Aliens have long garnered the public’s fascination, whether we’re talking the big-eyed grays of Roswell or more fantastical iterations of off-planet lifeforms like Chewbacca and Spock. Between 1947 and 1969 alone, the Air Force’s top secret Project Blue Book investigated more than 12,000 UFO sightings.
Examining a timeline of these appearances reveals the evolution of ufology, from the first “Man in Black” at Maury Island, Washington, to unexplained cattle mutilations at Skinwalker Ranch, Utah. Chatter about extraterrestrials has picked up pace over the past couple years, coupled with uncharacteristic disclosure from the government.
Let’s look at the biggest UFO news and what it could mean for humanity’s relationship to the rest of the universe (and its potential inhabitants).
NASA’s Unprecedented UFO Briefing
People started using the word ufology to describe the study of UFOs somewhere between 1955 and 1960. This term is a testament to the many decades aliens have figured front and center in pop culture. Yet, despite unrelenting interest from the public, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has remained frustratingly mum on the topic.
So, it came as a huge surprise to many when NASA announced its first public UFO briefing on May 31, 2023. This meeting finally made it kosher for scientists and researchers to seriously scrutinize the potential of unidentified spacecraft. It also represented the culmination of a year’s work. The independent study team first formed in June 2022.
Researchers and scientists had mixed opinions following the event. Michael Masters of Montana Technological University explained, “I think it’s great that NASA, the U.S. Navy, and other organizations are starting to take the UFO question seriously. However, I find it strange that the U.S. Air Force, which has been openly investigating this phenomenon since the 1940s, is completely quiet on the issue in modern times.”
Despite a “meh” reaction from some, NASA did successfully promote its latest spacecraft lingo. Instead of UFOs, they’re now being called UAPs. This stands for unidentified aerial phenomena. It doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily as the original acronym. But we’ll have to watch and see whether it catches on.
Pentagon Releases Stunning UFO Videos
NASA’s UFO briefing followed fast on the heels of several other remarkable disclosures. These included the late April release of three so-called UFO videos by the Pentagon. In one video from 2004, two Navy fighter pilots filmed a round object hovering over the water roughly 100 miles off the Pacific Coast. And another from 2015 showed unidentified objects spinning through the air. This garnered the admiration of one pilot who exclaimed, “Look at that thing, dude! It’s rotating!”
Why did the Pentagon decide to release these videos now? By its own admission, it wished to avoid misconceptions about the veracity of the footage. Moreover, the Department of Defense (DOD) noted, “The aerial phenomena observed in the videos remain characterized as ‘unidentified.’”
When it comes to strange “aircraft” soaring through the upper atmosphere in the Pentagon’s recent video releases, theories abound. Nevertheless, the aircraft in question appears to defy the very laws of physics. This has left many who watch the videos scratching their heads.
UFO Reports From Service Members Skyrocket
NASA briefings and Pentagon releases aside, America’s service members have also become more vocal about UAP sightings. A recently declassified American government document reveals soldiers reported 510 UFO sightings, up from 144 in 2021. Perhaps more shocking was the fact many of these encounters took place in sensitive or restricted airspace.
As a result, some argue getting to the bottom of these UAP sightings is paramount to national security. But there are sometimes other explanations for the phenomena. These include everything from mistaken drone sightings to the all-too-familiar “weather balloon” alibi.
But not every UAP experience can be excused away so easily. According to the report, 177 of the sightings fall under the larger umbrella of “uncharacterized and unattributed” phenomena. In other words, researchers couldn’t obtain enough data to come to any definitive conclusions. The report corroborates this: “Some of these uncharacterized UAP appear to have demonstrated unusual flight characteristics or performance capabilities and require further analysis.”
By Engrid Barnett, contributor for Ripleys.com