“As all regions below are replenished with living creatures... so may the heavens above be replenished with beings whose nature we do not understand.” – Sir Isaac Newton
We all want to believe that there are other intelligent, technologically-advanced civilizations somewhere in our galaxy. Considering the Milky Way contains 100-400 billion stars and trillions of planets, it would seem inevitable that life should have arisen somewhere else; it would be arguably more shocking if humanity was revealed to be alone in the Universe. And while projects like the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence or SETI, which has been listening for alien signals for nearly half a century, have yet to detect an artificial signal from another planet, reports of strange aerial craft and “close encounters” continue to be reported all over the world. Although most sightings can be attributed to misidentification, about 5 percent have no conventional explanation.
The United States government has been officially cataloging and investigating Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) since July 1947, when something crashed in the desert outside Roswell, New Mexico. While initial reports claimed that a “flying saucer” and bodies were recovered by the Air Force, the official government explanation attributed the crash to a weather balloon. The Roswell incident (though an ex-Air Force official claims that there were two crashes that day) spurred decades of conspiracies about coverups and secret projects. The US government has since consistently denied any knowledge of life or technology from outside our planet.
Roswell Daily Record, July 8, 1947 (Credit: Source)
But it’s 2017, and what is reality anymore; a former top Pentagon official is claiming we may not be alone after all, and this time, the Pentagon isn’t denying anything.
Following the release of a stunning recording of a military encounter with a UAP, in which Navy pilots can be heard marveling at a “whole fleet” of objects with speeds, shapes, and trajectories far beyond human technological capability, the Pentagon confirmed the existence of the top-secret Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program.
Between 2007 and 2012, the Pentagon documented thousands of reports of UAPs, claims Luis Elizondo, the program’s former director. In October, Elizondo resigned in protest over the secrecy of and internal opposition to the program. Elizondo is convinced that "there is very compelling evidence that we may not be alone," as he stated in an interview with CNN. Even more amazingly, Elizondo and his team concluded that some of the phenomena they investigated could not be explained by any known technology, stating “these aircraft—we'll call them aircraft—are displaying characteristics that are not currently within the US inventory nor in any foreign inventory that we are aware of… that fact is not something any government or institution should classify in order to keep secret from the people,” he added. In a separate statement, Elizondo added UAPs “did not exhibit overt hostility,” indicating that whatever these objects are and who or whatever is operating them are not a danger.
In an eye-opening exposé, the New York Times revealed that some of the aspects of the program are ongoing and that Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace provided the funding and bulk of the research. Bigelow Aerospace’s billionaire CEO, Robert Bigelow, whom NASA consults for technologies to further human spaceflight, claimed he is “absolutely convinced” that aliens are real and that they have had an ongoing presence on Earth. According to contracts obtained by the New York Times, records “show a congressional appropriation of just under $22 million beginning in late 2008 through 2011. The money was used for management of the program, research and assessments of the threat posed by the objects.”
Former Senator and UFO enthusiast Harry Reid started the program, which siphoned $22 million per year out of the annual $600 billion defense budget. "I'm proud of this program and its groundbreaking studies speak for themselves," Senator Reid said in a December statement. "It is silly and counterproductive to politicize the serious scientific questions raised by the work of this program, which was funded on a bipartisan basis.”
The Pentagon has declined further comment on the program’s current activity. While these reports are sure to fuel more claims of cover-ups and government secrecy, could the truth about extraterrestrials be on the horizon?
Battle of Los Angeles, 1942 (Credit: Source)
For believers and UFO/UAP researchers, this is a really big deal, as the secrecy surrounding these phenomena continues to be a top priority for the United States government. Top secret black budget military projects are nothing new; the Manhattan Project (the creation of the atomic bomb) and the development of the SR-71 Blackbird were two of the most highly-classified endeavors of the 20th century. In the information age, however, keeping the truth about aliens and UAPs may not be feasible long-term.
In 1952, the US government initiated Project Blue Book, which investigated thousands of UFO sightings and alleged close encounters with extraterrestrial beings. Of the 12,618 cases examined by Project Blue Book, 701 remain unexplained, according to the United States Air Force. Project Blue Book was shut down in 1969, and despite the government’s assertion that they found no evidence of anything other-worldly, its acknowledgment of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program shows that the government’s interest in these mysterious objects is still a priority. The United States continues to lead the world in secrecy surrounding the question of UAPs.
Could "Disclosure" be on the horizon?
"Disclosure" is the term used for the moment the US and/or other world government(s) reveal to the public the truth they have allegedly been hiding surrounding the UFO phenomenon. "The Disclosure Project "is a research project working to fully disclose the facts about UFOs, extraterrestrial intelligence, and classified advanced energy and propulsion systems. We have over 500 government, military, and intelligence community witnesses testifying to their direct, personal, first-hand experience with UFOs, ETs, ET technology, and the cover-up that keeps this information secret." Founded in 1993 by trauma surgeon and UFO researcher Dr. Steven Greer, The Disclosure Project is the most prominent UFO truth-seeking organization in the world. Through documentaries and media events, Greer has provided the public with incredible testimony from extraordinarily distinguished individuals as well as evidence that defies conventional explanation.
The 2017 documentary Unacknowledged probes deeply into the Disclosure Project. "Unacknowledged focuses on the historic files of the Disclosure Project and how UFO secrecy has been ruthlessly enforced-and why," explains IMDB. "The best evidence for extraterrestrial contact, dating back decades, is presented with direct top-secret witness testimony, documents and UFO footage, 80% of which has never been revealed anywhere else."
Unacknowledged may seem like conspiracy-theory-central at face value, but any documentary with Giancarlo Esposito narrating must be legit, right? It's also important to note that The Disclosure Project does not ask for money; all of the research, testimony, and media are available for free to anyone. Instead, support comes from the willingness of believers and skeptics to participate in the discussion, ask questions, and share content.
It goes without saying that Greer's endeavor is controversial, given the ridicule-inviting taboo topic that is UFOs. But its mission is as valid as any other campaign; government accountability and, most importantly, the truth. If ETs are visiting Earth, the people have a right to know.
"I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world.” – President Ronald Reagan
The confirmation of life beyond Earth would surely be the most significant and transformative scientific discovery of all time. What would happen if humanity were told the truth? Should extraterrestrials be feared, or should inhabitants of Earth welcome them? Could their presence be, in some sense, a way to help us?
It seems unlikely that creatures capable of interstellar travel would come all this way just to pick a fight with a civilization that has no chance of defending itself. And any such interstellar society would have the means to find and generate resources without having to take over other planets. Considering the technological risks and requirements associated with traversing the galaxy, any capable species that didn’t wipe themselves out should have reached a certain societal maturity. Additionally, if aliens are here and wanted to destroy us, it’s safe to assume we wouldn’t even see it coming, and reasonable to believe that if destruction were their intent, we’d already be gone.
It is, therefore, reasonable to conclude that extraterrestrials would come to learn about humanity and help guide it into the future. Circumstantial evidence of this is two-fold: 1) Earth has never come under attack by an extraterrestrial entity, despite thousands of years of documented sightings and encounters, and 2) reports by US military pilots that unexplained aircraft deactivated nuclear missiles. In 1967, Air Force Captain Robert Salas reported a mysterious craft hovering over Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. "I was on duty when an object came over and hovered directly over the site,” Captain Salas stated. "The missiles shut down — 10 Minuteman missiles. And the same thing happened at another site a week later. There's a strong interest in our missiles by these objects, wherever they come from. I personally think they're not from planet Earth."
This case, like so many others, remains unexplained. Could it be that by disabling our most powerful weapons, ETs are trying to protect us from ourselves, or even prevent humanity from becoming a threat to galactic peace?
On the other hand, humanity has been broadcasting radio signals into space for more than a century, and we’ve yet to receive a reply. After decades of scanning the heavens for broadcasts from other worlds, we’ve heard nothing. It’s possible that extraterrestrials intentionally hide their presence like humans do while spying on adversaries. It’s also possible that SETI and other programs designed for detecting alien signals simply haven’t been listening long enough, or to enough frequencies. Perhaps most disturbing is the chance, however small it may be, that we really are alone. In the words of author Arthur C. Clarke, “two possibilities exist. Either we’re alone in the Universe or we aren’t. Both are equally terrifying.”