The first congressional hearing on the matter of UFOs in more than 50 years was held yesterday (opens in new tab), as the the House Intelligence Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee hosted two US military witnesses to answer the question: Hey, are aliens flying around our planet in little spaceships, or what?
And alas, even though they admit they can't explain all of the strange sightings witnessed over the years, military brass are still unwilling to attribute unidentified flying objects (or as they now like to call them, UAPs, which stands for unidentified aerial phenomena) to extraterrestrial activity.
This is the second crushing disappointment this month for those of us who wish aliens would be confirmed so real life would be at least a little bit more like a videogame or a sci-fi film. Expert geologists also just told us the mysterious cool-looking doorway spotted on Mars by NASA's Curiosity rover isn't proof of aliens either (opens in new tab). Instead, it's just a natural feature of erosion. (Also, the door isn't even a meter tall, so the aliens would have to be pretty teeny.)
Most UAPs can be ruled out as airborne clutter, atmospheric phenomena, or human-made aircraft or other "systems" (drones, balloons, satellites, and so on), said Deputy Director of Navy Intelligence Scott Bray. "There are a small handful in which there are flight characteristics or signature management that we can't explain with the data we have available. Those are obviously the ones that are of most interest to us."
Bray also showed off a few interesting clips of some UAP footage. Have a look, courtesy of our friends at Space.com (opens in new tab).
The first clip is a split-second glance at a teardrop-shaped something-or-other, that's really nothing more than a blip, only visible for two single frames of the footage as the cameraperson turns to look out the window of an aircraft. Bray explains (somewhat defensively, I think) that limited data, such as the thingamabob that appeared for the briefest of moments, makes it difficult to identify some of these UAPs. Which is also the sort of thing a person might say if they were really an alien dressed up in the skin of the Deputy Director of Navy Intelligence trying to throw us off the trail. (Just my opinion.)
Other clips show "flashing triangles" in the sky seen through night vision goggles on two different occasions, which Bray says are most likely drones that just look weird due to the effects of the goggles and the camera being used.
As far as aliens go: "We have detected no eliminations within the UAP task force that would suggest it's anything non-terrestrial in origin," he said.
That's disappointing, especially because following the public hearing, a private, classified meeting took place where I assume Bray had to answer questions like "No, really, is it aliens? You can tell us."
Not that anyone asked me, but while I'm pretty sure alien life exists elsewhere in the universe, I don't think any of it has reached us or ever will. Stuff in the universe is really, really far apart, and I just can't imagine Earth ever being visited or even detected by intelligent alien species. And I also doubt the government really wants to hear that it's aliens anyway. All they probably want to know is if some other country has better and faster military drones than we do. That's why it's called the House Intelligence Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee and not the UFO Lovers Club.