UFOS: The Alien Crisis

Sylvia Liang and Audrey Houghton

“Prepare for wave of extraterrestrial sightings in UK”; “U.S. General Doesn’t Eliminate Aliens As UFOs Mount”; “Pentagon releases latest UFO sightings report”. Believe it or not, these were real headlines during the last couple of months- from CBS News all the way to the Washington Post. Reports of unidentified flying objects have skyrocketed in the past year, and it warrants an important question: What will we do if we make contact with the extraterrestrial?

The US sending F-22’s and F-16’s to shoot down unidentified objects is a stark contrast to what happened during the USS Nimitz and USS Roosevelt incidents, in which the declassified videos of fighter pilots and their weapon system officers show no action being taken, instead landing and reporting the incidents. However, the videos from said incidents have been published, allowing possible explanations to be given for what happened. For example, in the GOFAST video there are examples of the parallax effect, in which the foreground and background can appear to be moving at different speeds when in reality they are nearly identical. The GIMBAL video also had it’s pilots remark on incredible speeds against 259 kilometer per hour (160 miles per hour) winds, along with reporting an entire fleet on the planes instrument panel. Chaff, small metal shavings dumped out of planes in large amounts, essentially cause a radar to be confused and believe that what it’s tracking is actually in a different location, different speed, and even create large clouds and clumps on the radar screen. These match up with what the pilots reported, meaning that a military countermeasure was used, and as a result caused faulty information such as incorrect speeds, a non-existent fleet of them, and more to be relayed to the pilots.

If you gaze further back, where UFO sightings ran hot during the Cold War. You can see some similarities emerging from the reports; sightings of strange flying machines never before seen flying what’s described at impossible altitudes and at impossible speeds. Even then, these incidents have explanations, with the sightings being linked to the declassified SR-71- an aircraft capable of flying 3 times higher than mount everest, and going so fast that its top speed is still unknown. It’s unusual shape, sleek and pointed, with a flat bottom and wings forming a triangular shape at the back was extremely unusual at the time too, and with a crash leading to the CIA trying to cover up the incident, it can be seen why UFO sightings were consistent with the SR-71’s profile.

Aircraft carrier incidents haven’t gone unnoticed either, as some users mentioned them on social media during the UFO reports in February, and like the UFO incidents, they draw both people of the UFO debate to the subject. Some people believe what was shot down over the midwestern US and the China sea could have very well been aliens or something else from space. Skeptics, however, believe that the objects could have simply been balloons being detected due to radar search parameters being changed.

Now, before you put your tinfoil hats on, it’s important to understand that all of these recent UFO sightings can easily be linked to something man-made. In fact, one reported UFO was really just a balloon made by a small radio club! In a turn of events, one such flying object that was shot down was claimed by China, who actually asked for the remains of the balloon back. (Can you imagine? “Yeah, we were spying on you. Can we have the spy technology back now?”) Where foreign objects used to spy on us may be their own cause of alarm, it’s certainly not aliens… or is it?

In February 2023, NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, reportedly changed how their radars searched. Specifically, they altered how big an object would have to be in order for it to show up on its radar screen. Given the current sharp increase in spottings most notably during February, it isn’t unlikely that the radar is picking up so many new objects because it only now has the ability to pick up new objects. This increase in search size can bring up 2 different conclusions, depending on where you yourself stand. Either we are now just seeing small hobby balloons that have always been there, or aliens have been with us for a long time, with us being unable to detect them until now.

“I feel like the government would try to shield UFO existence from the public eye so they would probably falsely identify them as a man-made object. If they announced aliens had arrived, it’d cause havoc. Everyone would be yelling ‘the end is near,’” Nathan Riverea (11) commented. This is a surprisingly common consensus- out of the students interviewed, over half expressed some sort of doubt that we’d be given warning if extraterrestrial activity was actually found. Would this be a fair reaction?

A panic response seems likely: many students acknowledged a genuine fear of the unknown. “I’m terrified of them. It gives me so much anxiety- I can’t even describe it in words,” Sarah Seo (12) told us emphatically. “What if they’re really ugly, and I have to be polite?”

There’s no knowing how extraterrestrials would treat humanity, so how should we treat them? “I think we should be friendly, probably,” Natalia Johnson(11) replied. “Let them do what they want,” said another. And perhaps the most insightful from Nathan Rivera:

“We should treat them with respect. They’re higher beings and we could take that chance to further our technology.”

Some students however, believe that the objects shot down were alien in nature, and have a radically different response to what our response should be when dealing with extraterrestrial life. “They’re definitely human made, just something that we don’t know about”, said Kai Justice(11). “You can’t deny [aliens], but I feel like it’s a higher chance [somebody] just let something free,” and instead believes that “they were just experimenting with something and it flew over here.” He also has the boldest sentiment of all of the interviewees, urging us to “either be cautious… or just blast [it] out of the sky.”

Photo Courtesy of Nathaniel Rivera