The beginning of this summer was an exciting time for Americans who want to believe that the unidentified foreign objects our military planes keep observing during flights over American airspace may have extraterrestrial origins. In May, intelligence whistleblower David Grusch claimed there was a great conspiracy within the government to hide evidence of alien technology and remains — only he hadn’t actually seen any of it. Nevertheless, two months later, Grusch and former pilots who had observed UFOs in the skies appeared before Congress. Grusch’s claims helped renew official interest in the matter with several senators saying that they believed in a cover-up. But without concrete evidence, Grusch has resorted to broadcasting his ideas on comedy and pop-culture YouTube channels. And one of the pilots who testified before the House in July appeared before Mexico’s Congress on the same day that a clearly fake alien was presented to lawmakers there as real.
More bad news for true believers came on Thursday when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration released its report on unidentified foreign objects — and did not find any evidence of an extraterrestrial source for what the government refers to as unidentified aerial phenomena. “At this point, there is no reason to conclude that existing UAP reports have an extraterrestrial source,” the report states.
The 36-page document was the result of a months-long investigation by an independent panel at NASA, which involved 16 scientists and other experts, including retired astronaut Scott Kelly. The team investigated prior UFO observations to determine their origin, finding that it is “increasingly clear that the majority of UAP observations can be attributed to known phenomena or occurrences.” The team frequently found that objects that looked like flying saucers in grainy videos were in fact terrestrial aircraft with distortions attributed to the effects of video compression. The report also states that human error to properly understand the actual velocity and acceleration of aircraft results in false diagnoses. (Skeptics have long said that pilots misapprehending the speed of other airborne objects are the source of the claims of impossibly high-speed craft.)
“The NASA independent study team did not find any evidence that UAP have an extraterrestrial origin,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson said on Thursday in a press conference announcing the report. “But we don’t know what these UAP are,” he added, acknowledging the many terrestrial incidents that the team was not able to explain. To shift from “sensationalism to science,” Nelson announced that NASA will appoint a director of UAP research. The new role is tasked with “developing and overseeing the implementation of NASA’s vision of UAP research” and to work with other agencies to “search the skies for anomalies.”