While aliens have never ‘officially’ existed, their science-fiction-worthy flying saucers very nearly did. Four years ago, the U.S. Air Force declassified an important group of documents—including records of a top-secret program to build a supersonic flying saucer, designed to shoot down Soviet bombers. The project, called Project 1794, was initiated by the military in the 1950s. Sketches reveal that a team of engineers were actively working on building a disc-shaped vehicle that could travel at unimaginable speeds and altitudes.
The newly declassified documents reveal plans for the plane to reach a top speed of Mac 4, four times the speed of sound. It would also climb to an altitude of 100,000 feet. At the time, executing the project would have cost more than $3 million or $26 million in today’s terms. If it had been completed, we would have created a saucer that could spin through the Earth’s stratosphere at about 2,600 miles per hour.
The amazing aircraft would have taken off and landed vertically, using propulsion jets to control and stabilize the aircraft. If you boarded the disk in New York, you could be in Miami within 24 minutes. Though the document hints at development going better than planned, the costly project was terminated in 1961, after tests suggested the design of the saucer was aerodynamically unstable and would be uncontrollable at high speeds.
This is just one of the Government and military secrets revealed in 2012. Some are amusing, some are absurd, some are terrifying, and some or just intriguing. The story of the flying saucer is one of bringing a science-fiction dream to reality.