A Pentagon official who heads a secret unit that studies unidentified flying objects has speculated that recent sightings in US airspace could actually be alien probes from a mothership sent to study Earth.
Sean Kirkpatrick, head of the Pentagon’s All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO), has said in a new academic paper that the objects, which appear to defy all physics, could be “probes” for an extraterrestrial “parent vehicle”.
The draft paper, co-authored by Harvard professor Avi Loeb and seen by Politico, that interstellar objects like the cigar-shaped “Oumuamua” that scientists spotted flying across the galaxy in 2017 “could potentially be a parent craft that it releases many small probes during its flyby of Earth.
The authors liken the probes to “dandelion seeds” that could be separated from the mother ship by the sun’s gravitational pull. The probes could use starlight to “recharge their batteries” and Earth’s water as fuel.
“Habitable planets would be particularly attractive for extraterrestrial trans-medium probes, capable of moving between space, air and water,” the authors write in the March 7 paper.
“From a great distance, Venus, Earth or Mars would be equally attractive to probes. But upon closer inspection, Earth would show spectral signatures of liquid water and vegetation.
The document, which has not yet been consulted, demonstrates that the Pentagon is open to scientific debate on the origins of UFOs, Politico reports, an important signal to send to academia.
Professor Loeb has a privately funded academic effort to look for UFOs called The Galileo Project.
He and Mr. Kirkpatrick, himself a respected scientist who worked in the Department of Defense and the United States Space Command, speculate why aliens send exploratory probes to Earth.
“What would be the main purpose of the trip? By analogy with real dandelion seeds, the probes could propagate their senders’ blueprint,” the authors write. “As with biological seeds, raw materials on the planet’s surface could also be used by them as nutrients for the self -replication or simply for scientific exploration”.
AARO was established last summer and has already received hundreds of Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP) reports.
The office works with other federal agencies to detect objects of interest near military installations or other areas of interest and is required to report regularly to Congress.
Interest in UFOs has peaked in recent weeks after the United States shot down what it described as a large Chinese spy balloon that entered American airspace. American fighter jets then shot down three unidentified flying objects, two over the United States and one over Canadian airspace in quick succession.
The incidents prompted the Pentagon to start taking a closer look at other objects in flight.
David Jewitt, a professor of astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles, however, said some of the claims in the paper are “highly questionable” and called it “strange” that Kirkpatrick is a co-author.
“The Air Force is very good at bombing things, but as far as their UFO research goes, I think I would trust them as far as I can throw them,” Mr. Jewitt told the website.
“It’s unclear whether Air Force and military capabilities are best suited to studying aliens.”