From: "Jan Aldrich" <>
To: NICAP Archives
Date: Sun, 8 Jul 2012 15:46:43 -0400
Subject: Re:  Mystery satellites & LaPaz

Mystery Satellites is very complicated and somewhat a comedy of errors.

1. Pre-1947 a number of amateurs did claim finding satellites or other objects at great distances above the earth. Most such reports were in minor astronomical journals and considered with great skepticism. One of the Condon Committee (Thayer?) wrote about one such to McD.

2. Tombaugh the discoverer of Pluto did from a very early time think that there might be natural satellite around the earth. He was supported by some professional astronomers officially and LaPaz unofficially.

3. Tombaugh received a grant from the Army Ordinance Department for such a search..

4. Tombaugh talked to LaPaz students about such a search as part of lecture.

5. Uncharacteristically, LaPaz let slip comments to the press about the search. Some of which were picked up by Aviation Week ("Aviation Leak") which at the time was mostly a professional magazine not on the newsstand. Stringfield was even sure what the magazine was unlike an informant told him about it. He does start to talk about a theme which will be repeated a number of times: that we should know about natural satellites and where they are so we won't hit them with one of rockets or satellite in the future like the IGY..

6. Tombaugh rebuked LaPaz (a former employer) for his slip. He writes a number of angry letters to colleagues. He assures his sponsor that he had nothing to do with story.

7. LaPaz wrote to Aviation Week and colleagues to dispute the story.

Now we get to interesting stuff:

8. LTC John O'Mara in telephone interviews does supposedly confirm the LaPaz rumor to Stringfield and his informant. Among the other things O'Mara says was that Keyhoe's book was not based on USAF released reports, they were getting 700 reports a week. So O'Mara is talking out of turn, but some of the things he is saying don't add up.

9. O'Mara writes to Stringfield and Keyhoe retracting most of his revelations. According to Stringfield the retraction is demanded by the Pentagon, but the O'Mara letters are not reproduced.

10. Tombaugh's search narrows down to the equatorial plane, and he ships assistance to Ecuador to make 1000s photographs. No satellites are detected. A search of near lunar space fails to find any lunar satellites.