LLast year was a watershed time for UFOs, as a landmark government report prompted the possibility that extraterrestrial visitors were finally being taken seriously by everyone from senators to a former president to the Pentagon.
But 2022 could be even deeper, experts say, as the clamor for UFO disclosure and discovery continues to grow, and new science projects bring us closer than ever to the discovery – potentially – of unborn life. earthly.
In June, the Pentagon released a long-awaited report on Unexplained Aerial Phenomena (UAP), the nomenclature now preferred by some members of the extraterrestrial community, which found more than 140 cases of unexplained UAP.
The report came after leaked military footage documented seemingly otherworldly events in the skies, and after testimonies from Navy pilots helped somewhat de-stigmatize a subject that has long been defined by theories. conspiracy and dubious observations.
Overall, the newly heartfelt approach to UFOs has longtime skywatchers excited.
“I am convinced that 2022 will be an earthquake year for UFOs,” said Nick Pope, who spent the early 1990s investigating UFOs for the UK Ministry of Defence.
In Congress, where a bipartisan group of senators has been pushing for years for the government to release more information about UFOs, and with the U.S. Department of Defense and the intelligence community, Pope said he felt ” a genuine desire to seize the issue”.
“I think we’ll see congressional hearings on UFOs,” Pope said. “I also think we will see the release of more US military photos and videos of UFOs, and related documents. Some of this information may come from whistleblowers, but much of it may be released by the government. itself, either proactively or in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.
“Finally, I think we’ll see more high-calibre witnesses come forward, including commercial airline pilots, military crews, radar operators and intelligence officers with first-hand knowledge of this subject.”
It was a group of pilots who brought the issue to the fore in 2021. In a landmark interview with 60 Minutes, members of the US Navy lined up to reminisce about their experiences encountering UFOs on US shores. It happened so frequently that the encounters became commonplace, Ryan Graves, a retired Navy pilot, told the CBS show.
“Every day,” Graves said. “Every day for at least two years.”
For years, pilots had refused to share stories of their UFO experiences, worried about being called crazy or being passed over for promotion. The Navy pilots’ account was given credence, however, by leaked military footage that showed an oval flying object near a US Navy vessel off San Diego, and separate videos that showed triangular-shaped objects buzzing in the sky.
The U.S. government’s UFO report, released in June 2021, has garnered more interest. The Pentagon studied 144 incidents reported by military pilots between 2004 and 2021 while preparing the report. Officials were able to explain one of the incidents – it was a balloon – but the rest remains a mystery.
Since then, the Pentagon, pushed by US Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Marco Rubio, has launched a new office to report and analyze UFO reports, though some in the UFO community suspect the government is being less than verbose with its findings.
Yet, as the demand for information has grown, so has the interest of the scientific community, and in 2022 a host of new projects will be launched, specifically aimed at detecting extraterrestrial life.
Avi Loeb, Frank B Baird Jr. science professor at Harvard University, is behind one of them. He is the head of the Galileo project, which aims to establish a network of sophisticated telescopes that will scan the skies for extraterrestrial objects.
The privately-funded project, which involves more than 100 scientists, is building its first telescope system on the roof of Harvard University’s observatory, and it will start operating this summer. Loeb plans to make the results of the projects publicly available.
The telescope will use infrared cameras to take video of the sky 24/7, and is equipped with a radio sensor, an audio sensor and a magnetometer to detect non-visual objects. A computer will use artificial intelligence to analyze the data, ignoring objects like birds, drones, planes and meteors, and paying special attention to any objects “that are not man-made”, a said Loeb.
“We’re taking an untraveled road, so there may be fruit close at hand that no one else has picked because it hasn’t been traveled,” Loeb said.
Despite all that UFO research may become de-stigmatized, Loeb said the field is still looked down upon by some astrophysicists and other academics, which may discourage young scientists.
“I really want the next generation to be free to discuss this and make it part of the mainstream,” Loeb said. “Hopefully by getting a high resolution image of something unusual, or finding evidence, which is entirely possible in a year or two, we’ll change it.”
The Galileo project also hopes to use data collected by Planet Labs, which uses a fleet of miniature satellites to image the entire Earth once a day. By looking both up and down, the probability of discovery is increased.
The collaboration is important, Loeb said, because UFO research to date has been quixotic at best. But those who claim the lack of extraterrestrial evidence means extraterrestrial life doesn’t exist are wrong, Loeb said.
“It’s like a fisherman on the beach, looking at the ocean, saying, ‘Where are all the fish? I see nothing? “, he said. “And obviously, if you don’t use a fishing net, you won’t find anything.”
Longtime space enthusiasts are also hoping for the impact of the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most powerful of its kind, launched by NASA in December 2021. When it enters service this summer, the Webb Telescope will allow astronomers to scan the sky, peering into when the universe began to form, as well as help study exo-planets: worlds that surround other suns.
These concerted efforts could make 2022 “a banner year,” said Leonard David, author of Moon Rush: the New Space Race, and a journalist who has reported on the space industry for more than five decades.
“It’s a great time to be alive. The main thing is that something is coming. You can’t have so many people doing so much research and winding up dry,” David said.
“At some point, we’re going to have a confluence of scientific data that supports the likelihood that we’re a pretty mundane place here on earth, and there are a lot of extraterrestrial civilizations out there.
“We have to start thinking that we are not alone. It’s: how crowded are there up there? »
A frequent backdrop to any discussion of extraterrestrial life is how it would affect humans here on earth. Some believe religions could be shaken to the core or there could be a mass existential crisis.
David said aliens, however, could be aware of us and deliberately ignore our planet, which would be an equally devastating blow to the human sense of smugness.
“I don’t know exactly where Earth is and why we would be given any attention,” he said.
“We could be the idiots of the universe.”