By Jonny Lupsha, Wondrium Staff Writer
The U.S. Navy has confirmed the status of three reported UFO videos to civilian watchdog site The Black Vault. The website “exclusively obtained” statements made by Navy spokesperson Joseph Gradisher to that effect. If aliens are out there, what’s keeping them?
Between December 2017 and March 2018, three videos were released to The New York Times and the public benefit corporation To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science (TTSA), showing unidentified flying objects caught by official government and/or military cameras. The story has developed incrementally since then. One such development was the release of an e-mail conversation stemming from a TTSA board member requesting the videos for official government use under the Freedom of Information Act. This thread of e-mails contradicts TTSA statements that the videos were cleared for public release, which the Pentagon and now the U.S.Navy have fervently denied.
The e-mails are back in the spotlight this month because none of them refer to the objects in question as UFOs or the U.S. Navy’s preferred nomenclature “unidentified aerial phenomena” (UAPs), but Mr. Gradisher has now confirmed in statements obtained by The Black Vault—a civilian watchdog site that maintains somewhat of a database or archive for declassified government documents—that UAP is the official terminology designated to these events.
It’s important to note that the word “unidentified” in terms like “unidentified flying object” or “unidentified aerial phenomena” does not imply any alien origin, but simply that the object was not specifically determined to be a known make or model of aircraft. Whether the blame lies with a backyard tinkerer with a modified store-bought drone, an experimental domestic or foreign surveillance aerial vehicle on an unannounced flight, or flying saucers with little green men aboard, all would fall under the umbrella term of “unidentified.”
However, should the public’s wildest speculations be true and aliens from outer space have been caught on tape zooming overhead over the years, one question that has plagued science for decades is this: Where have they been and why haven’t they made contact with us yet? This is known as the Fermi Paradox.
The Fermi Paradox
“It is said that one day in 1950, the famous Nobel Prize winner in Physics, Enrico Fermi, asked his physicist friends, ‘Where are they?'” said Dr. Laird Close, Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at The University of Arizona. “Where is all the evidence of these advanced civilizations that should be common throughout the galaxy? Fermi was wondering why we had no evidence, really hard evidence, that there is alien life.”
Consider the number of stars in the Milky Way that are comparable to our own. Then only look at stars that should have planets orbiting them at proportionately the right size and distance to produce Earth-like atmospheric conditions. There should still be a considerably high number of solar systems fully capable of producing reasonably similar environments to Earth’s; and, therefore, they should bear and sustain life on at least one of their planets. In fact, according to Dr. Close, that considerably high number is about 100,000 stars. If just one percent of them bore fruit, there should be 1,000 civilizations that could have evolved to intelligent and space-exploring species by now, considering the estimated age of the universe.
“Given this idea that you could have civilizations that are billions of years old, and it would only take 2.5 million years to go from one part of the galaxy to the other, one really wonders why this hasn’t already occurred,” Dr. Close said. “It seems that the galaxy and perhaps even our own solar system should have been colonized some 500 times or more in the past. That’s the paradox—we’ve seen no evidence of any of this.”
Even UFOs, Dr. Close said, wouldn’t solve the Fermi Paradox, nor is he familiar with any real evidence of them. “In fact, the general trend about UFOs is that the more experienced the observer, the more sophisticated the equipment, the less likely there is a UFO sighting,” he said.
This lends credence to the theory that “unidentified” flying objects are just that—rather ordinary things that the observer simply couldn’t identify as an aircraft or normal celestial body like a meteorite. Even still, we often find ourselves looking up to the sky and asking ourselves, “What if?”
Dr. Laird Close contributed to this article. Dr. Close is Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at The University of Arizona. Awarded a Canadian (study abroad) Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council scholarship while attending The University of British Columbia, he then earned his Ph.D. in Adaptive Optics from the renowned University of Arizona Astronomy Department.