Syfy Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View

U.S. Defense Department to investigate UFO sightings going back to 1945

Are we alone?

By Cassidy Ward
RESIDENT ALIEN Season 2 Episode 16

SYFY’s own Resident Alien (now streaming on Peacock!), based on the comic book of the same name, stars Alan Tudyk as the titular visitor, an extraterrestrial creature on a mission to wipe out humanity. At first, the alien believes that wiping out humanity is the best thing for the planet as a whole, but after taking a human form and experiencing human emotion, the alien starts to second guess jump starting the apocalypse.

Despite looking like your typical gray aliens, with a bulbous head and over-sized eyes, the alien (whose real name is unpronounceable) appears to almost everyone as Harry Vanderspeigle, a local medical examiner. His success at existing among humans without being identified, captured, and dissected, hinges on his ability to blend into the crowd, something he does with varying success.

It makes for a rich science fiction premise with plenty of room for comedy, conflict and adventure, but Resident Alien also leans on beliefs that the majority of Americans harbor, even if they don’t often speak of them openly. According to the Pew Research Center, roughly two thirds of Americans believe that intelligent alien life exists elsewhere in the universe. Moreover, 11% are certain that reports of UFOs are evidence of alien life and an additional 40% are uncertain but believe UFOs are probably evidence of aliens. Which causes us to wonder: Could intelligent aliens be hanging out on our planet in secret? And is there really anything to sightings of so-called unidentified flying objects?

Over the last several years, the general sentiment from the United States government, with regard to UFOs, has shifted from outright denial to more transparent investigation, out in the open. In June of 2021, the United States government released an unclassified preliminary report looking into 144 sightings reported by military pilots since 2004.

That report provided an explanation for only one of the reported sightings, while the other 143 remained unidentified and unexplained. Over the next year, officials revisited those reports and came back with more answers on Halloween of 2022. Some sightings were identified as drones – something which has become more common in recent years – while others were identified as balloons or airborne trash.

Now, the Department of Defense’s annual spending bill provides a glimpse into the future of UFO investigation. According to the budget, which was signed into law by President Biden in December 2022, the department is required to review UFO sightings dating from the New Mexico desert, circa 1945.

Most of you are familiar with New Mexico’s history with aliens. The incident at Roswell, New Mexico in the summer of 1947 remains one of the critical moments in the history of the extraterrestrial narrative in the United States. The appearance of metallic debris and the response from the United States government both at the time and years later, sparked rumors of alien visitation and maybe even the recovery of extraterrestrial bodies from an alien craft. According to the U.S., those sightings were really the remains of secret government spying equipment; entirely human made. And their efforts to cover up what happened in Roswell were only their clumsy efforts to keep their spying equipment secret. Fair enough.

UFO Flying Low

While Roswell is often cited as the event which sparked the modern fascination with UFOs and alien visitation, it turns out there were other sightings in the same area, two years earlier. The amendment in the nearly billion dollar spending bill requires that the Department of Defense review the records of those sightings. According to the New York Times, the sightings involved a large avocado or egg-shaped object which struck a communications tower in the desert in what became known as the Trinity Incident. Some reports also indicated the presence of “little creatures” accompanying the object. The Times also notes that the sightings took place only a moth after the first atomic bomb was set off at the same location.

“The American public can reasonably expect to get some answers to questions that have been burning in the minds of millions of Americans for many years. If nothing else, this should either clear up something that’s been a cloud hanging over the Air Force and Department of Defense for decades or it might lead in another direction, which could be truly incredible. There’s a lot at stake,” said Christopher Mellon, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence, via the New York Times.

This comes on the heels of the government’s recent investigations into what they have deemed Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP). By taking the investigation back to its beginning in the mid-'40s, we might be able to get a more comprehensive picture of UAPs in the U.S.

In July 2022, the Department of Defense established the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office, charged with working with other federal departments and agencies to detect and identify “objects of interest” around military installations, special airspace, or other areas of interest. The recently signed spending bill also requires that this department be fully staffed. And that office will have plenty to do.

RELATED: Searching for extraterrestrial intelligence, the science behind 'Contact'

The department won’t be looking only at the 1945 sightings. According to the NY Post, they’ll be reviewing all sightings dating back to Jan. 1, 1945. At present, the deadline for their report is June 2024. That report is in addition to a requirement that the department produce an annual report outlining any new sightings from the present year.

Their report will include an assessment of times the intelligence community was involved with UAPs in the past, with a particular focus on times which haven’t previously been disclosed to the public. It must also identify prior cover-up attempts by government authorities. In total, we should be getting a full account of the government’s involvement with UFOs over the last 80 years or so.

It’s possible, of course, that the accounting will include the confession of continued alien cooperation we’ve all been hoping for, but that’s unlikely. The truth is probably much more mundane and will serve only to eliminate the portion of sightings we can readily explain. What’s left over will remain unexplained and, probably, unexplainable. We’re going to just have to be okay with a certain amount of mystery in our lives and the outside possibility that aliens have arrived and are manipulating us – for good or ill – in the background.

While we await their report, you can prepare for the worst with Alien Invasion: Are We Ready?, streaming now on Peacock! Or prepare for a much funnier visitation in Resident Alien!