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U.S. Government reportedly finds UFOs are more likely to be airborne trash than aliens

Okay, but maybe it's extraterrestrial trash. Did anyone think about that?

UFO Flying Low

Considering that many abduction stories involve terror, confusion, probes, and experimentation, people are wild about UFOs. Flip through the TV channels at any given time and you’re likely to come upon someone talking about alien ships or technology. UFO Chronicles (now streaming on Peacock) is one such documentary style show, detailing the accounts of UFO and alien encounters. According to government officials, however, these unidentified flying objects are actually pretty mundane.

In June of 2021, government officials released a preliminary report on UFO sightings which didn’t have a lot of answers. In total, 144 sightings were investigated and only one of them could be explained. Now, government officials have a few more answers. On Halloween of this year, intelligence officials reportedly delivered a classified document to Congress updating that initial report. While we haven’t yet seen the report, The New York Times spoke with individuals familiar with the findings.

The United States government has gotten away from calling these sightings UFOs, largely because of the loaded cultural connotations which come along with that name. Instead, they have begun referring to them as UAPs, short for unidentified aerial phenomena. It’s the same thing really, just a new acronym.

In recent years, the government has taken a keener interest in these unusual sightings and put together commissions to figure out what’s flying in our skies once and for all. If you were waiting for the big reveal that aliens are in fact visiting our planet to see what we’re about, share their technology, and invite us to their pizza parties, you’re going to be disappointed. Their findings have less to do with alien armadas or experiments on cows and more to do with ordinary objects viewed in unusual contexts.

According to the Times report, some of the sightings were determined to be ordinary drones, something which is likely to become more common as the technology becomes more ubiquitous. The object over your neighborhood isn’t an anthropomorphic cephalopod from Gamma-6, it’s just Timmy from next door with his new toy. It isn’t all boring though. Some of the drones were identified as spying devices from foreign nations, which is a little spicier than the weather balloon explanations we’ve received in the past. Although, there were some of those as well.

Some of the sightings have been identified as balloons, the classic cover story for alien visitation. Whether those balloons were used for weather forecasting or spying is unclear. In the year since the preliminary report was released, government officials have continued to collect sightings mostly from military personnel and most of those have had mundane terrestrial explanations. Drones, balloons, or airborne trash floating wildly on the wind. But many of the older sightings remain unsolved. That’s likely a consequence of a lack of sufficient data to make a determination one way or another. For those older sightings that’s unlikely to change. A grainy video remains a grainy video. It’s worth noting that unexplained means exactly that and we should be careful not to force an outlandish explanation not supported by the evidence. Intelligence officials remain steadfast that there is no evidence of alien visitation.

Despite these efforts to explain what people are seeing, conspiracy theories about visiting extraterrestrials remain popular in the public consciousness. That’s a result of several factors, including the ordinary subterfuge which surrounds these kinds of events.

In the past, UAPs have been the result of classified technologies or spying efforts from other countries, both of which are scenarios the government has an interest in obscuring. We don’t want other people to know what we’re working on, and we don’t want them to know that we know they’re spying. But those efforts go a long way toward fueling conspiracy theories. True believers are often right that the government is hiding something, but they’re probably wrong about what. The other factor, and maybe the most important one, is pure human nature. Alien visitation is just more interesting than a rogue weather balloon and some atmospheric distortion (unless, of course, that atmospheric distortion is caused by a UFO).

It's for those reasons that belief in alien visitation is probably here to stay, even when the alien crafts turn out to be sky trash. 

Suddenly in the mood for some alien encounters? The first two seasons of Resident Alien are now available to stream on the SYFY app and Peacock.

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