US intelligence officials on Monday delivered to Congress an updated report on UFO sightings, parts of which are expected to be declassified and made available online later this week. This is the latest in a series of investigations by respected American institutions that have made UFOs known.
The latest dossier from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) offers an update to a 2021 report that investigated 144 unexplained sightings between 2004 and 2021 by US government sources, including military personnel.
If the 2021 report, it marked a change in attitude towards what is officially called Unexplained Aerial Phenomena (FAI). Since then, the discussions have accelerated.
This week’s report is the first in a series of annual dossiers promised in the US defense bill from 2022 to 2026. At a congressional hearing in the spring of 2022 – the first on the FAI since major government investigations in 1969 – Pentagon officials said the number of incidents being investigated had risen to more than 400.
In July 2022, Harvard University also commemorated the first anniversary of its Galileo Project, which aims to transform the search for extraterrestrial life “from accidental or anecdotal observations and legends to the mainstream of transparent, validated, and systematic scientific research.” .
In October, NASA launched its own independent study of “observations of events in the sky that cannot be identified as aircraft or known natural phenomena.” He says this study will lay the groundwork for future research by identifying how unclassified data collected by civilians, organizations, the government, and other sources can be analyzed “to shed light on IAFs.”
The search for answers in the cosmos seems to have begun in earnest. “If there’s something interesting out there, I think we’ll know very soon. There’s the potential for real scientific discovery,” says Michael A. Garrett, Sir Bernard Lovell Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Manchester and director of the Center for Astrophysics. Jodrell Bank Astrophysics.
“It looked like a peppermint candy.”
The renewed interest in IAFs was sparked by a series of high-profile sightings by US military personnel. One of the most talked about is an encounter with a “tick-tock-shaped” object, a popular peppermint candy.
“It looked like a small, large-scale mint candy — white, oblong, with no apparent flight control surfaces, no apparent physical means of propulsion,” said retired US Navy Lieutenant Commander Alex Dietrich, one of the members of the crew that sighted the object during a military training mission. He told ‘PBS’ in 2001: “It was moving in a way that we didn’t recognize and couldn’t classify.”
No explanations have been given. In the 2021 ODNI report, analysts were only able to explain one of the 144 reported FAI sightings, which turned out to be a large deflated balloon.
In the 2022 update, half of a total of 366 cases remain unexplained. Those that can be explained are widely believed to be space debris or foreign spyware, mostly from China.
Congress has been quick to deny that its FAI investigations have anything to do with the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life, focusing instead on the potential risk of unknown technologies from other countries entering US airspace.
NASA also states that it is conducting its study for “air safety and scientific purposes.” But the lack of official answers leaves fertile ground for long-established conspiracy theories to thrive.
In recent years, UFO sightings by amateurs have also increased. Data from the database of the National UFO Reporting Center, a Washington-based NGO, shows that sightings reached an all-time high in the United States in April 2020.
It is no accident that amateur sightings peaked during the early Covid-19 lockdowns in America. “The popularity of conspiracy theories rises and falls with social unrest and debates in society,” says Sander van der Linden, professor of psychology at the University of Cambridge and author of “FOOLPROOF: Why We Fall for Misinformation.” .
“Keep an open mind”
However, doubts about the government’s transparency when it comes to FAIs are not entirely misplaced. UFO conspiracy theories were fostered by the Cold War government, keen to maintain an air of mystery around US espionage programs being tested near Roswell, New Mexico. In 2017, the Pentagon was found to be running a $22 million secret program investigating FAIs.
With promises of declassification of information, the new investigations seem to point to greater transparency.
They could also address more direct reasons for the seemingly unexplained sightings: poor-quality data in the form of blurry photos and low-resolution video. “Currently the evidence is very poorly presented and doesn’t have any associated technical specifications. What we really need is real scientific data and analysis,” says Garrett.
With high-quality cameras capturing purposeful images, there is the potential for all kinds of new discoveries. “It could be meteorites entering the Earth’s atmosphere, satellites going out of orbit… who knows, there may be natural phenomena that are discovered,” adds Garrett. “It’s important to keep an open mind.”
In this spirit, finding proof of alien existence might not be high on the agenda, but NASA, at least, hasn’t ruled out the possibility. “There is no proof that the FAI is extraterrestrial,” he said of his investigation. “Nevertheless, NASA is exploring the solar system and beyond to help us answer fundamental questions, including whether we are alone in the universe.”
*This is an article adapted from its original French version
#Possibility #true #scientific #discovery #increases #investigations #UFOs