UFO Sightings and Evidence Throughout History
There are those among us who believe that aliens not only exist but that they are here on Earth with us right now. Others may not cling to such fantastic notions but will admit it’s possible, given the vastness of space, that other civilizations may exist out there somewhere.
Even plain-old common sense suggests that aliens must exist. Looking up at the stars, it's hard to imagine we're really alone. Somewhere out there we have to believe there are other civilizations as intelligent as we are.
Well, hopefully, more intelligent! In fact, maybe they're even capable of traveling between the stars, from planet to planet. Maybe, they've even been visiting Earth.
Of course, there are also skeptics who believe it’s a bunch of baloney.
So how do the believers (and the wannabe believers) present their case for alien visitation on Earth? Is there really any evidence?
Some say proof dating all the way back to the ancient past offers compelling reasons to think aliens are here among us. Others say eyewitness accounts offer valid proof. UFOs are allegedly spotted all the time, even by military personnel and NASA astronauts. We can only imagine what the U.S. Government isn't telling us!
Before we get into all of that we have to ask ourselves: What are the chances alien civilizations are really out there at all? Is there a way to determine if alien life is even possible?
The Drake Equation
In 1961 astronomer Frank Drake came up with an equation to determine the possibility of other intelligent life in the universe. He wasn't wondering about UFOs, or asking if aliens are visiting Earth; he was simply trying to determine the chances of other life forms we might communicate with existing somewhere in the cosmos.
Depending on how optimistic you are, the results of the Drake equation either tell you it's really, really likely there are other civilizations like ours out there, or they tell you nothing at all. It all depends on what numbers your put into the formula.
The Drake Equation Considers:
- The frequency at which suitable star systems form.
- The chances of planets around those stars.
- How many of those planets are able to support life.
- The number of planets where life actually develops.
- The percentage of said life that evolves into intelligent civilizations.
- The number of those civilizations that develop detectable technology.
- How long those civilizations have been around, sending signals into space.
"Answers" to the Drake Equation range from zero to hundreds of thousands of intelligent civilizations existing somewhere in the cosmos. As you can see, if any of those numbers are zero then we're truly alone. But by many accounts, this equation does give us good reason to be optimistic about other intelligent life out there.
Where Do Aliens Come From?
So, even if alien civilizations are out there, what are the chances they could actually get here? Movies like Star Wars and well-known sci-fi shows like Star Trek would have us believe that a simple punch of a button will blast us off to many times the speed of light, rocketing us toward a destination in some far-flung solar system.
But there's a problem with this, at least by how we currently understand physics. Nothing with mass can travel at the speed of light, and even approaching the speed of light has its own set of non-survivable issues for we wimpy humans.
And even if you could travel at the speed of light, that's not nearly fast enough.
It takes the light from the sun a little over eight minutes to get to Earth. In a year that light will travel about six trillion miles. The next nearest solar system to ours is Alpha Centauri, and it's a bit more than four light-years away.
That's really far, over 25 trillion miles, and by our current technology, it would take us about 160,000 years to get there. If our alien buddies travel at or near light speed, and if they come from Alpha Centauri, it will take them four years to get here.
Astronomers know there are planets in the Alpha Centauri system, but the problem is they aren't like ours. So if not Alpha Centauri, where might aliens come from? According to some sources, including the infamous Bob Lazar and original UFO abductee Betty Hill, they may come from a system called Zeta Reticuli. If that's true, it puts them at a distance of about 39 light-years.
From our perspective, this seems an insurmountable distance. It would take us hundreds of thousands of years to get there. So how are they doing it?
We can only guess. Whether they get here by using theoretical "wormholes", or by some kind of faster-than-light technology, or by manipulating the very fabric of space itself, their science is far beyond our understanding.
It would be easy to believe they'd never make it here at all if people weren't seeing them all the time!
Sightings of UFOs date back to antiquity, and they are probably the most common piece of evidence people point to when talking about alien visitation. As thrilling as these encounters are, it's important to remember that UFOs are only what their name indicates—Unidentified Flying Objects. In other words, just because they are not identifiable does not mean they are from some other world.
There are even odd sightings of flying humanoids, a phenomenon believed to be attached to UFO visitation.
Some UFO sightings can be explained as misidentified real-world aircraft or even flocks of geese or other high-flying birds. Others are due to odd tricks of light or other natural anomalies. Yes, some might even be attributed to secret government aircraft. But of the hundreds if not thousands of reports every year, is it reasonable to assume every one of them is of some earthly object rather than a real flying saucer?
One way to separate the wheat from the chaff is to consider who is reporting a UFO sighting. While ordinary citizens should certainly be taken seriously, when reports come from airline pilots, military personal, or astronomers we have to think there is something to them. Even NASA astronauts have reported seeing UFOs.
These are professional people trained to watch the skies and know what's out there, yet there are countless cases UFOs reported by pilots, and by military personnel. Gordon Cooper, one of the original Mercury astronauts, was a believer in alien visitation and suggested back in 1985 that the U.S. Military continually tracks unknown objects by radar.
While it's certainly possible that errors can occur, when sightings reports come from such respected and trustworthy sources perhaps we ought to listen. And, we have to wonder, how many high-level military people have had UFO experiences but were reluctant to come forward in fear of jeopardizing their career.
Pilots have been seeing UFOs for decades, and some people like to attribute the alien presence on Earth to our tinkering with atomic weapons around the end of World War II, but there are many researchers who believe they've been here much longer.
Evidence of Ancient Aliens
Aside from modern sightings, there are some who say there is proof that aliens have been visiting our little planet for thousands of years. Ancient cultures accomplished some incredible feats, and looking back through history it's hard to explain exactly how they did.
There are definitely mysteries to unravel, and somehow it seems like a lot of the technology they must have possessed and knowledge they had accumulated has simply been lost in time. This leads some UFO researchers to suggest that alien visitors played a part in some of antiquities' greatest projects.
An oft-cited example is the Great Pyramid in Egypt. Even today scholars aren't exactly sure how sure massive blocks were moved into place, and perfectly aligned, by a society that didn't even use the wheel. It's tempting to assume extraterrestrial visitors may have had a hand in these and other massive structures built in ancient times.
This might make sense, but on the other hand, it may be selling our ancient ancestors short. It's important to remember that they were just as intelligent and savvy as we are today. But if they did possess such technology, where did it go?
Of course, we can only guess what the ancient people knew, and the chance of alien contact back then was about a likely as it is today. Add in interpretations of alien figures and craft in old paintings, sculptures, and stonework and it's clear to many people that aliens have been here on Earth all along.
If so, we have to wonder why they're being so secretive.
Area 51 and U.S. Government Conspiracies
Let's assume for a moment that alien visitors did have a hand in helping ancient civilizations with some of their greatest technological triumphs. What about modern-day? Might they still be doing the same with the major government powers around the world?
There are those who believe that the U.S. Government knows very well that aliens have been visiting Earth, and in fact may be in some kind of communication with them. It's not likely they're discussing handing over our planet for colonization, but maybe our alien friends are helping us as they did cultures long ago.
Many believe, at the very least, the government is hiding the presence of alien visitation from its citizens. People have reported alien craft that have crashed here on Earth, and the military is always first on the scene to clean it all up.
The most famous case is the 1947 Roswell incident, where military personnel first announced that a flying saucer had been captured, then changed their story to weather balloon. Why would the government do this?
Skeptics will say this kind of deception is the ultimate fake-out. Consider a clandestine base like the legendary Area 51, where no doubt all kinds of super-secret experimental aircraft have been developed and tested. Job number one for the U.S. intelligence community would be to keep people out, keep information in, and downplay any strange goings-on at and near the base. If the public is somehow convinced that there are UFOs there, maybe they aren't so concerned with what really is going on at Area 51.
On the other hand, what if the U.S. Government really is reverse-engineering alien technology at Area 51 and other secret bases around the world? What if, as they did for the Egyptians, aliens are helping our scientists along the way? The idea is intriguing, chilling, and reeks of the appropriate amount of conspiracy theory.
So, where does the truth lie? Is the government hiding evidence of aliens from the public, or are the UFO sightings reported every year by ordinary people enough evidence to say we know aliens are here?
The Fermi Paradox
Where are they?
This is the question physicist Enrico Fermi put to his colleagues in 1950 during an informal discussion of the possibility of alien life. If alien life is potentially so abundant, where are they?
- We've already seen from the Drake equation that there is a strong likelihood that aliens exist.
- We've determined that, even though we may not be able to travel such distances just yet, it's conceivable that a very advanced civilization may be able to make the journey.
- We've entertained the possibility that alien peoples may have been secretly visiting Earth in the ancient past, and may even be working alongside our world's governments today.
- We know that thousands of UFOs are seen and reported every year by civilians and military personnel alike.
So, where are they? Why are we limited to questionable sightings, conspiracy theories, and outright conjecture? If aliens are out there, why aren't they making themselves known on a global scale, and reaching out to the citizens of Earth in the name of intergalactic peace?
Of course, there could be many reasons, including the chilling thought that they aren't here for peaceful reasons at all. For now, we just don't know, and all we can do is guess. What are aliens really? What do they want from us? Are aliens real at all?