Experts weigh in on upcoming Pentagon UFO report
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Tribune News Service) — Have you seen an unexplainable flying object?
Do you believe alien spacecraft exist?
Would you like answers?
The Pentagon is expected to release its findings of what it knows about unidentified flying objects, or unexplained aerial phenomena (UAPs), on June 25.
The University of Colorado produced similar government-commissioned reports on UFOs in the 1960s, likely with similar findings.
A New York Times article from June 3, citing anonymous officials familiar with the report, said it reveals no evidence of alien aircraft and calls the sightings unexplainable.
The UAP Task Force, which was created in August, reviewed more than 120 incidents from the past 20 years, according to the Times. Many of the incidents were reported by the U.S. Navy, including pilots who have seen and recorded unexplained flying objects.
The report says most unexplained aerial phenomena were not American military or advanced technology, according to the Times.
CU Boulder has the complete Condon Report, called “The Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects.” Edward Condon, a former physics professor, was given $300,000 to co-author a 1,000-page report between 1966 and 1968 for the U.S. Air Force.
Heather Bowden, head of Rare and Distinctive Collections at the University Libraries at CU Boulder, found his writing interesting.
“I found that Condon’s treatment of the topic was interesting and really broad-minded and compassionate to folks who were really excited about thinking that maybe there may be alien life contacting us,” she said.
“The aim was to perform an unbiased scientific investigation into those sightings and to determine if studying UFO sightings would actually add to scientific knowledge.
“They found no conclusive evidence that there have been sightings of alien-crafted UFOs but, interestingly, they did not rule out the possibility that alien life exists or that alien life could have visited our planet.”
Carol Cleland, a philosophy professor, director of CU Boulder’s Center for the Study of Origins and an affiliate of the SETI Institute — an organization with the mission to explore, understand and explain the origin and nature of life in the universe — was obsessed with UFOs in middle school. She remembers climbing on her roof in Phoenix to look through binoculars for signs of extraterrestrial life.
Cleland studies how scientific discovery throughout history has hinged on anomalies or phenomena that researchers can’t explain.
“The science tends to be, for good reason, conservative,” she said. “If every time you saw something that wasn’t easy to explain in terms of our current theories or understanding of chemistry and physics, you’d be rejecting theories right and left that are perfectly good theories. The problems have to do with other factors such as our understanding of how complex conditions interact.”
With modern instrumentation, Navy pilots have been able to record videos of unexplained flying objects.
“They have really good (visual) descriptions of the phenomena,” Cleland said. “They are behaving in ways that are just baffling: stops cold, no exhaust, takes off at right angles, moves so fast you can’t track it.
“It’s behaving, whatever this phenomenon is, in ways that are just nothing like what we have. And the idea that China and Russia has been hiding this for what, 40 or 50 years, is silly. I think the fact that the military is releasing it is a subtle sign that they are no longer worried about it.”
Cleland thinks UFOs are likely one of three things: something natural caused by weird atmospheric conditions, something that represents a hole in our current theoretical understand of atmospheric phenomenon, or technology that earthlings aren’t familiar with.
To solve the mystery, Cleland thinks a team of physicists, chemists and engineers need to sit down and look at the data to see what kind of commonalities there are.
“To explain it, you need to have the specifics,” Cleland said. “You need to analyze these cases and see what kind of specific explanations could make sense of it. And maybe you can come up with a completely natural explanation. And maybe you can’t and it is a true anomaly and then you need to do some theoretical research and some hands-on experimental research. And maybe after that … maybe the best explanation is an unknown technology.”
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