The U.S. Navy's UFO Patents
August 5, 2019 4:11 PM   Subscribe

The United States Navy has filed a series of patents for technologies that have a whiff of the science fictional about them. These include room temperature superconductors, a high power electromagnetic field generator, and a Hybrid Underwater Aerospace Craft craft that uses an "inertial mass reduction device" for locomotion. All of the patents are written by Salvatore Cezar Pais, who might be a real person. Does this have anything to do with the Navy's UFO sightings? (previously) (previously) posted by chrchr (64 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
!!!
posted by y2karl at 4:27 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


When I went work in 1992 for the Contracts/Billing department at an Environmental Remediation company, we had one open contract with the D.O.D. that was so secret, everyone involved with it, including the guy who made up the Invoices, was on-base and off-the-books. They'd send us a one page invoice each month with just the grand total and the signature of a General approving it to pass on to the Pentagon. We all assumed it was for Area 51, and the fact that it appeared open-ended (starting several years earlier and then just stopping in 1999) suggested that there was quite an Alien mess to clean up. It was zero work but helped to keep the job interesting. (And if it really mattered what we talked about it, well, I wouldn't be here today.)
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:42 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


If. If. If....

If the navy is ready to say the EM drive works.

No. This must be them doing stuff just in case.

I know the EM drive can't be real, because the universe hates me and would never let me be that happy.
posted by lumpenprole at 4:54 PM on August 5


If you had any of that technology, and you were a division of the armed forces, why in hell would you register a public patent for it? Like... how much of the most advanced stuff in the F-35 is patented? Without checking, I'm willing to bet that the answer is "None". You keep that shit secret.

Right? Am I completely misunderstanding how this stuff works?
posted by clawsoon at 4:54 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


Many aspects of the atomic bombs were patented. They just filed in secret. Only later were they declassified. In that event, not until after they had expired.
posted by wierdo at 4:57 PM on August 5 [3 favorites]


The OTHER letter which we haven't yet seen surely states "It is in the national interest that you approve this patent because it will give just enough credibility to the concept that our adversaries will waste stupid amounts of time and resources on this."
posted by tclark at 5:01 PM on August 5 [15 favorites]


I am of the the belief that right now we need absolute proof of aliens. Sort of like The Watchmen but without destroying a city. I would hope that we would all band together to understand the enormous significance of the thing. And it would make us realize that our petty shit was not so important anymore.

Yeah right. I know. ::sigh::
posted by Splunge at 5:33 PM on August 5 [5 favorites]


There are rules, you know. You can't be patenting alien technology as the inventor if the aliens are the ones who invented it.
According to the law, the inventor, or a person to whom the inventor has assigned or is under an obligation to assign the invention, may apply for a patent, with certain exceptions. If the inventor is deceased, the application may be made by legal representatives, that is, the administrator or executor of the estate. If the inventor is legally incapacitated, the application for patent may be made by a legal representative (e.g., guardian). If an inventor refuses to apply for a patent or cannot be found, a joint inventor may apply on behalf of the non-signing inventor. [!!]

If two or more persons make an invention jointly, they apply for a patent as joint inventors. A person who makes only a financial contribution is not a joint inventor and cannot be joined in the application as an inventor. It is possible to correct an innocent mistake in erroneously omitting an inventor or in erroneously naming a person as an inventor.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:37 PM on August 5 [7 favorites]


Let's see them joint imventors!
posted by ikea_femme at 5:45 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


Habeas corpus means if we violate these patents we get to see the spacefolks.
posted by ikea_femme at 5:47 PM on August 5 [8 favorites]


You can't be patenting alien technology as the inventor if the aliens are the ones who invented it.

Aliens aren't persons, according to Zanqibrax United v FEC, so they need a hoo-man to file their patents for them.
posted by axiom at 5:51 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


It is in the national interest that you approve this patent because it will give just enough credibility to the concept that our adversaries will waste stupid amounts of time and resources on this

This makes me wonder whether the CIA has started planting fake but semi-plausible engineering documents on poorly-secured corporate computers to fuck with Chinese IP thieves. Let them waste some time trying to figure out Google SmartPants.
posted by dephlogisticated at 5:51 PM on August 5 [13 favorites]


I would hope that we would all band together to understand the enormous significance of the thing. And it would make us realize that our petty shit was not so important anymore.

And that's exactly why the earthbound forces that be DON'T reveal the aliens. And you know what? The aliens are going along because they have their own 'petty shit' they don't want de-emphasised.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:53 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


On the one hand, technologies such as these, if true (and likely not!), should result in such plentiful resources that strife is completely unnecessary. On the other hand the issue is framed as a new "mineshaft gap." Given what we know about humans--and what advanced aliens must surely know about humans--they would never reveal their secrets to us damned stinking apes.

(On preview, what oneswellfoop said.)
posted by sjswitzer at 5:57 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


If I understand the publication history correctly, only one of these patents seems to be eligible for a Hugo Award next year (if they happen to work, that's fine--non-fiction sometimes gets nominated, e.g. under Related Work or the Dramatic Presentation award for the news coverage of Apollo 11 in 1970).

Aesthetically, I like the other two patents better because of their use of the Dirac Sea idea, which I've always thought was underutilitized in SF. In the 80s, a physics grad student explained to me that the Dirac picture was excluded until someone could explain what negative energy would be, and I was like how can SF writers not be using this all the time. Anyway, apparently someone has revived the idea under the heading of causal fermion systems (more; Youtube), which sound fun too.
posted by Wobbuffet at 5:59 PM on August 5 [9 favorites]


One of the weird things about this to me is how it buries the lead. Room temp superconductors would be a super big deal. We're talking Nobel Prizes. There's a little bit about room temp semiconductors in this phys.org article. It's one of the Holy Grails.

It says right here in the patent:
This concept enables the transmission of electrical power without any losses and exhibits optimal thermal management (no heat dissipation), which leads to the design and development of novel energy generation and harvesting devices with enormous benefits to civilization.
So you've got this technology that would revolutionize power generation, and you're using it to freak out Navy pilots??
posted by chrchr at 6:00 PM on August 5 [5 favorites]


I'm sorry, Naval aviators.
posted by chrchr at 6:02 PM on August 5 [6 favorites]


Wasn't ISIS trying to buy up red mercury for a while?
posted by ikea_femme at 6:11 PM on August 5 [5 favorites]


Room temp superconductors would be a super big deal.

What I like about the superconductor patent is that the breakthrough seems to be to jiggle it a little to get those electrons moving.
posted by Wobbuffet at 6:19 PM on August 5 [6 favorites]


Do the devices outlined in these patents really work? It feels like I'd have better luck opening a banana oil factory.
posted by Quackles at 6:23 PM on August 5


The gravitational wave generator one is also big on jiggling the electricals to make super science, this time with like a speaker or ultrasonic toothbrush parts or something. It's sonic!
posted by jason_steakums at 6:25 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


This makes me wonder whether the CIA has started planting fake but semi-plausible engineering documents on poorly-secured corporate computers to fuck with Chinese IP thieves. Let them waste some time trying to figure out Google SmartPants.

A lot of the technical breakthroughs in the Unreal graphics engine came because the engineers had beginner's luck - they didn't realise a lot of the techniques their competitors were using were clever hacks that only worked under specific circumstances, and so they worked out how to do it in the general case because they believed others already had.

The problem with saying 'the US totally has room-temperature superconductors' is that you've just told a bunch of engineers working on it that something they try will definitely work. Any of those engineers have beginner's luck, and you've put yourself at a disadvantage.
posted by Merus at 6:33 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


Any of those engineers have beginner's luck, and you've put yourself at a disadvantage.

But the rest of us get superconducters, so its all good.
posted by maxwelton at 6:55 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


"Salvatore Pais" is an anagram for "Aviator Lapses". Just sayin'.
posted by glonous keming at 7:20 PM on August 5 [5 favorites]


Idiot Stick (full text) by Damon Knight, 1958 (WP with spoilers).
posted by cenoxo at 7:29 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


....but also, "A polestar visa".
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:43 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


Dammit.
Now I have to drag the ansible down from the attic and share this with the Zrom Pact Systems. This was way too early. You’re too damned early!

I only hope I can get off this rock before...well...I’ve probably said too much already...
posted by Thorzdad at 8:09 PM on August 5 [9 favorites]


I've been waiting for this! We saw that show on Discovery about this and my husband is convinced the UFOs are from outer space. I do not because there was no evidence to suggest so, not to say they aren't, but no evidence. So ha.
posted by waving at 9:15 PM on August 5


The superconducting patent seems easy enough to replicate. Has anyone tried?
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:23 PM on August 5


Looks like someone got hold of a copy of Electronic Service, Unit #16 and built themselves an interocitor.
Probably not good news.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 9:42 PM on August 5 [9 favorites]


Is the "repulsive gravity" in the third link speaking figuratively, since gravity is the one force that is always attractive? Or is it literal in that it's like the Bernoulli effect—less quantum froth ahead of you causes you to be pushed forward by the quantum froth behind you?
posted by jabah at 9:47 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


I only hope I can get off this rock before...well...I’ve probably said too much already...

Quiet, you fool! You're going to blow it for the rest of us!
posted by loquacious at 10:11 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


So a bunch of these patents are straight up Loompanics Unlimited old school rumors UFO tech and what the fuck?

Like, assuming these aren't mis-approved protective/theoretical patents someone has to be trolling or having some kind lark or a lot of those old rumors about sea-air amphibious unidentified craft with weird inertial and/or antigravity propulsion and other high weirdness is more true than not...

...and/or this is some kind of smokescreen for something else entirely.

This timeline is getting super weird.
posted by loquacious at 10:17 PM on August 5 [3 favorites]


"Salvatore Pais" is an anagram for "Aviator Lapses". Just sayin'.
Also: Seaport Saliva, A Larvae Posits, A Spatial Servo, Violates A Spar, A Pastel Savior, and uh... Slap At Ovaries.

The answer is here, somewhere.
posted by xedrik at 10:21 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


Is the "repulsive gravity" in the third link speaking figuratively, since gravity is the one force that is always attractive? Or is it literal in that it's like the Bernoulli effect—less quantum froth ahead of you causes you to be pushed forward by the quantum froth behind you?

Nah, it's just disgusting
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:00 PM on August 5 [5 favorites]


A Spatial Servo

Tom Servo patent holder confirmed
posted by Bwentman at 2:11 AM on August 6


Laugh while you can, monkey boy!
posted by Meatbomb at 2:15 AM on August 6 [11 favorites]


What I like about the superconductor patent is that the breakthrough seems to be to jiggle it a little to get those electrons moving.

The gravitational wave generator one is also big on jiggling the electricals to make super science, this time with like a speaker or ultrasonic toothbrush parts or something. It's sonic!

Are y'all saying that this is all about Good Vibrations?
posted by clawsoon at 4:09 AM on August 6 [2 favorites]


“While reading a science fiction magazine it occurred to Colonel McKenzie that the German Nazis could be fooled in to diverting their research scientists from their WW II guided missile plan by Inventing a weapon that might exist but doesn’t. It would have to be a weapon so completely overwhelming so that the Nazis would have to pull almost every man off rockets to work on it.. The British intelligence called it Project Trojan.”
posted by Nutri-Matic Drinks Synthesizer at 4:45 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]



It takes a few seconds to determine that there's at least a few address records for Dr. Pais, including the most recent in Callaway, MD, which is right down the road from the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division on the Patuxent River. In addition, his name is attached to papers going back to the 1990's, and his age (51), year of PhD, and areas of study all line up, so in other words, either he's a real person who avoids the interwebs and publicity for good reason, or this is one hell of a long game to invent him.

In certain "Lone Gunmen"-esque circles that I may or may not have kept an eye on over the years, after the hoopla around Aurora fizzled out, the rumors and anonymous bulletin board postings were about internally-propelled craft that disregarded conventional laws of inertia and propulsion. The basic outline of which comes pretty close to what these patents describe. The fact that the US Navy, and specifically the US CTO of Naval Aviation, Dr. James Sheehy attested that the patents are operational (meaning they work or can otherwise be realistically demonstrated) means that at a minimum, it's not vaporware. Unlike Dr. Pais, Dr. Sheehy has an online presence, hell go look at his Linkedin profile. These people wouldn't be attaching their names to something that's complete BS, and patents aren't given unless there's good reason to believe it works.

Moving on, and now I'm going to speculation. The majority of recent US Naval Aviator sightings of objects of a nature that could be described by the technology in the patents have been off the SE US Coast between 2014-2015. It's not unreasonable to think that if that technology was being tested, it was taken out to sea down the Chesapeake into that area. Why buzz test Naval Aviators? Why not? If they can detect and react to it with the most sophisticated production technology today, you should get a pretty good idea of how it works in a real-world scenario. Plus, it's all under the Navy umbrella.

Then the last remaining question is why patent it. Why put names and descriptions to the technology out in the open. Sheehy cites regarding the patent that the Chinese are already looking into this technology, but US Patent protects don't extend to the Chinese military. I don't have a good answer.

Or this is all a big nothingburger and the Navy, US Patent Office, scientists, and Naval Aviators who have reported technology like this are leading China on a deep and expensive wild goose chase. It's equally likely, if not moreso.
posted by splen at 5:04 AM on August 6 [3 favorites]




The CTO of the Navy personally vouching for it - does that actually mean anything? As per his letter, these technologies are not currently operational, so it's not like he's personally seen them work. That means that he is basically taking someone's word for them being legit (unless he's not being entirely honest). His background seems to be in vision and optics research, so it's not like he's uniquely positioned to evaluate the veracity of the claims. So basically, he's just decided to believe Dr Pais, and his personal endorsement just means he believes Dr Pais, right? Why are we attaching such credence to this?
posted by Dysk at 6:34 AM on August 6


Like, we're not trusting his expertise here, we're trusting the expertise he has decided to trust (at best) which is likely just the same initial source for the claims. So we haven't got it verified by a second opinion so much as someone parroting the first opinion again.
posted by Dysk at 6:36 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


Oh god not the EM drive again! And in the sea??? The whole point of an engine magically supplying tiny tiny amounts of force from nowhere using physics-ignoring magic is that it would only be useful in space, no? This can only be some sort of weird trolling.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 7:08 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


Are y'all saying that this is all about Good Vibrations?
posted by clawsoon

Yup.

posted by clavdivs at 9:01 AM on August 6


1. I can't stop reading about this, thank you thank you. I have been rewatching The X-Files with a friend who's never seen it before, and "secret military tests of physics-defying aircraft" is, like, a third of the early episodes. WERE THEY RIGHT ALL ALONG??

2. The linked articles have a lot of language like this: Is it only a hypothetical technology, though? The inventor and his attorney assured the patent office it is indeed operable, at least to some degree.

I kinda get the sense that these patents describe devices that can be/have been built and that would have x y z incredible properties if a b c breakthrough were to happen. Kinda hope I'm wrong though because YAY UFOs!
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:49 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


The United States Patent and Trademark Office does not attempt to verify whether a claimed invention actually works.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:05 AM on August 6 [3 favorites]


Here is my new crackpot theory: what the US government has actually developed is a sophisticated system for making it appear as if there is a mysterious aircraft nearby - something that can fool both sensors and the naked eye. They tested it around Navy pilots to see if it was plausible enough to trick them. Then, once the reports of UFO sightings leaked - as they were always intended to do - the government filed plausible-seeming but false patents to explain the UFOs as if they were real objects rather than phantoms.

If I worked for the Shadow Government I would follow this up with tests of the technology targeted at tricking Chinese aircraft/pilots. This would complete the honeypot aimed at wasting Chinese time/money on attempting to replicate it, while also forcing their military to plan around a nonexistent threat.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:06 AM on August 6 [2 favorites]


The Navy UFO sightings have been revealed to maybe troll up some answers. My answer is holography, projected from satellites. The spinning top over the Atlantic was the giveaway. The tic tac shape is perfect because no one can make an ID or define functional dynamics, the appearance of water surface disturbance, that is the sophisticated image. These are like spohisticated cat toys. Just wait until they take on identity, eh? Angels, demons, whatever works. The appearance of weaponry, or alien craft. The appearance of regular military aircraft. What, why stop now, giants, walking on the moon, ships at the Straits of Hormuz. Jesus, walking on the water, hand in hand with Vladimir Putin, Mitch McConnell, atomic mini subs up the Mississippi, anything but diminishing the trash we make, or the profit we take.
posted by Oyéah at 10:30 AM on August 6 [2 favorites]


My answer is holography, projected from satellites.

It would need to trick radar and other sensors as well - which is certainly possible, but more sophisticated than just a hologram.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:00 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


so holodeck technology then
posted by bonje at 11:21 AM on August 6


Which would be an amazing break through on it's own.
posted by Mitheral at 11:22 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


One detail I haven't seen in the reports of UFOs - which, to be fair, I could have just missed - is anyone claiming to have made physical contact with one of these things. They were seen and detected by multiple sensors but afaik nobody claims to have clipped one of them. Conceivably the Mysterious Shadow Techs could trick radar/other sensors into identifying an illusion as a physical object. Until somebody flew a drone into it, of course.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:30 AM on August 6


Pepper's Ghost Army?
posted by emelenjr at 11:30 AM on August 6 [2 favorites]


For real, if you're interested in this, I can't stress enough that the patents themselves are great fun to read. They're full of stuff like this:
Everything that surrounds us, ourselves included, can be described as macroscopic collections of fluctuations, vibrations, and oscillations in quantum mechanical fields. Matter is confined energy, bound within fields, frozen in a quantum of time. Therefore, under certain conditions (such as the coupling of hyper-frequency axial spin with hyper-frequency vibrations of electrically charged systems) the rules and special effects of quantum field behavior also apply to macroscopic physical entities (macroscopic quantum phenomena).
posted by chrchr at 1:10 PM on August 6 [4 favorites]


The corners of the Internet where the patents are taken as true would be findable with the key words "breakaway civilization". The more grounded seem to be Richard Dolan and C Austin Fitts in case this is a rabbit hole you want to go down.

The things that would be "game changers" that would seem to exist if such a device exists would be the high temp superconductors, the small fusion engine and the option of this tech being used to make large mass objects smash into other objects. The last 2 might be dangerous enough that humans should not be trusted with them. Ya can't trust two people in a Wal-Mart from using dangerous tech and putting someone in a hospital in "fair condition" who was not a part of the argument - how could you trust 'em with a Mr. Fusion and the ability to go-fast into another object?

If the device actually exists as a packaged unit the logical extension would be the ability to go snag the gold/platium/nickel/et al asteroids back to Earth as another "game changer".

As to why the patent? How about both China and the US of A are mentioned in the drive article and both have stock markets/economic systems which could use a boost and having a legal lock on something that would have all kinds of rational (and irrational) reasons to invest might be an answer to "why now?"

As for "aliens": Consider how generally leaky humans are about secrets and the quality of the telescopes humanity has. What are the odds of aliens being known enough to provide location information and yet no telescopes have been pointed in the direction of their home?

For humans to make it in space there needs to be a far better plan than "I want to get off the Earth" or space mining. Mr. Hagens notes this here. Perhaps this can be the public legacy of this patent, up 'till the point us regular humans can actually see and use what is being claimed in the patent.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:17 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]


but afaik nobody claims to have clipped one of them.

Standard reporting has 'as we got close/tried to fire our systems shut off'.

My memory is the Iran 1976 files have that. link from 1st page of search. Same with the missle silo operator claims.

Due to the survellance state the tools to fully record your own property should be good enough to catch images of flying objects you can't identify but it takes the will to spend the coin trying to capture what might never grace the field of senors on your land. And like the question asked of a dog who chases a car - what are you going to do if you caught it?
posted by rough ashlar at 2:28 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]


I was going to RTFAs but I sprained my eyeballs just looking at the post.
posted by heatherlogan at 5:05 PM on August 6


""Salvatore Pais" is an anagram for "Aviator Lapses". Just sayin'.
Also: Seaport Saliva, A Larvae Posits, A Spatial Servo, Violates A Spar, A Pastel Savior, and uh... Slap At Ovaries. "

See, what stood out to me was translating the name as "savior / country". I can't figure out how the middle name 'Cezar" fits into that, of course...
posted by Mutant Lobsters from Riverhead at 7:47 PM on August 6


While a name like Salvatore Pais seems a little over-the-top, there appears indeed to be a Salvatore Cezar Pais whose 1993 MS thesis on "Design of an experiment for observation of thermocapillary convection phenomena in a simulated floating zone under microgravity conditions" is held at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, along with his 1999 Ph.D. thesis on "Bubble generation in a continuous liquid flow under reduced gravity conditions". Worldcat shows Pais as the author of various technical papers from 1991-2017 as well.

(Dr. Pais apparently also wrote a letter to Popular Mechanics in 2002.)

None of this is necessarily dispositive, but at any rate, if Dr. Pais is not in fact a real person, then something more than mere pseudonymy is afoot.
posted by shenderson at 8:06 PM on August 6


As to why the patent? How about both China and the US of A are mentioned in the drive article and both have stock markets/economic systems which could use a boost and having a legal lock on something that would have all kinds of rational (and irrational) reasons to invest might be an answer to "why now?"

The 2017 filing date sticks out to me. To simplify a small mountain of patent law, an invention is not generally patentable if it has been publicly disclosed prior to filing (subject to a grace period under US law). 2017 would be the year that all the various military/security/intelligence agencies realized that all of their secrets were a Trumpfart away from being disclosed on the public stage, or directly handed over to foreign leaders. If one were a US government agency sitting on some potential multi-billion-dollar IP, that would be a strong incentive to start filing sooner than later.

(I'm not sure that this rationale stands up to scrutiny, however, particularly as to why the patent applications are being published; as others suggest, it may be a bit too much to assume the US gov is acting in good faith here rather than playing some PR/misdirection game. Indeed, one might equally suppose that T might be the target of such an effort -- "look at these amazing toys you could have if you just gave us a few more hundred-billions!")
posted by shenderson at 8:22 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]


gravity is the one force that is always attractive

Gravity isn't really a force though. What we perceive as the 'force' of gravity is just the consequence of the interaction of two or more temporal gradients.

Gravitational repulsion would be possible if you had a temporal gradient that curved the opposite way to that normally induced by mass. This would in effect be negative mass.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 9:25 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]


BTW, if you liked this, you might also enjoy this little corner of the International Patent Classification: B64G1/409: "Unconventional spacecraft propulsion systems"
posted by shenderson at 9:51 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]


(Dr. Pais apparently also wrote a letter to Popular Mechanics in 2002.)

His vision of the future as evidenced through his Popular Mechanics letter was way off and bizarrely authoritarian (a national id to get you into a stadium or other public spaces?), but I guess that's what you get when everyone is scared out of their wits post 9/11.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:52 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


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