Aliens: real.

Now that we have that out of the way, to business: there have been an alarmingly high number of stories in the news about UFOs and, by extension, the slim possibility of aliens piloting them. And I’m not just talking about fluff in the Daily Mail or whatever – I’m talking about some solid (and escalating!) reportage from some of the world’s most august publications.

Here, from the New York Times:

The strange objects, one of them like a spinning top moving against the wind, appeared almost daily from the summer of 2014 to March 2015, high in the skies over the East Coast. Navy pilots reported to their superiors that the objects had no visible engine or infrared exhaust plumes, but that they could reach 30,000 feet and hypersonic speeds.

“These things would be out there all day,” said Lt. Ryan Graves, an F/A-18 Super Hornet pilot who has been with the Navy for 10 years, and who reported his sightings to the Pentagon and Congress. “Keeping an aircraft in the air requires a significant amount of energy. With the speeds we observed, 12 hours in the air is 11 hours longer than we’d expect.”

The article posits – quite shockingly! – that between 2014 and 2015, Navy pilots were spotting UFOs on an almost daily basis. Apparently, sightings have increased in tandem with improving radar and tracking technology, but pilots have generally been ignoring what they consider to be “false radar tracks.”

The NYT alien fixation isn’t entirely fresh, though. It also covered the Pentagon’s mysterious “UFO program” back in 2017, including the frankly stunning claim that Pentagon subcontractors were holding “metal alloys” recovered from unidentified flying objects in a shed in Las Vegas.

The funding went to Mr. Bigelow’s company, Bigelow Aerospace, which hired subcontractors and solicited research for the program.

Under Mr. Bigelow’s direction, the company modified buildings in Las Vegas for the storage of metal alloys and other materials that Mr. Elizondo and program contractors said had been recovered from unidentified aerial phenomena. Researchers also studied people who said they had experienced physical effects from encounters with the objects and examined them for any physiological changes. In addition, researchers spoke to military service members who had reported sightings of strange aircraft.

Very normal! That story, which covers the Defense Department’s so-called Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, received a healthy dose of skepticism – but also a gentle confirmation from the department; the first time the US government has ever acknowledged the existence of such a program.

But it’s not just the NYT. The Washington Post reported last month that the Navy has drafted an official process through which pilots can report encounters with UFOs and other unidentified phenomena.

According to Mellon, awestruck and baffled pilots, concerned that reporting unidentified flying aircraft would adversely affect their careers, tended not to speak up. And when they did, he said, there was little interest in investigating their claims.

“Imagine you see highly advanced vehicles, they appear on radar systems, they look bizarre, no one knows where they’re from. This happens on a recurring basis, and no one does anything,” said Mellon, who now works for To the Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences. Because agencies do not share this type of information, it is difficult to know the full extent of activity. Still, he estimated that dozens of incidents were witnessed by naval officers in a single year, enough to force the service to address the issue.

There’s a good writeup over at Jalopnik’s military vertical Foxtrot Alpha about what we can establish from all these recent reports about UFOs. In short: the craft which are being reported by Navy pilots in the US do not use conventional propulsion systems, don’t have a consistent look, and nobody knows who or what is piloting them. Are they aliens, or are they just futuristic military tests being glimpsed by people below the appropriate paygrade?

Of course, we can’t forget the reports from the past couple of years which suggest that the mysterious interstellar object ‘Oumuamua might actually be some kind of alien spacecraft.

To me, it’s  all aliens. They’re real. Keep your eyes on the skies, and also the newspapers.

Image: Getty Images / [Photographer name]