Extraterrestrial hypothesis

Extraterrestrial hypothesis

Overview
The extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH) is the hypothesis
Hypothesis
A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. The term derives from the Greek, ὑποτιθέναι – hypotithenai meaning "to put under" or "to suppose". For a hypothesis to be put forward as a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it...

 that some unidentified flying object
Unidentified flying object
A term originally coined by the military, an unidentified flying object is an unusual apparent anomaly in the sky that is not readily identifiable to the observer as any known object...

s (UFOs) are best explained as being extraterrestrial life
Extraterrestrial life
Extraterrestrial life is defined as life that does not originate from Earth...

 or non-human aliens from other planets
Extrasolar planet
An extrasolar planet, or exoplanet, is a planet outside the Solar System. A total of such planets have been identified as of . It is now known that a substantial fraction of stars have planets, including perhaps half of all Sun-like stars...

 occupying physical spacecraft
Spacecraft
A spacecraft or spaceship is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo....

 visiting Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

.

Origins of the term extraterrestrial hypothesis are unknown, but use in printed material on UFOs seems to date to at least the latter half of the 1960s. French Ufologist Jacques Vallee
Jacques Vallée
Jacques Fabrice Vallée is a venture capitalist, computer scientist, author, ufologist and former astronomer currently residing in San Francisco, California....

 used it in his 1966 book Challenge to science: the UFO enigma.
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Encyclopedia
The extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH) is the hypothesis
Hypothesis
A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. The term derives from the Greek, ὑποτιθέναι – hypotithenai meaning "to put under" or "to suppose". For a hypothesis to be put forward as a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it...

 that some unidentified flying object
Unidentified flying object
A term originally coined by the military, an unidentified flying object is an unusual apparent anomaly in the sky that is not readily identifiable to the observer as any known object...

s (UFOs) are best explained as being extraterrestrial life
Extraterrestrial life
Extraterrestrial life is defined as life that does not originate from Earth...

 or non-human aliens from other planets
Extrasolar planet
An extrasolar planet, or exoplanet, is a planet outside the Solar System. A total of such planets have been identified as of . It is now known that a substantial fraction of stars have planets, including perhaps half of all Sun-like stars...

 occupying physical spacecraft
Spacecraft
A spacecraft or spaceship is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo....

 visiting Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

.

Etymology


Origins of the term extraterrestrial hypothesis are unknown, but use in printed material on UFOs seems to date to at least the latter half of the 1960s. French Ufologist Jacques Vallee
Jacques Vallée
Jacques Fabrice Vallée is a venture capitalist, computer scientist, author, ufologist and former astronomer currently residing in San Francisco, California....

 used it in his 1966 book Challenge to science: the UFO enigma. It was used in a publication by French engineer Aimé Michel
Aimé Michel
Aimé Michel , was a UFO specialist.- Biography :Educated with diplomas in psychology and philosophy, Aimé Michel joined the French Radio Broadcasting in 1944...

 in 1967, by Dr. James E. McDonald
James E. McDonald
James Edward McDonald was an American physicist. He is best known for his research regarding UFOs. McDonald was senior physicist at the Institute for Atmospheric Physics and professor in the Department of Meteorology, University of Arizona, Tucson.McDonald campaigned vigorously in support of...

 in a symposium in March 1968 and again by McDonald and James Harder
James Harder
James Albert Harder, Ph.D., was a professor of civil and hydraulic engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He was a professor emeritus there.-UFO research:...

 while testifying before the Congressional Committee on Science and Astronautics, in July 1968. Skeptic Philip J. Klass
Philip J. Klass
Philip Julian Klass was an American journalist and UFO researcher, known for his skepticism regarding UFOs. In the ufological and skeptical communities, Klass tends to inspire strongly polarized appraisals. Klass has been called the "Sherlock Holmes of UFOlogy"...

 used it in his 1968 book UFOs--Identified. In 1969 physicist Edward Condon
Edward Condon
Edward Uhler Condon was a distinguished American nuclear physicist, a pioneer in quantum mechanics, and a participant in the development of radar and nuclear weapons during World War II.-Early life and career:...

 defined the "Extra-terrestrial Hypothesis" or "ETH" as the "idea that some UFOs may be spacecraft sent to Earth from another civilization or space other than earth, or on a planet associated with a more distant star," while presenting the findings of the much debated Condon Report. Some UFO historians credit Condon with popularizing the term and its abbreviation "ETH".

Chronology


Although ETH, as a unified and named hypothesis, is a comparatively new concept - one which owes a lot to the saucer sightings of the 1940s–1960s, it can trace its origins back to a number of earlier events such as the now discredited Martian canals and ancient Martian civilization promoted by astronomer Percival Lowell
Percival Lowell
Percival Lawrence Lowell was a businessman, author, mathematician, and astronomer who fueled speculation that there were canals on Mars, founded the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, and formed the beginning of the effort that led to the discovery of Pluto 14 years after his death...

, popular culture including the writings of H. G. Wells
H. G. Wells
Herbert George Wells was an English author, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing text books and rules for war games...

 and fellow science fiction pioneers such as Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs was an American author, best known for his creation of the jungle hero Tarzan and the heroic Mars adventurer John Carter, although he produced works in many genres.-Biography:...

, who likewise wrote of Martian civilizations, and even to the works of figures such as the Swedish philosopher, mystic
Mysticism
Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.-Classical origins:...

 and scientist Emanuel Swedenborg
Emanuel Swedenborg
was a Swedish scientist, philosopher, and theologian. He has been termed a Christian mystic by some sources, including the Encyclopædia Britannica online version, and the Encyclopedia of Religion , which starts its article with the description that he was a "Swedish scientist and mystic." Others...

, who promoted a variety of unconventional views that linked other worlds to the afterlife
Afterlife
The afterlife is the belief that a part of, or essence of, or soul of an individual, which carries with it and confers personal identity, survives the death of the body of this world and this lifetime, by natural or supernatural means, in contrast to the belief in eternal...

.

Also in the early part of the 20th Century, Charles Fort
Charles Fort
Charles Hoy Fort was an American writer and researcher into anomalous phenomena. Today, the terms Fortean and Forteana are used to characterize various such phenomena. Fort's books sold well and are still in print today.-Biography:Charles Hoy Fort was born in 1874 in Albany, New York, of Dutch...

 collected accounts of anomalous physical phenomena from newspapers and scientific journals, including many reports of extraordinary aerial objects. These reports were first published in 1919 in The Book of the Damned. In this and two subsequent books, New Lands (1923) and Lo! (1931), Fort theorized that visitors from other worlds were observing Earth. Fort's reports of these early unknown aerial phenomena were frequently cited in American newspapers when the UFO phenomenon first attracted widespread media attention in June and July 1947.

The modern ETH - specifically the implicit linking of unidentified aircraft and lights in the sky to alien life - took root during the late 1940s and took its current form during the 1950s. It drew on pseudoscience
Pseudoscience
Pseudoscience is a claim, belief, or practice which is presented as scientific, but which does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status...

 as well as popular culture. However, unlike earlier speculation of extraterrestrial life, interest in the ETH was also bolstered by many unexplained sightings investigated by the U.S. government and governments of other countries, as well as private civilian groups, such as NICAP and APRO.

Historical reports of extraterrestrial visits


An early example of speculation over extraterrestrial visitors can be found in the French newspaper Le Pays, which on June 17, 1864, published a story about two American geologists who had allegedly discovered an alien-like creature, a mummified three-foot-tall hairless humanoid with a trunk-like appendage on its forehead, inside a hollow egg-shaped
Oval (geometry)
In technical drawing, an oval is a figure constructed from two pairs of arcs, with two different radii . The arcs are joined at a point, in which lines tangential to both joining arcs lie on the same line, thus making the joint smooth...

 structure.

A further report can be found in the Missouri Democrat (St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

), which, in October 1865, reported on the story of Rocky Mountain trapper James Lumley, who claimed to have discovered fragments of rock bearing "curious hieroglyphics" which seemed to form a compartmentalized object which he believed was being used to transport "an animate being", after investigating a meteor impact near Great Falls, Montana
Great Falls, Montana
Great Falls is a city in and the county seat of Cascade County, Montana, United States. The population was 58,505 at the 2010 census. It is the principal city of the Great Falls, Montana Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Cascade County...

. The newspaper goes on to speculate "Possibly, meteors could be used as a means of conveyance by the inhabitants of other planets, in exploring space".

H. G. Wells
H. G. Wells
Herbert George Wells was an English author, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing text books and rules for war games...

 in his 1898 science fiction classic War of the Worlds popularized, perhaps for the first time, the idea of Martian visitation and invasion. However, even before Wells, there was a sudden upsurge in reports in "Mystery airship
Mystery airship
Mystery airships or phantom airships are a class of unidentified flying objects best known from a series of newspaper reports originating in the western United States and spreading east during 1896 and 1897. According to researcher Jerome Clark, airship reports were made worldwide, early as the...

s" in the U.S. UFO historians Jerome Clark
Jerome Clark
Jerome Clark is an American researcher and writer, specializing in unidentified flying objects and other anomalous phenomena; he is also a songwriter of some note....

 and David M. Jacobs note that extraterrestrial visitation, particularly from Mars, was sometimes proposed to explain these mystery airship waves. For example, the Washington ‘’Times’’ in 1897 speculated that the airships were "a reconnoitering party from Mars" and the Saint Louis ‘’Post-Dispatch’’ wrote, "these may be visitors from Mars, fearful, at the last, of invading the planet they have been seeking." Later there was a more international airship wave from 1909-1912. An example of an extraterrestrial explanation at the time was a 1909 letter to a New Zealand newspaper suggesting "atomic powered spaceships from Mars."

From the 1920s the idea of alien visitation in space ships was commonplace in popular comic strips and radio and movie serials such as Buck Rogers
Buck Rogers
Anthony Rogers is a fictional character that first appeared in Armageddon 2419 A.D. by Philip Francis Nowlan in the August 1928 issue of the pulp magazine Amazing Stories. A sequel, The Airlords of Han, was published in the March 1929 issue....

 and Flash Gordon
Flash Gordon
Flash Gordon is the hero of a science fiction adventure comic strip originally drawn by Alex Raymond. First published January 7, 1934, the strip was inspired by and created to compete with the already established Buck Rogers adventure strip. Also inspired by these series were comics such as Dash...

. In particular, Flash Gordon serials have Earth being attacked from space by alien meteors, ray beams, and biological weapons. In 1938 a radio broadcast version of War of the Worlds by Orson Welles
Orson Welles
George Orson Welles , best known as Orson Welles, was an American film director, actor, theatre director, screenwriter, and producer, who worked extensively in film, theatre, television and radio...

, using a contemporary setting for H. G. Wells’ Martian invasion, created some public panic in the U.S. This would later figure into some commentary on what was happening in 1947 when “flying saucers” finally hit the U.S.

The 1947 U.S. flying saucer wave


On June 24, 1947, at about 3.00 p.m. local time, pilot Kenneth Arnold
Kenneth Arnold UFO sighting
The Kenneth Arnold UFO sighting was an incident on June 24, 1947, where private pilot Kenneth Arnold spotted a string of nine, shiny unidentified flying objects flying past Mount Rainier at then unheard of supersonic speeds that Arnold clocked at a minimum of 1,200 miles an hour...

 reported seeing nine unidentified disk-shaped aircraft flying near Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier is a massive stratovolcano located southeast of Seattle in the state of Washington, United States. It is the most topographically prominent mountain in the contiguous United States and the Cascade Volcanic Arc, with a summit elevation of . Mt. Rainier is considered one of the most...

.

Arnold said the objects moved as if they were a saucer skipping across water, but also described the shape as thin, flat, and disc-like or saucer-like (also like a "pie-plate," "pie-pan," and "half-moon shaped")--see Kenneth Arnold
Kenneth Arnold
Kenneth A. Arnold was an American aviator and businessman. He is best-known for making what is generally considered the first widely reported unidentified flying object sighting in the United States, after claiming to have seen nine unusual objects flying in a chain near Mount Rainier, Washington...

 article for detailed quotes. Two to three days later, the terms "flying disc" and "flying saucer" first appeared in newspapers and became the preferred terms for the phenomenon for a number of years, until largely replaced in the 1950s and 1960s by UFO.

Though he was impressed by their high speed and quick movements, Arnold did not initially consider the ETH, stating:
"I assumed at the time they were a new formation or a new type of jet, though I was baffled by the fact that they did not have any tails. They passed almost directly in front of me, but at a distance of about 23 miles, which is not very great in the air. I judged their wingspan to be at least 100 feet across. Their flying did not particularly disturb me at the time, except that I had never seen planes of that type."


However, when no aircraft emerged that seemed to account for what he had seen, Arnold quickly considered the possibility of the objects being extraterrestrial. On July 7, 1947, two stories came out where Arnold was raising the topic of possible extraterrestrial origins, both as his opinion and those who had written to him. In an Associated Press story, Arnold said he had received quantities of fan mail eager to help solve the mystery. A number of them "suggested the discs were visitations from another planet."

In the other story, Arnold was interviewed by the Chicago Times:
"...Kenneth Arnold ...is not so certain that the strange contraptions are made on this planet. Arnold... said he hoped the devices were really the work of the U.S. Army. But he told the TIMES in a phone conversation: 'If our government knows anything about these devices, the people should be told at once. A lot of people out here are very much disturbed. Some think these things may be from another planet... Arnold, in pointing to the possibility of these discs being from another world, said, regardless of their origin, they apparently were traveling to some reachable destination. Whoever controlled them, he said, obviously wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. …He said discs were making turns so abruptly in rounding peaks that it would have been impossible for human pilots inside survived the pressure. So, he too thinks they are controlled from elsewhere, regardless of whether it’s from Mars, Venus, or our own planet."


Arnold expressed similar views in a 1950 interview with journalist Edward R. Murrow
Edward R. Murrow
Edward Roscoe Murrow, KBE was an American broadcast journalist. He first came to prominence with a series of radio news broadcasts during World War II, which were followed by millions of listeners in the United States and Canada.Fellow journalists Eric Sevareid, Ed Bliss, and Alexander Kendrick...

:
"...if it's not made by our science or our Army Air Forces, I am inclined to believe it's of an extraterrestrial origin."


Arnold had first brought up the subject on June 27, 1947, when he described an encounter he had with a near-hysterical woman in Pendleton, Oregon
Pendleton, Oregon
Pendleton is a city in Umatilla County, Oregon, United States. Pendleton was named in 1868 by the county commissioners for George H. Pendleton, Democratic candidate for Vice-President in the 1864 presidential campaign. The population was 16,612 at the 2010 census...

, shrieking, "there's the man who saw the men from Mars." Arnold then added, "This whole thing has gotten out of hand... Half the people I see look at me as a combination Einstein, Flash Gordon and screwball."

When the 1947 flying saucer wave hit the U.S., there was much speculation in the newspapers about what they might be in news stories, columns, editorials, and letters to the editor. Like Arnold mentioned in his interview, this included some serious discussion of the ETH.

For example, on July 10, U.S. Senator Glen Taylor
Glen Taylor
Glen A. Taylor is an American businessman who is the majority owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves basketball team, owner of the Minnesota Lynx WNBA basketball team, and a former member of the Minnesota Senate.-Biography:...

 of Idaho commented, “I almost wish the flying saucers would turn out to be space ships from another planet,” because the possibility of hostility “would unify the people of the earth as nothing else could.” On July 8, Dewitt Miller was quoted by UP saying that the saucers had been seen since the early nineteenth century. If the present discs weren’t secret Army weapons, he suggested they could be vehicles from Mars or other planets or maybe even “things out of other dimensions of time and space.” Other articles brought up the work of Charles Fort
Charles Fort
Charles Hoy Fort was an American writer and researcher into anomalous phenomena. Today, the terms Fortean and Forteana are used to characterize various such phenomena. Fort's books sold well and are still in print today.-Biography:Charles Hoy Fort was born in 1874 in Albany, New York, of Dutch...

, who earlier in the 20th Century had documented numerous reports of unidentified flying objects that had been written up in newspapers and scientific journals.

Generally, however, if the ETH was brought up it was done in a sarcastic or dismissive way. For example, nationally syndicated columns by humorist Hal Boyle on July 8 and 9 spoke of a green man from Mars in his flying saucer (see Little green men
Little green men
Little green men is the stereotypical portrayal of extraterrestrials as little humanoid-like creatures with green skin and sometimes with antennae on their heads. The term is also sometimes used to describe gremlins, mythical creatures known for causing problems in airplanes and mechanical devices...

) who had kidnapped him and taken him for a ride. A United Press story on July 8 had the Army Air Forces at the Pentagon stating what the flying saucers were not. They were not a secret U.S. military project, a bacteriological weapon of a foreign power, and they were not "space ships."

Even if people thought the saucers were real, most were generally unwilling to leap to the conclusion that they were extraterrestrial in origin. Various popular theories began to quickly proliferate in press articles, such as secret military projects, Russian spy devices, hoaxes, optical illusions, and mass hysteria. According to Murrow, the ETH as a serious explanation for "flying saucers" did not earn widespread attention until about 18 months after Arnold's sighting.

These attitudes seem to be reflected in the results of the first US poll of public UFO perceptions released by Gallup on August 14, 1947. The term "flying saucer" was familiar to 90% of the respondents. As to what people thought explained them, the poll further showed that most people either held no opinion or refused to answer the question (33%), or generally believed that there was a mundane explanation. 29% thought they were optical illusion
Optical illusion
An optical illusion is characterized by visually perceived images that differ from objective reality. The information gathered by the eye is processed in the brain to give a perception that does not tally with a physical measurement of the stimulus source...

s, mirage
Mirage
A mirage is a naturally occurring optical phenomenon in which light rays are bent to produce a displaced image of distant objects or the sky. The word comes to English via the French mirage, from the Latin mirare, meaning "to look at, to wonder at"...

s or imagination, 15% a US secret weapon, 10% a hoax
Hoax
A hoax is a deliberately fabricated falsehood made to masquerade as truth. It is distinguishable from errors in observation or judgment, or rumors, urban legends, pseudosciences or April Fools' Day events that are passed along in good faith by believers or as jokes.-Definition:The British...

, 3% a “weather forecasting device”, 1% of Soviet origin, and 9% had “other explanations”, including fulfillment of Biblical
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 prophecy
Prophecy
Prophecy is a process in which one or more messages that have been communicated to a prophet are then communicated to others. Such messages typically involve divine inspiration, interpretation, or revelation of conditioned events to come as well as testimonies or repeated revelations that the...

, secret commercial aircraft, or related to atomic testing. What is unclear in this poll is what fraction of the public might seriously or half-seriously have considered the ETH had their attitudes been probed more deeply. Attitudes of people in the large "no opinion/no answer" category" are unknown, as are most of the people in the "other explanation" category. Others may have entertained more than one opinion that might not be reflected in such a poll where usually only one opinion was offered. For example, Kenneth Arnold stated he hoped they were secret U.S. military aircraft, but if they weren't, then he believed they were likely extraterrestrial.

Military investigations begin: ETH conclusion and debunkery


On July 9, Army Air Force Intelligence began a secret study of the best saucer reports, including Arnold's. A follow-up study by the Air Materiel Command intelligence and engineering departments at Wright Field
Wright Field
Wright Field was an airfield of the United States Army Air Corps and Air Forces near Riverside, Ohio. From 1927 to 1947 it was the research and development center for the Air Corps, and during World War II a flight test center....

 Ohio led to the formation the U.S. Air Force's Project Sign
Project Sign
Project Sign was an official U.S. government study of unidentified flying objects undertaken by the United States Air Force and active for most of 1948....

 at the end of 1947, the first official U.S. military UFO study.

In the summer of 1948, Project Sign wrote their Estimate of the Situation
Estimate of the Situation
The Estimate of the Situation was a document supposedly written in 1948 by the personnel of United States Air Force's Project Sign -including the project’s director, Captain Robert R. Sneider - which explained their reasons for concluding that the extraterrestrial hypothesis was the best...

, which concluded that the remaining unidentified sightings were best explained by the ETH. However, the report ultimately was rejected by the USAF Chief of Staff, General Hoyt Vandenberg
Hoyt Vandenberg
Hoyt Sanford Vandenberg was a U.S. Air Force general, its second Chief of Staff, and second Director of Central Intelligence....

, citing a lack of physical evidence, and its existence was not publicly disclosed until 1956 by later Project Blue Book
Project Blue Book
Project Blue Book was one of a series of systematic studies of unidentified flying objects conducted by the United States Air Force. Started in 1952, it was the second revival of such a study...

 director Edward J. Ruppelt
Edward J. Ruppelt
Edward J. Ruppelt was a United States Air Force officer probably best-known for his involvement in Project Blue Book, a formal governmental study of unidentified flying objects...

. Ruppelt also indicated that Vandenberg dismantled Project Sign after they wrote their ETH conclusion.

With this official policy in place, all subsequent public Air Force reports concluded that there was either insufficient evidence to link UFOs and ETH, or that UFOs did not warrant investigation.

Immediately following the great UFO wave of 1952 and military debunkery of the radar and visual sightings plus jet interceptions over Washington, D.C. in August, the CIA’s Office of Scientific Investigation took particularly interest in UFOs. Though the ETH was mentioned, it was generally given little credence. However, others within the CIA, such as the Psychological Strategy Board
Psychological Strategy Board
The Psychological Strategy Board was a committee of the United States executive formed to coordinate and plan for psychological operations. It was formed on April 4, 1951, during the Truman administration. The board was composed of the Under Secretary of State, the Deputy Secretary of Defense,...

, were more concerned about how an unfriendly power such as the Soviet Union might use UFOs for psychological warfare purposes, exploit the gullibility of the public for the sensational, and clog intelligence channels. Under a directive from the National Security Council
United States National Security Council
The White House National Security Council in the United States is the principal forum used by the President of the United States for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and Cabinet officials and is part of the Executive Office of the...

 to review the problem, in January 1953, the CIA organized the Robertson Panel
Robertson Panel
The Robertson Panel was a committee commissioned by the Central Intelligence Agency in 1952 in response to widespread reports of unidentified flying objects, especially in the Washington, D.C. area. The panel was briefed on U.S...

, a group of scientists who quickly reviewed the Blue Book’s best evidence, including motion pictures and an engineering report that concluded that the performance characteristics were beyond that of earthly craft. After only two days' review, all cases were claimed to have conventional explanations. An official policy of public debunkery was recommended using the mass media and authority figures in order to influence public opinion and reduce the number of UFO reports.

Evolution of public opinion


The early 1950s also saw a number of movies depicting flying saucers and aliens, including The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), The War of the Worlds
The War of the Worlds (1953 film)
The War of the Worlds is a 1953 science fiction film starring Gene Barry and Ann Robinson. It was the first on-screen loose adaptation of the H. G. Wells classic novel of the same name...

, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers
Earth vs. the Flying Saucers
Earth vs. the Flying Saucers is an American black and white science fiction film, directed by Fred F. Sears and released by Columbia Pictures. The film is also known as Invasion of the Flying Saucers. It was ostensibly suggested by the non-fiction work Flying Saucers from Outer Space by Donald...

(1956), and Forbidden Planet
Forbidden Planet
Forbidden Planet is a 1956 science fiction film directed by Fred M. Wilcox, with a screenplay by Cyril Hume. It stars Leslie Nielsen, Walter Pidgeon, and Anne Francis. The characters and its setting have been compared to those in William Shakespeare's The Tempest, and its plot contains certain...

(1956).

Despite this, public belief in ETH seems to have remained low during the early 1950s, even among those reporting UFOs. A poll published in Popular Science
Popular Science
Popular Science is an American monthly magazine founded in 1872 carrying articles for the general reader on science and technology subjects. Popular Science has won over 58 awards, including the ASME awards for its journalistic excellence in both 2003 and 2004...

magazine, in August 1951, showed that 52% of UFO witnesses questioned believed that they had seen a man-made aircraft, while only 4% believed that they had seen an alien craft. However, an additional 28% were uncertain, with more than half of these stating they believed they were either man-made aircraft or "visitors from afar." Thus the total number of UFO witnesses who considered the ETH viable was approximately 20%. Within a few years, belief in ETH had increased due to the activities of people such as retired U.S. Marine Corp officer Maj. Donald E. Keyhoe, who campaigned to raise public awareness of the UFO phenomena. By 1957, 25% of Americans responded that they either believed, or were willing to believe, in ETH, while 53% responded that they weren't (though a majority of these respondents indicated they thought UFOs to be real but of earthly origin). 22% said that they were uncertain.

During this time, the ETH also fragmented into distinct camps, each believing slightly different variations of the hypothesis. The "contactees
Contactees
Contactees are persons who claim to have experienced contact with extraterrestrials. Contactees have typically reported that they were given messages or profound wisdom by extraterrestrial beings...

" of the early 1950s said that the "space brothers" they met were peaceful and benevolent, but by the mid-1960s, a number of alleged Alien abductions; including that of Betty and Barney Hill, and of the apparent mutilation of cattle
Cattle mutilation
Cattle mutilation is the apparent killing and mutilation of cattle under unusual or anomalous circumstances...

 cast the ETH in more sinister terms.

Opinion polls indicate that public belief in the ETH has continued to rise since then. For example, a 1997 Gallup poll of the U.S. public indicated that 87% knew about UFOs, 48% believed them to be real (vs. 33% who thought them to be imaginary), and 45% believed they had visited Earth. Similarly a Roper poll from 2002 found 56% thought UFOs to be real and 48% thought they had visited Earth.

Polls also indicate that the public believes even more strongly that the government is suppressing evidence about UFOs. For example, in both the cited Gallup and Roper polls, the figure was about 80%.

Analyzing ETH


In a 1969 lecture U.S. astrophysicist Carl Sagan said:
"The idea of benign or hostile space aliens from other planets visiting the earth [is clearly] an emotional idea. There are two sorts of self-deception here: either accepting the idea of extraterrestrial visitation by space aliens in the face of very meager evidence because we want it to be true; or rejecting such an idea out of hand, in the absence of sufficient evidence, because we don't want it to be true. Each of these extremes is a serious impediment to the study of UFOs.".


Similarly, British astrophysicist Peter A. Sturrock
Peter A. Sturrock
Peter Andrew Sturrock is a British scientist.An emeritus professor of applied physics at Stanford University, much of Sturrock's career has been devoted to astrophysics, plasma physics, and solar physics, but Sturrock is interested in other fields, including ufology, scientific inference and in...

 wrote that for many years,
"discussions of the UFO issue have remained narrowly polarized between advocates and adversaries of a single theory, namely the extraterrestrial hypothesis ... this fixation on the ETH has narrowed and impoverished the debate, precluding an examination of other possible theories for the phenomenon."

Opinions among scientists


The scientific community
Scientific community
The scientific community consists of the total body of scientists, its relationships and interactions. It is normally divided into "sub-communities" each working on a particular field within science. Objectivity is expected to be achieved by the scientific method...

 has shown very little support for the ETH, and has largely accepted the explanation that reports of UFOs are the result of people misinterpreting common objects or phenomena, or are the work of hoaxers.

A cited example of this was an informal poll conducted in 1977 by astrophysicist Peter A. Sturrock
Peter A. Sturrock
Peter Andrew Sturrock is a British scientist.An emeritus professor of applied physics at Stanford University, much of Sturrock's career has been devoted to astrophysics, plasma physics, and solar physics, but Sturrock is interested in other fields, including ufology, scientific inference and in...

, surveying the members of the American Astronomical Society
American Astronomical Society
The American Astronomical Society is an American society of professional astronomers and other interested individuals, headquartered in Washington, DC...

. Sturrock asked polled scientists to assign probabilities to eight possible explanations for UFOs. The results were:
23% An unfamiliar natural phenomenon
22% A familiar phenomenon or device
21% An unfamiliar terrestrial device
12% Hoax
9% An unknown natural phenomenon
7% Some specifiable other cause
3% An alien device
3% Some unspecified other cause


An earlier poll done by Sturrock in 1973 of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is the professional society for the field of aerospace engineering. The AIAA was founded in 1963 from the merger of two earlier societies: the American Rocket Society , founded in 1930 as the American Interplanetary Society , and the Institute...

 members found that a somewhat higher 10% believed UFOs were vehicles from outer space.

For


Physicist Bernard Haisch
Bernard Haisch
Bernard Haisch is a German-born American astrophysicist who has done research in solar-stellar astrophysics and stochastic electrodynamics. He has developed with Alfonso Rueda a speculative theory that the non-zero lowest energy state of the vacuum, as predicted by quantum mechanics, might provide...

 on his "ufoskeptic" website presents a number of counterarguments to those of Hynek (presented below). Haisch argues he is convinced something is going on and that modern theories of physics and cosmology might support extraterrestrial or even interdimensional origins for UFOs.

In a 1969 report to the American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association for the Advancement of Science
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation among scientists, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility, and supporting scientific education and science outreach for the...

, the late American physicist James E. McDonald
James E. McDonald
James Edward McDonald was an American physicist. He is best known for his research regarding UFOs. McDonald was senior physicist at the Institute for Atmospheric Physics and professor in the Department of Meteorology, University of Arizona, Tucson.McDonald campaigned vigorously in support of...

 summarized his reasons for not dismissing ETH:
"Present evidence surely does not amount to incontrovertible proof of the extraterrestrial hypothesis. What I find scientifically dismaying is that, while a large body of UFO evidence now seems to point in no other direction than the extraterrestrial hypothesis, the profoundly important implications of that possibility are going unconsidered by the scientific community because this entire problem has been imputed to be little more than a nonsense matter unworthy of serious scientific attention."

Against


The primary scientific arguments against ETH were summarized by Astronomer and UFO researcher J. Allen Hynek
J. Allen Hynek
Dr. Josef Allen Hynek was a United States astronomer, professor, and ufologist. He is perhaps best remembered for his UFO research. Hynek acted as scientific adviser to UFO studies undertaken by the U.S. Air Force under three consecutive names: Project Sign , Project Grudge , and Project Blue Book...

 during a presentation at the 1983 MUFON Symposium. During which time he outlined seven key reasons why he could not accept the ETH.
  1. "Failure of Sophisticated Surveillance Systems to Detect Incoming or Outgoing UFOs"
  2. "Gravitational and Atmospheric Considerations"
  3. "Statistical Considerations"
  4. "Elusive, Evasive and Absurd Behavior of UFOs and Their Occupants"
  5. "Isolation of the UFO Phenomenon in Time and Space: The Cheshire Cat
    Cheshire Cat
    The Cheshire Cat is a fictional cat popularised by Lewis Carroll's depiction of it in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Known for his distinctive mischievous grin, the Cheshire Cat has had a notable impact on popular culture.-Origins:...

     Effect"
  6. "The Space Unworthiness of UFOs"
  7. "The Problem of Astronomical Distances"


Hynek argued that:
  1. Despite worldwide radar
    Radar
    Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

     systems and Earth-orbiting satellites, UFOs are alleged to flit in and out of the atmosphere, leaving little to no evidence.
  2. Space aliens are alleged to be overwhelmingly humanoid
    Humanoid
    A humanoid is something that has an appearance resembling a human being. The term first appeared in 1912 to refer to fossils which were morphologically similar to, but not identical with, those of the human skeleton. Although this usage was common in the sciences for much of the 20th century, it...

    , and are allegedly able to exist on Earth without much difficulty (often lacking "space suit
    Space suit
    A space suit is a garment worn to keep an astronaut alive in the harsh environment of outer space. Space suits are often worn inside spacecraft as a safety precaution in case of loss of cabin pressure, and are necessary for extra-vehicular activity , work done outside spacecraft...

    s", despite the fact that extra-solar planets would likely have different atmosphere
    Atmosphere
    An atmosphere is a layer of gases that may surround a material body of sufficient mass, and that is held in place by the gravity of the body. An atmosphere may be retained for a longer duration, if the gravity is high and the atmosphere's temperature is low...

    s, biosphere
    Biosphere
    The biosphere is the global sum of all ecosystems. It can also be called the zone of life on Earth, a closed and self-regulating system...

    s, gravity and other factors, and extraterrestrial life would likely be very different from Earthly life.)
  3. The number of reported UFOs and of purported encounters with UFO-inhabitants outstrips the number of expeditions that an alien civilization (or civilizations) could statistically be expected to mount.
  4. The behavior of extraterrestrials reported during alleged abductions is often inconsistent and irrational.
  5. UFOs are isolated in time and space: like the Cheshire Cat
    Cheshire Cat
    The Cheshire Cat is a fictional cat popularised by Lewis Carroll's depiction of it in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Known for his distinctive mischievous grin, the Cheshire Cat has had a notable impact on popular culture.-Origins:...

    , they seem to appear and disappear at will, leaving only vague, ambiguous and mocking evidence of their presence
  6. Reported UFOs are often far too small to support a crew traveling through space, and their reported flight behavior is often not representative of a craft under intelligent control (erratic flight patterns, sudden course changes).
  7. The distance between planets makes interstellar travel impractical, particularly because of the amount of energy that would be required for interstellar travel
    Interstellar travel
    Interstellar space travel is manned or unmanned travel between stars. The concept of interstellar travel in starships is a staple of science fiction. Interstellar travel is much more difficult than interplanetary travel. Intergalactic travel, or travel between different galaxies, is even more...

     using conventional means, (According to a NASA estimate, it would take 7 Joule
    Joule
    The joule ; symbol J) is a derived unit of energy or work in the International System of Units. It is equal to the energy expended in applying a force of one newton through a distance of one metre , or in passing an electric current of one ampere through a resistance of one ohm for one second...

    s of energy to send the current space shuttle on a one-way, 50 year, journey to the nearest star, an enormous amount of energy) and because of the level of technology that would be required to circumvent conventional energy/fuel/speed limitations using exotic means such as Einstein Rosen Bridges as ways to shorten distances from point A to point B.(see Faster than light travel).


According to Hynek, points 1 through 6 could be argued, but point 7 represented an insurmountable barrier to the validity of the ETH.

More recently, Professor Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking
Stephen William Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA is an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist, whose scientific books and public appearances have made him an academic celebrity...

 argued that because most UFOs turn out to have prosaic explanations, it was reasonable to presume that the "unidentified" UFOs also had prosaic origins.

NASA


NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 frequently fields questions in regard to the ETH and UFOs. As of 2006, its official standpoint was that ETH has a lack of empirical evidence.
"no one has ever found a single artifact, or any other convincing evidence for such alien visits". David Morrison.

"As far as I know, no claims of UFOs as being alien craft have any validity -- the claims are without substance, and certainly not proved". David Morrison


Despite public interest, NASA considers the study of ETH to be irrelevant to its work because of the number of false leads that a study would provide, and the limited amount of usable scientific data that it would yield.
"That whole subject is really irrelevant to our own human quest to travel to space ... if someone in the previous century saw a film of a 747 flying past, it would not tell them how to build a jet engine, what fuel to use, or what materials to make it out of. Yes, the wings are a clue, but just that, a clue." NASA.

Conspiracy


A frequent concept in ufology and popular culture is that the true extent of information about UFOs is being suppressed by some form of conspiracy of silence, or by an official cover up that is acting to conceal information.

In 1968, American engineer James A. Harder argued that significant evidence existed to prove UFOs "beyond reasonable doubt," but that the evidence had been suppressed and largely neglected by scientists and the general public, thus preventing sound conclusions from being reached on the ETH.
"Over the past 20 years a vast amount of evidence has been accumulating that bears on the existence of UFO's. Most of this is little known to the general public or to most scientists. But on the basis of the data and ordinary rules of evidence, as would be applied in civil or criminal courts, the physical reality of UFO's has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt" J A Harder


A survey carried out by Industrial Research magazine in 1971 showed that more Americans believed the government was concealing information about UFOs (76 percent) than believed in the existence of UFOs (54 percent), or in ETH itself (32 percent).

Documents and investigations regarding ETH


Other private or governmental studies, some secret, have concluded in favor of the ETH, or have had members who disagreed with official conclusions against the conclusion by committees and agencies to which they belonged. The following are examples of sources that have focused specifically on the topic:
  • In 1967, Greek physicist Paul Santorini, a Manhattan Project
    Manhattan Project
    The Manhattan Project was a research and development program, led by the United States with participation from the United Kingdom and Canada, that produced the first atomic bomb during World War II. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the US Army...

     scientist, publicly stated that a 1947 Greek government investigation into the European Ghost rockets
    Ghost rockets
    Ghost Rockets Danish Spøgelsesraketter were mysterious rocket- or missile-shaped unidentified flying objects sighted in 1946, mostly in Sweden and nearby countries....

     of 1946 under his lead quickly concluded that they were not missiles. Santorini claimed the investigation was then quashed by military officials from the U.S., who knew them to be extraterrestrial, because there was no defense against the advanced technology and they feared widespread panic should the results become public.
  • A 1948 Top Secret USAF Europe document (at right) states that Swedish air intelligence informed them that at least some of their investigators into the ghost rockets and flying saucers concluded they had extraterrestrial origins: "...Flying saucers have been reported by so many sources and from such a variety of places that we are convinced that they cannot be disregarded and must be explained on some basis which is perhaps slightly beyond the scope of our present intelligence thinking. When officers of this Directorate recently visited the Swedish Air Intelligence Service... their answer was that some reliable and fully technically qualified people have reached the conclusion that 'these phenomena are obviously the result of a high technical skill which cannot be credited to any presently known culture on earth.' They are therefore assuming that these objects originate from some previously unknown or unidentified technology, possibly outside the earth."
  • In 1948, the USAF's Project Sign
    Project Sign
    Project Sign was an official U.S. government study of unidentified flying objects undertaken by the United States Air Force and active for most of 1948....

     wrote a Top Secret Estimate of the Situation
    Estimate of the Situation
    The Estimate of the Situation was a document supposedly written in 1948 by the personnel of United States Air Force's Project Sign -including the project’s director, Captain Robert R. Sneider - which explained their reasons for concluding that the extraterrestrial hypothesis was the best...

    , concluding that the ETH was the most likely explanation for the most perplexing unexplained cases. The study was ordered destroyed by USAF chief of staff General Hoyt Vandenberg
    Hoyt Vandenberg
    Hoyt Sanford Vandenberg was a U.S. Air Force general, its second Chief of Staff, and second Director of Central Intelligence....

    , citing lack of proof. Knowledge of the existence of the Estimate has come from insiders who said they read a surviving copy, including later USAF Project Blue Book
    Project Blue Book
    Project Blue Book was one of a series of systematic studies of unidentified flying objects conducted by the United States Air Force. Started in 1952, it was the second revival of such a study...

     head Edward J. Ruppelt
    Edward J. Ruppelt
    Edward J. Ruppelt was a United States Air Force officer probably best-known for his involvement in Project Blue Book, a formal governmental study of unidentified flying objects...

     and astronomer and USAF consultant Dr. J. Allen Hynek
    J. Allen Hynek
    Dr. Josef Allen Hynek was a United States astronomer, professor, and ufologist. He is perhaps best remembered for his UFO research. Hynek acted as scientific adviser to UFO studies undertaken by the U.S. Air Force under three consecutive names: Project Sign , Project Grudge , and Project Blue Book...

    .
  • West Germany, in conjunction with other European countries, conducted a secret study from 1951 to 1954, also concluding that UFOs were extraterrestrial. This study was revealed by German rocketry pioneer Hermann Oberth
    Hermann Oberth
    Hermann Julius Oberth was an Austro-Hungarian-born German physicist and engineer. He is considered one of the founding fathers of rocketry and astronautics.- Early life :...

    , who headed the study and who also made many public statements supporting the ETH in succeeding years. At the study's conclusion in 1954, Oberth declared, "These objects (UFOs) are conceived and directed by intelligent beings of a very high order. They do not originate in our solar system, perhaps not in our galaxy." Soon afterwards, in an article in The American Weekly, October 24, 1954, Oberth wrote "It is my thesis that flying saucers are real and that they are space ships from another solar system. I think that they possibly are manned by intelligent observers who are members of a race that may have been investigating our earth for centuries..."
  • During the height of the flying saucer "flap" of July 1952, including highly publicized radar/visual and jet intercepts over Washington, D.C.
    Washington, D.C.
    Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

    , the FBI was informed by the Air Force Directorate of Intelligence that they thought the "flying saucers" were either "optical illusions or atmospheric phenomena" but then added that, "some Military officials are seriously considering the possibility of interplanetary ships."
  • The CIA started their own internal scientific review the following day. Some CIA scientists were also seriously considering the ETH. An early memo from August was very skeptical, but also added, "...as long as a series of reports remains 'unexplainable' (interplanetary aspects and alien origin not being thoroughly excluded from consideration) caution requires that intelligence continue coverage of the subject." A report from later that month was similarly skeptical but nevertheless concluded "...sightings of UFOs reported at Los Alamos
    Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Los Alamos National Laboratory is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory, managed and operated by Los Alamos National Security , located in Los Alamos, New Mexico...

     and Oak Ridge
    Oak Ridge National Laboratory
    Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a multiprogram science and technology national laboratory managed for the United States Department of Energy by UT-Battelle. ORNL is the DOE's largest science and energy laboratory. ORNL is located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, near Knoxville...

    , at a time when the background radiation
    Radiation
    In physics, radiation is a process in which energetic particles or energetic waves travel through a medium or space. There are two distinct types of radiation; ionizing and non-ionizing...

     count had risen inexplicably. Here we run out of even 'blue yonder' explanations that might be tenable, and we still are left with numbers of incredible reports from credible observers." A December 1952 memo from the Assistant CIA Director of Scientific Intelligence (O/SI) was much more urgent: "...the reports of incidents convince us that there is something going on that must have immediate attention. Sightings of unexplained objects at great altitudes and traveling at highs speeds in the vicinity of U.S. defense installation are of such nature that they are not attributable to natural phenomena or known types of aerial vehicles." Some of the memos also made it clear that CIA interest in the subject was not to be made public, partly in fear of possible public panic. (Good, 331–335)
  • The CIA organized the January 1953 Robertson Panel
    Robertson Panel
    The Robertson Panel was a committee commissioned by the Central Intelligence Agency in 1952 in response to widespread reports of unidentified flying objects, especially in the Washington, D.C. area. The panel was briefed on U.S...

     of scientists to debunk the data collected by the Air Force's Project Blue Book
    Project Blue Book
    Project Blue Book was one of a series of systematic studies of unidentified flying objects conducted by the United States Air Force. Started in 1952, it was the second revival of such a study...

    . This included an engineering analysis of UFO maneuvers by Blue Book (including a motion picture film analysis by Naval scientists) that had concluded UFOs were under intelligent control and likely extraterrestrial.
  • Extraterrestrial "believers" within Project Blue Book
    Project Blue Book
    Project Blue Book was one of a series of systematic studies of unidentified flying objects conducted by the United States Air Force. Started in 1952, it was the second revival of such a study...

     included Major Dewey Fournet, in charge of the engineering analysis of UFO motion, who later became a board member on the civilian UFO organization NICAP. Blue Book director Edward J. Ruppelt
    Edward J. Ruppelt
    Edward J. Ruppelt was a United States Air Force officer probably best-known for his involvement in Project Blue Book, a formal governmental study of unidentified flying objects...

     privately commented on other firm "pro-UFO" members in the USAF investigations, including some Pentagon generals, such as Charles P. Cabell
    Charles P. Cabell
    Charles Pearre Cabell was an United States Air Force General and deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency.-Early life:...

    , USAF Chief of Air Intelligence, who angry at the inaction and debunkery of Project Grudge
    Project Grudge
    Project Grudge was a short-lived project by the U.S. Air Force to investigate unidentified flying objects . Grudge succeeded Project Sign in February, 1949, and was then followed by Project Blue Book. The project formally ended in December 1949, but actually continued on in a very minimal capacity...

    , dissolved it in 1951, established Project Blue Book in its place, and made Ruppelt director. In 1953, Cabell became deputy director of the CIA. Another defector from the official Air Force party line was consultant Dr. J. Allen Hynek
    J. Allen Hynek
    Dr. Josef Allen Hynek was a United States astronomer, professor, and ufologist. He is perhaps best remembered for his UFO research. Hynek acted as scientific adviser to UFO studies undertaken by the U.S. Air Force under three consecutive names: Project Sign , Project Grudge , and Project Blue Book...

    , who started out as a staunch skeptic. After 20 years of investigation, he changed positions and generally supported the ETH. He became the most publicly known UFO advocate scientist in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • The first CIA Director, Vice Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter
    Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter
    Roscoe Henry Hillenkoetter , born in St. Louis, Missouri, was the third director of the post-World War II U.S. Central Intelligence Group , the third Director of Central Intelligence , and the first director of the Central Intelligence Agency created by the National Security Act of 1947...

    , stated in a signed statement to Congress, also reported in the New York Times, February 28, 1960, "It is time for the truth to be brought out... Behind the scenes high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about the UFOs. However, through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense... I urge immediate Congressional action to reduce the dangers from secrecy about unidentified flying objects." In 1962, in his letter of resignation from NICAP, he told director Donald Keyhoe
    Donald Keyhoe
    Donald Edward Keyhoe was an American Marine Corps naval aviator, writer of many aviation articles and stories in a variety of leading publications, and manager of the promotional tours of aviation pioneers, especially of Charles Lindbergh.In the 1950s he became well-known as an UFO researcher,...

    , "I know the UFOs are not U.S. or Soviet devices. All we can do now is wait for some actions by the UFOs."
  • Although the 1968 Condon Report came to a negative conclusion (written by Condon
    Edward Condon
    Edward Uhler Condon was a distinguished American nuclear physicist, a pioneer in quantum mechanics, and a participant in the development of radar and nuclear weapons during World War II.-Early life and career:...

    ), it is known that many members of the study strongly disagreed with Condon's methods and biases. Most quit the project in disgust or were fired for insubordination. A few became ETH supporters. Perhaps the best known example is Dr. David Saunders, who in his 1968 book UFOs? Yes lambasted Condon for extreme bias and ignoring or misrepresenting critical evidence. Saunders wrote, "It is clear... that the sightings have been going on for too long to explain in terms of straightforward terrestrial intelligence. It's in this sense that ETI (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) stands as the 'least implausible' explanation of 'real UFOs'."
  • In 1999, the private French COMETA
    COMETA
    COMETA was a high-level French UFO study organisation from the late 1990s, composed of high-ranking officers and officials, some having held command posts in the armed forces and aerospace industry...

     report (written primarily by military defense analysts) stated the conclusion regarding UFO phenomena, that a "single hypothesis sufficiently takes into account the facts and, for the most part, only calls for present-day science. It is the hypothesis of extraterrestrial visitors." http://www.ufoevidence.org/newsite/files/COMETA_part2.pdf The report noted issues with formulating the extraterrestrial hypothesis, likening its study to the study of meteorites, but concluded that although it was far from the best scientific hypothesis, "strong presumptions exist in its favour". The report also concludes that the studies it presents "demonstrate the almost certain physical reality of completely unknown flying objects with remarkable flight performances and noiselessness, apparently operated by intelligent [beings] … Secret craft definitely of early origins (drones, stealth aircraft, etc.) can only explain a minority of cases. If we go back far enough in time, we clearly perceive the limits of this explanation."
  • Jean-Jacques Velasco, the head of the official French UFO investigation SEPRA, wrote a book in 2005 saying that 14% of the 5800 cases studied by SEPRA were utterly inexplicable and extraterrestrial in origin. Yves Sillard, the head of the new official French UFO investigation GEIPAN
    GEIPAN
    GEIPAN , formerly known as GEPAN and SEPRA , is a unit of the French Space Agency CNES whose brief is to investigate unidentified aerospace phenomena and make its findings available to the public....

     and former head of the French space agency CNES
    CNES
    The is the French government space agency . Established under President Charles de Gaulle in 1961, its headquarters are located in central Paris and it is under the supervision of the French Ministries of Defence and Research...

    , echoes Velasco's comments and adds the U.S. is guilty of covering up this information. Again, this isn't the official public posture of SEPRA, CNES, or the French government. (CNES recently placed their 5800 case files on the Internet starting March 2007.)

Official White House Position


In November 2011, the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 released an official response to two petitions asking the U.S. government to acknowledge formally that aliens have visited Earth and to disclose any intentional withholding of government interactions with extraterrestrial beings. According to the response, "The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race." Also, according to the response, there is "no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public's eye." The response further noted that efforts, like SETI
SETI
The search for extraterrestrial intelligence is the collective name for a number of activities people undertake to search for intelligent extraterrestrial life. Some of the most well known projects are run by the SETI Institute. SETI projects use scientific methods to search for intelligent life...

, the Kepler space telescope and the NASA Mars rover
Mars Science Laboratory
The Mars Science Laboratory is a National Aeronautics and Space Administration mission with the aim to land and operate a rover named Curiosity on the surface of Mars. The MSL was launched November 26, 2011, at 10:02 EST and is scheduled to land on Mars at Gale Crater between August 6 and 20, 2012...

, continue looking for signs of life
Life
Life is a characteristic that distinguishes objects that have signaling and self-sustaining processes from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased , or else because they lack such functions and are classified as inanimate...

. The response noted "odds are pretty high" that there may be life on other planets but "the odds of us making contact with any of them—especially any intelligent ones—are extremely small, given the distances involved."

See also


  • Alan F. Alford
    Alan F. Alford
    Alan F. Alford, B. Com, FCA, MBA is a British writer and speaker on the subjects of ancient religion, mythology, and Egyptology.His first book Gods of the New Millennium drew on the ancient astronaut theory of Zecharia Sitchin and became a number 11 non-fiction bestseller in the UK...

  • Ancient astronauts
    Ancient astronauts
    Some writers have proposed that intelligent extraterrestrial beings have visited Earth in antiquity or prehistory and made contact with humans. Such visitors are called ancient astronauts or ancient aliens. Proponents suggest that this contact influenced the development of human cultures,...

  • Chariots of the Gods?
  • David Icke
    David Icke
    David Vaughan Icke is an English writer and public speaker, best known for his views on what he calls "who and what is really controlling the world." Describing himself as the most controversial speaker in the world, he has written 18 books explaining his position, and has attracted a substantial...

  • Dogon people
    Dogon people
    The Dogon are an ethnic group living in the central plateau region of Mali, south of the Niger bend near the city of Bandiagara in the Mopti region. The population numbers between 400,000 and 800,000 The Dogon are best known for their religious traditions, their mask dances, wooden sculpture and...

  • Giorgio A. Tsoukalos
    Giorgio A. Tsoukalos
    Giorgio A. Tsoukalos is a Swiss born Greek writer, television presenter, and proponent of the idea that ancient astronauts interacted with ancient humans...

  • Interdimensional hypothesis
    Interdimensional hypothesis
    The interdimensional hypothesis , also called the extradimensional hypothesis , is an advanced theory by Jacques Vallée that says unidentified flying objects and related events involve visitations from other "realities" or "dimensions" that coexist separately alongside our own...

  • Murry Hope
    Murry Hope
    Murry Hope Richard Ellis, Imagining Atlantis, 1998. Alfred A. Knoft - original from University of Michigan; pp. 64-70, 269. ISBN 0679446028. is an English woman writer, lecturer, psychic, healer, astrologer, numerologist, palmist, former lyric singer and universal occultist. She makes part of the...

  • Psychosocial Hypothesis
    Psychosocial Hypothesis
    In ufology, the psychosocial or psychocultural hypothesis, colloquially abbreviated PSH or PCH, argues that at least some UFO reports are best explained by psychological or social means...

  • Robert K. G. Temple
    Robert K. G. Temple
    Robert K. G. Temple is an American author best known for his controversial book, The Sirius Mystery which presents the idea that the Dogon people preserve the tradition of contact with intelligent extraterrestrial beings from the Sirius star-system...

  • The Sirius Mystery
    The Sirius Mystery
    The Sirius Mystery is a book by Robert K. G. Temple first published by St. Martin's Press in 1975. It presents the hypothesis that the Dogon people of Mali in west Africa, preserve a tradition of contact with intelligent extraterrestrial beings from the Sirius star-system.These beings, who are...

  • The UFO Hostility Hypothesis
  • Zecharia Sitchin
    Zecharia Sitchin
    Zecharia Sitchin was an Azerbaijani-born American author of books promoting an explanation for human origins involving ancient astronauts. Sitchin attributes the creation of the ancient Sumerian culture to the Anunnaki, which he states was a race of extra-terrestrials from a planet beyond Neptune...



External links