We should take the UFO sightings seriously, says NASA physicist and researcher
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We should take the UFO sightings seriously, says NASA physicist and researcher

In the article, NASA physicist and researcher, Kevin Knuth, argues that general skepticism about extraterrestrial ships is no longer sustainable. Are we alone? Unfortunately, none of the answers seem satisfactory. Being alone in this vast universe is a solitary prospect. On the other hand, if we are not alone and there is someone or something more powerful out there, this is also terrifying. As a research scientist at NASA and now a professor of physics, I participated in the 2002 NASA Contact Conference, which focused on serious speculations about extraterrestrials. During the meeting, a concerned participant said aloud and in a sinister tone:

You have absolutely no idea what's out there!

The silence was palpable when the truth of that assertion entered everyone's head. Humans fear extraterrestrials by visiting Earth. Perhaps fortunately, the distances between the stars are prohibitively vast. At least that's what we rookies are just learning to travel into space, we tell ourselves. I've always been interested in UFOs. Of course, there was the thrill that there could be aliens and other worlds alive. But more exciting for me was the possibility that interstellar travel was technologically achievable. In 1988, during my second week of graduate school at Montana State University, several students and I were discussing a recent cattle mutilation that was associated with UFOs. A physics teacher joined the conversation and told us that he had colleagues working at the Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana (USA), where they were having problems with UFOs that shut down nuclear missiles. At the time, I thought this professor was talking nonsense. But 20 years later, I was surprised to see a recording of a press conference with several former members of the US Air Force, with a couple from Malmstrom AFB, describing similar occurrences in the years 60. Clearly there must be something going on. With the 2nd day of July being the World UFO Day, it is a good time for society to address the unsettling and refreshing fact that we may not be alone. I believe we need to face the possibility that some of the strange flying objects that surpass the best aircraft in our inventory and challenge the explanations may indeed be visitors from afar – and there is much evidence to support the UFO sightings.

UFOs, taboo for professional scientists

When it comes to science, the scientific method requires the hypothesis to be testable so that inferences can be verified. Encounters with UFOs are neither controllable nor repetitive, which makes their study extremely challenging. But the real problem, in my opinion, is that the subject of UFOs is taboo. While the general public has been fascinated with UFOs for decades, our governments, scientists and media have essentially declared that all UFO sightings are the result of meteorological phenomena or human actions; None of them are actually extraterrestrial spacecraft; And no alien has visited Earth. Essentially, we are told that the topic is absurd. UFOs are outside the bounds of a serious scientific study and rational discussions, which unfortunately leave the topic in the domain of marginal and pseudo, many of whom contaminate the field with conspiracy theories and absurd speculation. I think UFO skepticism has become a sort of religion with an agenda, discounting the possibility of extraterrestrials without scientific evidence, while often providing silly hypotheses describing only one or two aspects of a UFO encounter, Reinforcing the popular belief that there is a conspiracy. A scientist should consider every possible hypothesis that explains all the data and, as little is known, the extraterrestrial hypothesis cannot yet be discarded. In the end, skeptics often render a disservice to science by providing a bad example of how science should be conducted. The fact is that many of these encounters – still a very small percentage of the total – defy the conventional explanation. The media broadens skepticism by publishing information about UFOs when it is exciting, but always with a mocking or capricious tone, and assuring the public that this cannot be true. But there are witnesses and reliable encounters.

Why don't astronomers see UFOs?

I am often asked by friends and colleagues: ' Why do astronomers not see UFOs? ' The fact is they do. In 1977, Peter Sturrock, professor of space science and Astrophysics at Stanford University, sent 2,611 questionnaires on UFO sightings to members of the American Astronomical Society. He received 1,356 replies, of which 62 astronomers – 4.6% – reported witnessing or recording unexplained aerial phenomena. This rate is similar to the approximately 5% of UFO sightings that are never explained. As expected, Sturrock discovered that astronomers who witnessed UFOs were more likely to be observers of the night sky. More than 80% of Sturrock's respondents were willing to study the UFO phenomenon if there was a way to do it. More than half of them thought the subject was worth studying, against 20% that they didn't think they should. The research also revealed that younger scientists were more likely to support the study of UFOs. UFOs were observed through telescopes. I know a telescope sighting made by an experienced amateur astronomer, in which he observed a guitar pick-shaped object moving through the telescope's field of vision. Other sightings are documented in the book "Wonders in the Sky", in which the authors compiled numerous observations of unexplained aerial phenomena made by astronomers and published in scientific journals over the years 1700 and 1800.

Evidence of government and military authorities

Some of the most compelling observations came from government officials. In 1997, the Chilean Government formed the organization Committee for Abnormal Air Phenomena studies, or CEFAA, to study UFOs. Last year, CEFAA released images of a UFO captured with an Wescam infrared camera mounted on a helicopter.

Document released describing the sighting of a UFO in December 1977 in Bahia, a state of northern Brazil. Credit: National Archive

The countries Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Ecuador, France, New Zealand, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom have been releasing their previously secret UFO files since 2008. The French Committee for in-depth studies, or comet, was an unofficial UFO study group composed of high-level scientists and military officers who studied UFOs in the late 90. They released the comet report, which summarized their findings. They concluded that 5% of the encounters were reliable, but unexplained: the best available hypothesis was that the ships observed were extraterrestrial. They also accused the United States of covering up UFO evidence. Iran has been concerned about spherical UFOs observed near nuclear power installations that they call ' CIA drones ', which supposedly have about 10 meters in diameter, can reach speeds up to Mach 10, and can leave the atmosphere. Such speeds are on par with the fastest experimental aircraft, but unthinkable for a sphere with no support surfaces or an obvious propulsion mechanism. In December 2017, the New York Times published a report on the Advanced Aviation Threat identification Program, which was a US $22 million program administered by former Pentagon officer Luis Elizondo and aimed to study UFOs. Elizondo resigned from executing the program protesting the extreme secrecy and lack of funding and support. After his resignation, Elizondo, along with several other members of the defense and intelligence community, were recruited by to the stars Academy, recently established by Tom Delonging to study UFOs and Interstellar voyages. In conjunction with the launch of the Academy, the Pentagon disqualified and released three videos of UFO encounters made with front-view infrared cameras mounted on F-18 fighter jets. Although there is much excitement with such disclosures, I recall a quote from the colonel of the retired Army John Alexander:

The uncovering has already happened… I have piles of generals, including Soviet generals, who say UFOs are real. My point is, how many times do senior employees need to introduce themselves and say that this is real?

A topic worthy of serious study

There's a lot of evidence that a small percentage of these UFO sightings are unidentified structured ships, displaying flight capabilities beyond any known human technology. Although there is not a single case for which there is evidence that resists scientific rigour, there are cases with simultaneous observations by several reliable witnesses, along with radar returns and photographic evidence that reveal patterns of activity that are Convincing. Disqualified information from occult studies is interesting, but it's not scientifically useful. This is a topic worthy of open scientific research, until there is a scientific consensus based on evidence and not in previous expectations or beliefs. If in fact there are extraterrestrial ships visiting Earth, it would be very beneficial for us to know them, their nature and their intention. In addition, this would represent a great opportunity for humanity, promising to expand and advance our knowledge and technology, as well as reformulate our understanding of our place in the universe. -Kevin Knuth (source)

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