Are we alone in the universe? We may not know for sure, but we’re a step closer to potentially finding out.
The National Defense Authorization Act calls for a new government program focused on investigating unidentified aerial phenomena, or UFOs.
“If there’s a reported incident, now there’s a requirement for us to react to that information and go and collect that information,” Lue Elizondo, the former director of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, told TODAY.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) led the charge to study UFOs in the bill.
“I really see this as trying to know what is knowable and not having a head in the sand perspective on this,” she told TODAY. “These are serious issues of national security and technology that we should know about.”
The program seeks to quickly investigate unidentified aerial phenomena, share information with other countries, tell Congress if other nations or some other entity are behind the cases and check into reports of service members who have experienced health issues after they encounter unknown objects.
Scholars are also spending time on the subject. A researcher at Stanford University is examining brain scans of service members who claim they have encountered UFOS. Avi Loeb, an astrophysics professor at Harvard University, has helped create the Galileo Project, which seeks “to bring the search for extraterrestrial technological signatures of Extraterrestrial Technological Civilizations (ETCs) from accidental or anecdotal observations and legends to the mainstream of transparent, validated and systematic scientific research,” according to its website.
The group hopes to use high-tech telescopes, infrared cameras and AI software to collect data on unidentified objects fighter pilots say they have seen.
“The answer to this question will have huge implications for the future of humanity. It will affect our aspirations for space and it basically effects each and every aspect of human life here on earth,” Loeb told TODAY.
The government has had experience with UFO matters. In May, the Pentagon confirmed the U.S. Navy took video of an unidentified flying object near San Diego in 2019. In May, a government report said unidentified aerial phenomena are real, but cannot be explained.
In 2017, the Pentagon also revealed it had run a clandestine program dedicated to investigating UFOs.