silent on the subject?
Gordon Cooper at 2:30pm ET
I think NASA is a very conservative organization. Until something comes along that is very obvious and very loud and clear, I think they're just going to sit back and wait.
steve w at 2:31pm ET
Short of an alien craft crashing on the White House lawn, what kind of tangible evidence do you feel it will take for the US government to acknowledge that we have been, and continue to be, visited by ETs?
Gordon Cooper at 2:32pm ET
Well, there certainly was one example many years ago when quite a number of sightings were seen around Washington, D.C., and they still steer clear of the whole subject, so I'm not sure what exactly it would take, short of a crash on the White House lawn.
    It certainly would take some sort of appearance by an extraterrestrial vehicle in some public place for the government to step in and acknowledge the situation.
Steve McCullough at 2:33pm ET
What do you think we will find when we send a manned mission to Mars?
Gordon Cooper at 2:33pm ET
I certainly hope that our manned mission to Mars will bring home some evidence of people who lived on Mars at some time past, if not presently. It would be very interesting to note remains of some civilization there.
Steve G. from z064001220.bna-tn.dsl.cnc.net at 2:33pm ET
Do you think we will see travel outside our solar system in our lifetime?
Gordon Cooper at 2:34pm ET
Yes, I think we probably will. I think we're getting closer and closer, and I think we have been bringing commercial projects to work with government projects, and that will speed up the whole development.
sandy from proxy.aol.com at 2:34pm ET
What was the most difficult task you ever had to accomplish as an astronaut?
Gordon Cooper at 2:35pm ET
That's a good question. I had a lot, and everyone who's ever made a space flight has had a lot. Space flight itself is full of hard tasks to do.
Justin from buzzsaw.com at 2:35pm ET
With your knowledge about NASA/the military, how close do you think we are to engineering gravity?
Gordon Cooper at 2:36pm ET
I think we're fairly close to engineering an antigravity propulsion system, and in so doing, we may be lucky enough to create artificial gravity within the spacecraft.
jim jenkins at 2:36pm ET
What technology looks to be the most promising, in your view, for interstellar travel.
Gordon Cooper at 2:36pm ET
I think the most promising developments are in the field of electromagnetic propulsion systems. If you're using electromagnetic propulsion systems, then you can utilize subatomic particles out in space, like neutrinos, as fuel.
Mark from touchpc.com at 2:37pm ET
Do you think we humans evolved from organisms on earth, or rather that we are ETs ourselves?
Gordon Cooper at 2:38pm ET
I'm inclined to swing in the direction that God created humans and we were, are, evolving. I'm certainly not saying that even reading the Bible we can deduce that we evolved, or that God created man.
    I swing more in the direction that God created man directly, whether on this earth or on some other planet.
michael from 244.194.205.worlddata.com at 2:38pm ET
What do you think a reader will get out of reading your book?
Gordon Cooper at 2:39pm ET
Maybe a little information about the space program in the early days. My book is sort of an attempt to cover different eras in my life and how I developed into what I have become. Influences that family, friends and aviation had on my life.
Scott W. at 2:39pm ET
Mr. Cooper would you be interested in taking another flight to outer space?
Gordon Cooper at 2:39pm ET
Yes, I would. I particularly would like to be in command of the first Mars mission.
Nathan at 2:40pm ET
So you are a scientist and a believer in God?
Gordon Cooper at 2:40pm ET
I don't think I'm as much a scientist as an engineer, but I certainly believe in God, yes.
Moderator at 2:41pm ET
Colonel Cooper do you have any final thoughts to share?
Gordon Cooper at 2:42pm ET
I have not been lucky enough in my life to really have a direct contact with an extraterrestrial vehicle landing in my backyard. I would be very happy to have that happen, but I believe that there are 400,000 planets that have atmospheres similar to ours.
    I don't believe God would leave them all unpopulated. I do believe there are other civilizations that have the ability to travel around the Universe.

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