One of the unidentified sightings. ARCHIVE
The US government remains unanswered for the vast majority of unidentified aerial phenomenon events recorded for nearly two decades and investigated by a Pentagon team that published its search report on Friday, a result that is likely to fuel theories about alien visitors.
A total of 143 reports gathered since 2004 remain unexplained, according to the document made public by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Among them, 21 are records of unknown phenomena, including 18 cases possibly showing technological capabilities unknown to the United States: objects moving without observable propulsion or with acceleration greater than the known capabilities of Russia, China or other advanced nations. However, the report states that a more rigorous analysis of these episodes is necessary.
There is no evidence that any of these cases are related to secret US weapons programs, unknown technology in the possession of Russia or China, or even less so, aliens. However, the government report did not rule out any of these explanations. The nine-page document essentially refuses to draw any conclusions, announcing that available reports are “very inconclusive,” and warning that limited and inconsistent data posed a significant challenge in assessing the results. events.
The report explains that the number of sightings was too limited to run a detailed pattern analysis. In addition, although these tended to appear in the vicinity of military training complexes or testing grounds, the report revealed that it could be a case of bias in the timing of the collection of cases, or that the presence of sensor devices of avant-garde in those areas could also have played a role.
Officials laid out a plan to develop, if sufficient funding is provided, a better program to observe and collect data on future unexplained phenomena.
The failure to reach conclusions about the unidentified episodes raised questions about how seriously the government had taken these reports so far, as well as whether an adequate team of scientific experts had been created to examine them. Officials said there was insufficient information to draw any conclusions, but scientists and amateur enthusiasts alike have ventured explanations ranging from the mundane to the extraterrestrial, and the report doesn’t do much to rule out their theories.
Government officials who spoke Friday were reluctant to acknowledge the possibility that the phenomena were alien technology, a sign of how unlikely they see such an explanation. There was no evidence in the report that the unexplained episodes were of extraterrestrial manufacture, but since the government has offered no alternative justifications, it may well fuel many of the UFO fan theories.
Among the unexplained incidents are three high-profile videos of aerial phenomena taken by the US Navy and witnessed by pilots in recent years. The report made public on Friday is tentative, as former officials associated with the Pentagon examination assumed that this would initially treat Congress’s request to submit a declassified report on what is known about UFOs.
The Government’s intention is to give a report to Congress in 90 days on the efforts to develop an improved data collection strategy and what they call a technical roadmap for the creation of technology that allows better observation of the phenomena, according to officials declared this Friday. They also added that, in addition, they would keep legislators up to date on developments.
Work is underway to both dampen public enthusiasm and remove the stigma associated with UFOs, thus pushing pilots to report their sightings and scientists to study them.
The new report outlines five categories of possible explanations: secret technology developed by rival powers such as Russia or China, top secret US technology, natural phenomena, aerial disorders such as lost weather balloons, and ‘other’. The final group includes extraterrestrial technology. However, of all the episodes examined by the team in charge of the work, only one could be identified and categorized, a “large balloon deflating”, which was classified as an aerial disorder.
The officials did not comment on the unexplained incidents showing objects that are part of a foreign intelligence-gathering program or a technological breakthrough from a potential rival, nor were they able to confirm that any of them were part of a program of the US government or defense industry. However, the report also does not completely rule out Russian or Chinese creations or a secret US program.
The report was made public because of a question from Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, the Republican leader of the Senate Intelligence Committee, about a large spending bill passed by Congress.
“The Department of Defense and the intelligence community have a lot of work ahead of them before we can really understand if these aerial threats present a serious national security problem,” Rubio said.
Among the incidents examined by the team there are “no clear indications that there is an alien explanation,” an official said in his statement, adding that the government would go “as far as the data takes us.” The report sidesteps any real discussion of the possibility that the unexplained phenomena have an extraterrestrial nature. The spokesman assured that the purpose of the study was not to search for extraterrestrial life, something that is the responsibility of NASA. Perhaps as a result, the officials assured that in the future they would focus solely on observing the phenomena without trying to communicate with the objects.
Most of the episodes investigated by the government were recorded by the Navy. While the Air Force has tried in recent decades to stay away from taking UFO reports, uncomfortable with its own past, it finally kicked off a revamped data collection program in 2020.
Officials said that, on further examination, the 21 reports showing unusual acceleration or movement could turn out to have a natural explanation. Government analysts have reviewed the cameras and sensors that took the records for possible errors. These were typically devices “poorly adept at identifying” unknown phenomena, according to the report.
There are plausible, albeit stretched, explanations for all the Navy records that are nonetheless more likely than some extraordinary technology, said Mick West, a science writer focused on debunking conspiracy theories. In a video, a rapid movement of the object can be attributed to a turn in the camera. In another, an object that appears to be moving fast is actually moving much more slowly when trigonometric calculations are applied to the image. Another image of a rapidly spinning object above the clouds is caused by an infrared flash, West explained.
The report appears to give at least a partial vote of confidence in West’s explanations, stating that the viewpoint of sensors capturing images or other data is important in determining whether an object “displays breakthrough aerospace capabilities.”
“They’re not making any big claims, they’re saying that some of the things they see seem to show unusual behavior and need to be studied further,” West said. “Obviously they’re not saying they’re aliens, it doesn’t go that way.”
Late on Friday, the Pentagon announced it would develop procedures to collect data and analyze reports of unidentified phenomena, adding more manpower and resources to examine episodes. This might require outside experts, but scientists, who have long avoided studying UFO sightings, probably won’t be easily swayed. “No one wants to risk being insulted by believers, or ignored by their peers,” said Chris Impey, a professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona. “If the Pentagon or the government needs scientific help and provides data and some resources, people would get involved.”