MYSTERY WIRE A once obscure military base in Nevada is now known all over the world. Area 51 has inspired books, movies, news stories, and conspiracy theories. The man who put Area 51 on the map is a UFO whistleblower named Bob Lazar.

When Bob Lazar’s astounding claims first surfaced in 1989, the UFO stampede began. The public and media flocked to the outskirts of Area 51.

Lazar claimed alien technology was stored and tested at a hidden facility near Area 51. One of the first people to take an interest in Lazar was Las Vegas businessman Robert Bigelow, a billionaire who’s since spent more money on UFO research than any other person in history.

Bigelow has never spoken about Lazar publicly until he sat down with Mystery Wire.

Lazar and Bigelow formed a company together, Zeta Retuculi 2, and Bigelow financed a small lab for Lazar to conduct work.

Lazar’s critics have long claimed that Bigelow cut off ties with Lazar because he determined that Lazar was a fraud.

That is not what Bigelow told Mystery Wire.

“Bob was intriguing because he knew so much,” Bigelow said during the recent interview. “He’s a smart guy. He’s no dummy. He’s a smart man. He’s a smart guy. And very creative. And so, again, I say that the preponderance of evidence to me is in his favor, that he’s he’s, he’s, by and large, legitimate.”

In the new interview, Bigleow talks about Lazar showing him what turned out to be pieces of aerogel.  At the time, Lazar explained the aerogel arrived as packaging material surrounding a piece of Element 115 that had been shipped to him.  Lazar did not know what aerogel was, only that it came from the same place as the 115.  Over the years, critics of Lazar have alleged that he lied to Bigelow  by asserting the aerogel was the same as 115.  No such claim was ever made by Lazar.

Bob Lazar

“There are two types of Aerogel when it comes to interaction with water – Hydrophobic (repels water) and Hydrophilic (absorbs water). The silica Aerogel we had at that time was hydrophilic silica aerogel. It is known for, and used as an ultra efficient adsorbent. It does in fact absorb more than 5X its weight in water, which is what I measured testing the unknown material back then.”

Bob Lazar

Bigelow confirmed to Mystery Wire that Lazar never claimed the aerogel was the mysterious Element 115.  Bigelow says Lazar did assert the aerogel could absorb five times its weight in water. Bigelow later found a magazine article which explained the origin of aerogel, but he found no evidence aerogel was highly absorbent.   This confusion is the source of allegations that Bigelow parted ways with Lazar because Lazar lied to him about aerogel being Element 115.  In reality, this never happened and now, Bigelow has set the record straight.

According to NASA, “aerogels are among the lightest solid materials known to man. They are created by combining a polymer with a solvent to form a gel, and then removing the liquid from the gel and replacing it with air. Aerogels are extremely porous and very low in density. They are solid to the touch. This translucent material is considered one of the finest insulation materials available.”

Robert Bigelow answered questions about Lazar and other topics he’s investigated over the past 30 years, in part because he is promoting his newest venture, the Bigelow Institute for Consciousness Studies, or BICS.

Bigelow, known for his funding of UFO research projects, launched the new project last week.

BICS is holding a global essay contest seeking input from scientists, religious scholars, consciousness researchers, and anyone else who can provide evidence of an afterlife.

As an incentive, BICS will award $500,000 for the top essay, $300,000 for the second best, and $150,000 for third place.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The original story was updated to add Bob Lazar’s statement about the aerogel rumors.