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Robert Bigelow

MOST of the time, people who say they believe in the story that aliens are living on earth can be dismissed as 'the lunatic fringe' or perhaps those who have been rather over-indulging in strong liquor. But when a billionaire American businessman - and particularly one who has worked with NASA on constructing space habitats and vehicles - says that he firmly believes that extra-terrestrial beings are already on our planet, then perhaps a few more people will sit up and listen.
The man in question is Robert Bigelow who grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada and whose introduction to the scientific world came as a young boy when he was fascinated by several atomic weapons tests that took place northwest of the city. Bigelow himself says that it was at the age of 12 that he decided that his future path lay in space and space travel - and that he determined to make himself rich enough to be able to start his own space programme.
But unlike many dreamers who say things like that and then don't follow through, Bigelow saw a path and followed it. For many years he developed real estate and built hotels, motels and apartments. He is currently the owner of US motel chain Budget Suites of America. He built around 15,000 apartments and commercial units - and bought another 8,000 - holding on to most of those assets until he decided to unload many of them just before the 2008 financial crash and thereby making a huge amount of money.
In 1998, he fulfilled his ambition by launching Bigelow Aerospace, again based in Las Vegas, and acquired licenses from NASA to develop and market expandable space module technology. After years of development, the company secured a $17.8million contract with NASA to build BEAM - a Bigelow Expandable Activity Module - which was delivered to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX's CRS-8 mission in April 2016.
The man has certainly put his money where his mouth is as far as getting into space technology is concerned - but what makes him so certain that aliens have visited the Earth?  Well, it turns out that Mr Bigelow's grandparents witnessed a 'UFO incident' while out driving in the Nevada desert.
He told US Show 60 Minutes: "A UFO really sped up and came right into their faces until it filled the entire windshield of their car. Then it took off at a right angle and shot into the distance."
He added: "I believe in aliens. I'm absolutely convinced. That's all there is to it." He says he feels 'a strong extra-terrestrial presence' on this planet.
An interviewer once famously asked Mr Bigelow whether he was worried that his
claims about extra-terrestrials landing on Earth might persuade some people to think he was crazy. To which he responded: "I don't give a damn."   We suppose that's one of the advantages of being a billionaire - you can afford not to care what people think of you.
What do you think? Is Mr Bigelow a few sandwiches short of a picnic? Or is he living proof that there really are alien beings living among us on this planet?
Drop us a line at info@kaieteurpublishing.com and let us know what you think.
One thing is certain - he is certainly going to continue developing habitats for space living through Bigelow Aerospace.
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What's On...

Events, shows, concerts, sporting occassions - month by month in your area -
What's On
Sept 16-17
Open House London Free Admission Kempton Waterworks, Snakey Lane, Hanworth Visit the Museum for free and marvel at the spectacular 1000-ton engines in this beautiful Art Deco building. Doors open at 10:30am (please note: engine not in steam!) (www.kemptonsteam.org)
Sept 30
Glow in the Park Kempton Park Dance, jog, run or walk your way around a 5km course. Glow zones and music will keep you grooving round the route. Don't forget to wear all your glow kit (www.kempton.co.uk)
Oct 1-7
The Turn of the Screw Hampton Hill Theatre, 90 High Street, Hampton Hill A ghost story by Henry James (www.teddingtontheatreclub.org.uk)
Nov 4 (tbc)
Roundtable Fireworks Kempton Park Fun for all the family (www.kemptonfireworks.org.uk)