A Soviet 'Close Encounter'
by Don Ecker
magazine, Vol. 7, No. 1 1992
above print of an infrared photograph of the Martian
moonlet Phobos accompanied by an alleged UFO is being
seen for the first time in a U.S. publication.
photo was first made public on the Nov. 22, 1991 show
"Larry King Live," when UFO
Research Director Don Ecker appeared on the show with
author Keith Thompson.
story of this photo began in July of 1988, when the
Soviet Union launched two unmanned probes to rendezvous
with the planet Mars and one of its two moons, Phobos.
Not long after launch, the first spacecraft Phobos I
suffered a malfunction, which the Russians blamed on
a combination of both human and computer failure.
second craft, Phobos II, reached Mars in January, 1989.
Unknown to most citizens in the United States, NASA
was a part of this mission; Phobos II had several American
and European science packages on board, along with a
very powerful Soviet laser. The laser was to be fired
at the moonlet Phobos, and the resultant gases analyzed
by onboard equipment. All this activity was to assist
with future missions to Mars, and the grand finale was
hoped to be a joint U.S./U.S.S.R. mission to Mars.
went well until March 25, 1989. Later, in the British
publication Nature, the Soviets discussed
their Phobos mission, but only devoted a couple of paragraphs
to why it failed. According to the Russians, "something"
turned the Soviet probe Phobos II into a "spinner,"
and the unmanned craft then disappeared.
Sitchin in his book Genesis Revisited,
the rumor going around was that the Soviet spacecraft
had encountered a huge "UFO" while in Mars
orbit. In his book, Sitchin included a photo that the
Russians released, which showed a large ellipse shadow
reflected off Mars. Sitchin claims that the few photos
Phobos sent back prior to disappearing were never released
by the Russians, and that they treated the entire matter
as "above top secret."
of large ellipse shadow
reflected off Mars surface
Marina Popovich, the former Soviet test pilot who has
made several trips to the U.S. to share her views on
the UFO issue, claimed to UFO in May of
1991 that the incident was discussed by Soviet Gen.
Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and President Bush at the
photo was given to Dr. Popovich, she says, by Soviet
Cosmonaut Leonov in June of 1989, and was reportedly
taken by the infrared cameras on board the ill-fated
Soviet craft. According to the Russians, the long ellipsoid-shaped
object seen just outside of Phobos was 25 kilometers
(approximately 15½ miles) in length.
it a real UFO? Was it of extraterrestrial origin? The
jury is still out on those questions. But if the photo
is not a fabrication, it can be safely assumed the object
was not built on earth with those dimensions. The photo
certainly qualifies as another piece of the puzzle,
and if real, proof that any cover-up of the UFO presence
cannot continue indefinitely.