NASA’s “Technosignatures”: Signs of Intelligent Life?


chaos theory               a theory applicable to growth patterns in nature.

ETI                              Extraterrestrial Intelligence

fractal geometry        describes how natural coastlines develop, how trees and flowers grow, how clouds form and how ice cracks.

Mandelbrot set           Sometimes called the “Thumbprint of God.”  Named after Benoit Mandelbrot, an IBM research fellow, who developed the field of fractal geometry used in the study of chaos theory.

SDO                             Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite, launched in 2010 by NASA, is designed to help us understand the Sun’s influence on Earth.

SOHO                           Solar Heliospheric Observatory satellite launched in 1995 as a joint project of international cooperation between the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA.

STEREO A & B            Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory. Two satellites launched in 2006 by NASA to orbit ahead of the Earth and behind to surround the Sun with observation platforms.

Technosignature          an official NASA term for the disturbance of an exoplanet’s atmosphere caused by intelligent life.

wavelength                  the length of a periodic  wave.  In the electromagnetic spectrum, the spectrum is the range of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation and their corresponding wavelengths.


The MUFON Journal has been reporting a vast collection of UFO sightings, some credible, some not so,  since the SKYLOOK newsletter was first published in 1967 (more about that in a future article).  This article, though, is about the interpretation of a series of photographic images that a MUFON field investigator has discovered on the Internet. One might say, Well, any kind of image can be discovered on the Internet. But this is not just any Internet site, it’s NASA’s own website.  Over the past three years, Major David Toon (Ret.) has inspected over three million photographic images taken by NASA’s SDO (see glossary) satellite, STEREO and ESA/NASA’s SOHO satellite.  Of those, he has culled out over 40,000 images that are what I would say look “suspiciously like spacecraft.”  Toon feels the same way.

David Toon

NASA’s SDO [1]

So, who’s Major David Toon?  David Toon is a retired US Army aviation officer, former helicopter pilot, combat veteran and contractor in Iraq/Afghanistan, and a former staff sergeant in US Army intelligence. He has two BS degrees, one in Unmanned Aircraft Systems and is currently working on a second MS degree at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  Oh, yes, by the way he’s also a MUFON Field Investigator too.

To date, Toon has made a limited number of semi-private presentations, including to the staff at Embry-Riddle, on the topic of “The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Vehicles in Solar Satellite Imagery.” [2] His contention is that “scattered throughout the NASA solar satellite archives” are images that may offer proof that we are not alone in the Universe.  He then questions, “Are we seeing our [own] future?”


The SOHO satellite was designed to study the internal structure of the Sun, its extensive outer atmosphere and the origin of the solar wind.  It was launched in 1995 by the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA. The STEREO pair of satellites were also deployed by NASA in 2006 and currently offer a complete view of solar activities with a 360° field of coverage. The NASA SDO satellite was launched in 2010 with the mission of studying the surface and the coronal atmosphere around the Sun. SDO observed the Sun using ten different wavelengths of light.  Each wavelength reveals different solar features. For example, one camera detects activity at the surface of the Sun while another camera detects solar prominences (solar flares) at higher altitudes.  It does not carry a visible light spectrum camera as such, so the images that are shown below are not the entire light spectrum, but only represent one wavelength for each image.  This is significant because the viewer only sees a very small portion of what would otherwise contain the full spectrum of any observed object.

The SOHO/STEREO/SDO Photographic Images

During the course of Toon’s personal investigations, he collected over 40,000 of these extraordinary ESA/NASA images of the Sun and its environs.  Here’s a few of those unusual images that are not easily explained.

SOHO Image 1 [3]

STEREO Image 2 [4]

SOHO Image 3 [5]

Images 1 and 2 above display what appear to be entirely linear objects.  Image 3 is clearly non-linear, but appears, at least to the writer, to be a self-illuminated, uniformly curved, object.

SDO Image 4 [6]

SDO Image 5A [7]

Image 4 has been described by Toon looking like a “flying refrigerator.” The author suggests that it looks more like a structured object characteristic of a steam iron.  Image 5A, however, is more mysterious.  This suggests that it is a highly structured object, with a series of self-luminous light sources in a rectangular configuration.  The light source appears to be just one segment of a much larger object.

SDO Image 5B 

Image 6

Image 5B is an enlargement of 5A showing the apparent structure as a series of light sources (or possibly light reflections) in orderly defined rows and columns.  Image 6 is a terrestrial UAP (UFO) photo from the October 2013 issue of The MUFON Journal and has a similar rectangular structure showing an irregular, lower surface of rows and columns.

To this reporter, these photographic images can only be one of four possibilities: (1) natural anomalies; (2) photographic artifacts; (3) retouched photographs; or (4) spacecraft.  Let’s take a look at each explanation individually.

Natural Anomalies and the Mandelbrot Set [8]

Nature dislikes straight lines and sharp corners; and prefers, if you will, curves and smooth corners.  Consider the Mandelbrot set equations that simulate, mathematically, formations commonly found in nature — clouds, leaves, flowers, cracks in ice, etc.

Mandelbrot Set (black portion) [9]

Fractal Geometry [10]

The significant point here is that nature (at least in the macroscopic world), does not operate in straight lines; virtually everything in nature is non-linear.  This would seem to rule out a naturally-occurring, linear anomaly.

Photographic Artifacts (The Occam’s Razor Solution)

This is most likely what the majority of the public would claim: it is a photographic defect due to a light leak in the camera, cosmic rays or an error during transmission of the digital data back to Earth.  It’s Occam’s razor: a chink in the chain, a glitch in the camera or a bug in the software. This would appear to be the origin of many of these unusual images.  But is it the explanation for all of them?

Retouched Photographs

What’s this?  Since the images come from a NASA website, it would seem that the only way the images could be falsified is that someone within ESA or NASA had “Photoshopped” them.  In other words, in an attempt to mislead or misinform the public, one (or more) individuals changed the images to make some appear to be unnatural.  We have all heard that some NASA images have been airbrushed [11] (retouched) to eliminate or obscure an artifact in an image, but not to add an unnatural artifact to it.  Altogether, this seems to be highly unlikely, but possible.

Spacecraft – “Are We Seeing Our Own Future?”

In 1929, a British scientist, John Desmond Bernal, proposed a sphere-shaped structure that would be about ten miles in diameter and that would accommodate 20,000 to 30,000 inhabitants in space: a space colony.  In the 1970s physicist Gerard K. O’Neill of Princeton University proposed a cylinder-shaped, space colony that would be 20 miles long.

Bernal Sphere [12]

The late William Mills Tompkins in his book, Selected By Extraterrestrials [13], claimed that in 1954, he designed a one-mile long, “Heavy Transport” spacecraft on behalf of Douglas Aircraft Company for a proposal to the US Navy.  This was, in effect, a cylinder-shaped spacecraft capable of transporting crews, materials and smaller spacecraft to other planets and perhaps beyond.

Of course, this is David Toon’s conclusion: these are ETI spacecraft and until proven otherwise, he’s sticking to that storyline.  But could they be?  For starters, these would have to be massive spacecraft.  These would not be just a couple of kilometers long, they would have to be mobile space colonies.  These would be spacecraft that carried entire populations of ETIs.

CrossTalk (by David Toon and T.L. Keller) 

TLK: How did you come to examine the NASA website?  What drove you to collect all 40,000 images?  What was your initial reaction to seeing some of these images?

DT: ”Getting ready to head to class in Daytona Beach, Florida, to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2015, I looked at a weather website to check for rain. What I saw were 5 macro-bursts hitting the entire state of Florida simultaneously on a cloudless day. This impossible radar signature presented itself in a 2 hour loop I recorded with my phone and posted to YouTube [14]. However, I knew something this strange was space related since the size and timing was otherwise improbable. I went to the Space Weather Prediction Center [15] on the internet to determine if the sun was the culprit by way of a Coronal Mass Ejection towards earth.  While watching this series of 96 images run as a movie I saw strange shapes flash in one or two of the images. I downloaded a bunch of strange shapes over the course of several days and went to an astronomy professor at the university. He was kind enough to explain 8 of 10 image anomalies as cosmic rays and other camera artifacts. The other two image anomalies were beyond his ability to identify them. That’s all I needed to hear. So, I went home and started collecting images like those and still do to this day. Except today I review images from three NASA satellite image archives online, SOHO, STEREO and SDO. I collected images for about a year before I came across my first image I later labeled ‘Proof’. The find was so emotionally significant I spoke to no one about it for about two days. Since then I collected 40,000 more similar images and have shared my findings with anyone interested.” 

TLK: It would seem that solar prominences are normally curved due to the Sun’s gravitational field.  If Images 1 and 2 were solar prominences, why would they be linear?  And with definite beginning and end points of their own?  If these were neither natural nor “Photoshop,” how long would these objects be if they were actual spacecraft? 

DT: ”The word prominence was defined and applied by astrophysicists to solar outcropping from the solar surface and then many theories and mathematical models involving magnetism and nuclear fusion were applied. Two major problems are glaring with the definition: 1) No astrobiologists were involved with defining the term prominence 2) No solar activity was ever defined using organic terms. All astrophysicists are taught using inorganic processes like fusion or magnetism. If you introduce an organic event with a solar process, mass confusion and academic hysteria follow. Torches are lit and demands for peer-reviewed articles are thrown at such heretics because no one with their credentials said it was okay to consider such things. Only recently behind closed office doors at one of the educational elite institutions are such things discussed. Since the images you refer to are not solar surface related and only show up in one frame in a series, the origin of the object and speed both require a new hypothesis and thus to answer your question; I don’t believe they are prominences to begin with.

“As for the size of these non-prominence objects, no one knows. Solar photography is challenging because distances of object(s) from the sensor are unknown as well as the size of the object(s) in the scene. Only in images where some level of confidence can be assigned to the location of some of these objects (interacting with the solar surface) does a sense of size become apparent.  Once you see the clarity of some of these objects and assume some proximity to the solar surface does a new paradigm of size wash over you. It leaves some people speechless. Others will blurt out, ‘How big is that thing?’ To answer your question and theirs: I don’t know.” 

TLK: Image 3 almost looks like a “boomerang UAP” with “lights” along one edge.  If this were a natural event, what do you think might cause this effect? 

DT: ”You must think perspective when viewing image #3. The sensor records the intensity of just one tuned frequency (in the Ultra Violet spectrum in this case) and allows the [camera’s] CCD pixels to charge up to the level of energy received. Anything White indicates a maximum intensity was received involving that frequency.  So, when an object displays a pattern of White pixels the sensor can no longer record anything higher. It indicates levels of energy in that specific frequency are possibly even higher than can be recorded. So, image #3 indicates a highly energetic object is near the satellite. It is detected in one frame only as we only see two sides or at minimum, two edges of the object displaying an organized pattern of energy. A natural event does not organize energetic emissions into a perfectly aligned pattern such as this object displays. Even asteroids take up 50 or more frames to move through a scene. Image #3 took one frame to move through the scene.” 

TLK: Image 5B is the most intriguing.  Some would say it looks like a “light bar from Home Depot.”  But it’s clearly one end of a larger object.  What is your sense of it? 

DT: ”My hypothesis (since I, too, do not know) is this highly charged area is seemingly attached to some other structural component and is possibly the point of propulsion. We have the technology to cloak surfaces as primitive human beings, but cloaking the process of energy transition may be harder or impossible. We can cloak a [Space X] Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad, but once the rocket engines are fired, you are offered all the evidence in the world that this rocket exists even if you still can’t see it. Likewise, most of these images may only be exposing the point or area of propulsion. More likely is the fact [that] the object’s surface is not reflecting or emitting any energy detectable by the sensor at the time of scene capture except the propulsion system(s). ” 

TLK: If these were actual spacecraft, why are they in such close proximity to the Sun? Why do you think that NASA has allowed these images to “go public” as it were? 

 DT: ”I am still not sure what is seen is organic, inorganic or something in between. Human flight is about 100 years old, yet, we have a solar space probe (the Parker Probe) heading towards the sun as of this writing to fly within 4 million miles from the surface to collect data. One hundred years from now we will all be laughing at the premise of limitations to flight or flight environments. If there are other societies more advanced than us by 200 years, why wouldn’t they use stars to navigate the galaxy? Why not stop to refuel along the way? I do believe NASA is fully aware of the life around us (off-planet) as they still cut the live feeds from the cameras on the ISS [International Space Station] whenever something strange appears on the horizon.

“As for the massive image archives made available to the public from which I draw my internet material, I have to assume the images are scrubbed, but not to a 100% level. It is this small portion of detail missed by NASA that allows evidence to slip through. Moreover, space-based multispectral CCD camera systems peering into other non-visible frequency bands is only 22 years old. It has opened up so many more aspects of the ‘unseen’ world around us, we have only begun to wrap our minds around what it all means. I still do not know what it all means, but not sharing what I have found only would maintain our current level of ignorance.

“What can be proven if all we have are strange shapes in NASA solar images? I answered this in my last masters Graduate Capstone Project research paper titled ‘Analysis of Second Order Timing Effects of Technosignatures Near the STEREO-Ahead Satellite.’ ‘Technosignature’ is a NASA term (see glossary). [16]  I use this term as it seems NASA is more comfortable with it than with ‘UFO.’ My paper focused on a single coronal sensor on the STEREO-A satellite where, occasionally, familiar shape(s) would appear in the image as something flying near the satellite. These shapes not only had identifiable characteristics in shape and pattern, but some presented altered flight paths near the satellite. In short, my paper recorded the dates and times these objects flew by the satellite and turned a qualitative analysis into a quantitative analysis in a mixed methods approach to test a statistical hypothesis. My hypothesis was [that] the timing of these objects [was] not random. [Following a statistical analysis] this was associated with a timing of 152.9 days as something significant. I still don’t know why this frequency of time is important, but that is for future research to determine. What it did indicate was [that] the timing of appearances near the STEREO–A satellite was not random. This paper accomplished two objectives: 1) Successfully identify a group of similar Technosignatures and 2) Determine the probability of their appearance as [being] not random. All of this started from watching a weather radar loop to see if I needed an umbrella for class that day.”

Follow-on Photographic Analysis

Most readers of this article will have some opinion as to the nature of these images.  Clearly, David Toon and the author are only speculating.  In the past, when a field investigator has come into possession of photographs taken by one or more witnesses, usually a highly-qualified, MUFON analyst (such as Jeff Sainio) would be called on to perform a detailed study.  What we have here is a series of unusual photos from a known, US Government source that are far more than the cell phone photos from a witness’ “sighting.”  What is needed is a follow-on photographic analysis by a MUFON-appointed photo analyst to answer these questions.

If the reader would like a step-by-step, set of instructions as to how to view individual images on the NASA website, contact the author at, and they will be e-mailed out.  [They are too detailed for inclusion within this article.] 


  1. Courtesy of Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
  2. Toon, Major David, “The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Vehicles in Solar Satellite Imagery.” E-mail to T. L. Keller on March 14, 2018.  Major Toon may be contacted at:
  3. SOHO 20060321 0048 304.jpgCourtesy of NASA.
  4. STEREO 20080111-162830-171.jpgCourtesy of NASA.
  5. SOHO 19970201 0553C2.jpg. Courtesy of ESA/NASA.
  6. SDO 20121227_031722_4096_0131 Solar centric.jpg.Courtesy of NASA.
  7. SDO 20160727_011054_4096_0193.jpgCourtesy of NASA.
  8. Keller, T.L., The Total Novice’s Guide To UFOs, 2FSPress, 2010, pages 80-81 and digital edition, 2016.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Keller, T. L., The Total Novice’s Guide To The Secret Space Program, 2016, Chapter 30, “Donna Hare,” digital edition.
  13. Tompkins, William Mills, Selected By Extraterrestrials,CreateSpace, 2015, page 67-68.
  14. YouTube weather URL:
  15. Space Weather Prediction Center URL:
  16. Described in the NASA Astrobiology Strategy 2015publication (page 150) as an exoplanet atmospheric perturbation that is detectable and associated with life (intelligence levels were not defined).

The author may be contacted at

© 2019 T. L. Keller