Are we alone in the universe? Statistically, mathematically, it’s unlikely. The universe cannot be entirely empty, but most of our hopes of finding aliens range from long shots to alien fish. The idea of aliens visiting Earth seems unlikely. Well, unless you’re part of the Pentagon’s alien-hunting team, which the New York Times delved into this weekend.
So has the Department of Defense found aliens or not? Well, sort of.
- The Pentagon has a vested interest in studying UFOs: Keep in mind, what we call UFOs is a very real phenomenon separate from any sort of alien-hunting. The most famous is the recently declassified Project Blue Book, and most of its explanations for UFOs was unusual weather or physical phenomena, experimental aircraft, and other slightly more prosaic explanations than aliens. But this is still stuff people who regularly fly high in the air need to know about.
- So between 2007 and 2012, a few Senators spent $22 million to investigate modern UFO reports: Honestly, this is much like Blue Book. The job of the small group, headed by a military intelligence official, was basically to investigate all the weird stuff the military comes across in the air and in space. And most of the time, it was easily explained by science. Or, at least, easy to write off as “not aliens.” Some of it, however… isn’t.
- One of the people involved in the investigation discusses “alloys” the government still can’t identify: Seriously, just check out this quote:
…buildings in Las Vegas [were modified] for the storage of metal alloys and other materials that Mr. Elizondo and program contractors said had been recovered from unidentified aerial phenomena…. “We’re sort of in the position of what would happen if you gave Leonardo da Vinci a garage-door opener,” said Harold E. Puthoff, an engineer who has conducted research on extrasensory perception for the C.I.A. and later worked as a contractor for the program. “First of all, he’d try to figure out what is this plastic stuff. He wouldn’t know anything about the electromagnetic signals involved or its function.”
- The government is fairly up front about all this, which is interesting: Several government officials were interviewed on the record for the story, and videos were released to the Times and other outlets by the military. So there’s not really a cover-up here. OR IS THERE?!
- If you want to be really paranoid about this, there is a reasonable (and scary) explanation for UFOs: other governments’ military hardware: Indeed, more than once it sounds a lot more like the military is convinced it’s got some sort of weapons system stored in a shed somewhere, with statements in the article like “the United States was incapable of defending itself against some of the technologies discovered” and “unusual aerial systems interfering with military weapon platforms and displaying beyond-next-generation capabilities.” Keep in mind, we don’t even get to look under the hood of our allies’ weapons systems, and while it’s unlikely Russia and China are creating drones and aircraft far more advanced than those of the US, other nations could be funding all sorts of weird stuff. It wasn’t so long ago that North Korea having a nuclear weapon seemed impossible. The world is a weird place.
In other words, we probably want to hope that the military has found aliens. That might turn out to be the best option