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Unidentified flying objects (UFOs) have held our attention for at least 10,000 years. Archaeologists have recently found 10,000-year-old rock paintings in caves that depict aliens and UFOs. The beings portrayed in the paintings show similarities to aliens depicted in mainstream films, suggesting our ancestors in prehistoric times could have seen beings from other planets. Flying saucers and other weird objects in the sky are visible in religious paintings of the Renaissance period as well. Many scientists also mention “The War of the Worlds”, a science fiction novel by H. G. Wells, as a key element in drawing people’s attention to the subject.

For some reasons the belief that aliens are here is much stronger in America than in Europe. Thousands of Americans claim to have been abducted by aliens, ushered aboard spacecraft and subjected to physical examination. Many magazines devoted to aliens regularly report UFO sightings and human contacts with aliens. Nevertheless, there is no hard evidence that aliens have visited our planet. The most celebrated event that some people regard as the confirmation of aliens’ existence is probably the Roswell Incident.

On July 8, 1947, Roswell Army Air Field issued a press release stating that a “flying disk” had crashed near a ranch in Roswell during a severe thunderstorm. Later that day, as government scientists arrived in the area, the story changed. The reporters were shown the debris said to have been taken from the crash area to confirm that the object had been a weather balloon. However, the original press release lit the fire of suspicion and, with the passage of years, the subsequent correction has increasingly been seen as a Government cover-up.

Was it a flying saucer or a weather balloon? There had been no answer for many years until Stanton Friedman, a leading UFO researcher, began his search in the early 1980s. That research brought him to Roswell looking for those who had information to add to the Roswell story. His investigation became the basis for the book published by C. Berlitz and W. Moore “The Roswell Incident”. Since then, many investigators have dedicated their work to Roswell. The accounts given by Friedman and other researchers elevated Roswell from a forgotten incident to perhaps the most famous UFO case of all time.

As it turned out, there really was a government cover-up, but not of an alien spacecraft. It involved a secret government programme, Project Mogul. By the summer of 1947, it was clear that the test of the first nuclear bomb was imminent, so it was important for America to know when this test would take place. Project Mogul was an attempt to listen for the explosion by launching low-frequency microphones to high altitude where sound waves can propagate around the globe.

Although the US Government provided a detailed analysis, disproving all claims about the UFO crash, the number of UFO sightings has been growing rapidly since the 1990s. This is partly due to a direct correlation between popular films involving aliens and UFO sightings. Apparently, people want to believe in what they are shown, as well as they want to be actively involved it. Another reason for the increase in reported sightings is that most photos are now taken on cell phones, which do not have a mechanical shutter. It results in smearing moving objects in one direction, so birds become cigar-shaped alien craft. However, the most obvious explanation for the rise in UFO sightings is that the reporting center became both better known and easier to contact with the advent of the Internet.

These hoaxes sparked people’s interest in the incident, and Roswell became synonymous with UFOs and aliens. In 1992, the International UFO Museum and Research Center opened in Roswell, and since 1996 the city has been the site of exchanging information about new discoveries. Each year on the anniversary of the story, thousands of enthusiasts embrace all things alien and paranormal at a UFO festival. Without doubt, Roswell has become the UFO capital of the world.

(Adapted from *Myth of UFO at Roswell debunked’ by William Reville)

1. What does the author want to prove in the first paragraph?
1) There are many paintings portraying UFOs.
2) Science fiction novels are based on real sightings of aliens.
3) Aliens visited our planet 10,000 years ago.
4) People may have already seen extraterrestrial life.

2. What is true about UFOs and aliens?
1) UFO sightings are a common occurrence in Europe.
2) The belief in aliens’ existence is less popular in America than in Europe.
3) There is no convincing proof that aliens have been to our planet.
4) Humans regularly come into contact with aliens.

3. What is people’s attitude to the Roswell Incident?
1) They believe the object was a weather balloon.
2) They consider the story about a UFO to be a hoax.
3) They think it was a flying saucer crash.
4) They suspect that the Government concealed the truth.

4. What was the most important result of Stanton Friedman’s search?
1) He brought Roswell back to the attention of the world.
2) He found a number of witnesses who saw the crash in 1947.
3) He wrote a book about the Roswell Incident.
4) He added a lot of information to the Roswell Incident story.

5. The aim of Project Mogul was…
1) identifying an alien spacecraft.
2) detecting a nuclear explosion.
3) recording low-frequency sounds.
4) testing the first atomic bomb.

6. What is the main reason why the number of UFO sightings continue to increase?
1) The rise in the number of films involving aliens.
2) The widespread use of the Internet.
3) The imperfection of photographic equipment.
4) The desire for an unprecedented discovery.

7. According to the final paragraph, …
1) Roswell has become the site for testing new technology.
2) the International UFO Museum is the most popular sight in the city.
3) lots of people interested in UFOs visit Roswell annually.
4) the interest in the Roswell Incident has significantly declined.

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