Thursday, February 26, 2009

UFOs and Aliens in Space

Much of the public believes that UFOs are alien spacecraft. This represents a conceptual leap from unidentified lights in the sky or radar bogies that were the UFO stories when I was growing up. Today, “believers” are talking about actual alien contact, with alien bases on the Moon and Mars, and their concerns receive reinforcement from radio, TV, and Internet blogs.

On one level UFOs are real, of course; many people occasionally see objects in the sky that are not immediately identifiable as planes, balloons, planets, stars, or unusual atmospheric phenomena. But the questions I receive from the public (submitted to a NASA Web site) suggest a belief system linking UFOs with alien visitations and abductions spiced up by “conspiracy theories” to hide this information from the public.

If UFOs are alien spacecraft visiting Earth, then it seems reasonable that evidence of alien civilizations might be seen by astronomers or the radio signals from alien spacecraft might be picked up by the sensitive receivers we use to communicate with our own spacecraft. Perhaps astronauts who venture into space would be among the first to make reliable observations of alien spacecraft or artifacts. Perhaps we should look for alien bases on other worlds. Indeed, the Internet carries many stories of such encounters. I will examine some of the evidence cited for alien presence in the solar system...

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