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U.S. Navy drafting new guidelines for reporting UFOs (politico.com)
155 points by PhaedrusV 26 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 142 comments



This story is a rewrite of a WaPo story which is a rewrite of a Politico story. The core of the story is that military pilots have been socially discouraged in the past from reporting UAP's because of their association with sci-fi UFOs, but the rise of sightings have made it important that they report whatever it is they see, without stigma.

> There have been a number of reports of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft entering various military-controlled ranges and designated air space in recent years," the Navy said in a statement in response to questions from POLITICO. "For safety and security concerns, the Navy and the [U.S. Air Force] takes these reports very seriously and investigates each and every report.

> "As part of this effort," it added, "the Navy is updating and formalizing the process by which reports of any such suspected incursions can be made to the cognizant authorities. A new message to the fleet that will detail the steps for reporting is in draft."

Why it's taken the U.S. Military this long to formalize this is the only head shaking part. The word UFO in the headline is click bait.


Thanks for tracking down the original source. We've updated the link from https://www.philly.com/news/nation-world/unidentified-flying....


We already learned they were fake with the Air Forces Project Bluebook in the 50s/60s. No need to look further. /s

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Blue_Book


Summary of conclusions:

"""

+ No UFO reported, investigated, and evaluated by the Air Force was ever an indication of threat to our national security;

+ There was no evidence submitted to or discovered by the Air Force that sightings categorized as "unidentified" represented technological developments or principles beyond the range of modern scientific knowledge; and

+ There was no evidence indicating that sightings categorized as "unidentified" were extraterrestrial vehicles.

"""

Where do you learn that they are "fake" ?


UFO != "fake" or alien. UFO encompasses anything that couldn't be readily identified. Be it a weather balloon, experimental craft or something a pilot caught a fleeting glimpse out of the corner of their eye. If the pilot is unable to identify it even due to lack of knowledge, it is deemed unidentifiable. No aliens or conspiracies required.

I mean sure, there could be aliens or conspiracies involved, but it seems unlikely given how poor people are at keeping even the smallest secret.


/s = sarcasm. Thank you for the reply.


It makes sense considering the rise of drones.

Imagine if some low level cadet sees something, but doesn't want to look silly/weird so they don't say anything. That drone then collides with a plane during takeoff, or is packed full of explosives.

A lot of things that are perfectly terrestrial can look weird, and it's important people in a military facility can report strange behavior without fear of repercussions.


Considering the possibility that an unknown thing might be something that an enemy has involvement with I'm surprised there wasn't a process already.

The data documented could prove useful later as intelligence if you learn that it is something an enemy is up to, but maybe didn't know it at the time.


> ... I'm surprised there wasn't a process already.

There was. The U.S. Airforce had the long-running Project Bluebook.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Blue_Book


And History Channel in the US has a historical fiction based upon the declassified Project Bluebook files. Only one season so far, but I found it interesting.

Not having read the files themselves, I have no idea of the accuracy of the show to the files. But, the show has been interesting and entertaining to me. X Files reminiscent, but based on real reports.

Seems they're trying to take actual real world UFO/alien encounter reports and wrap them into a fictional conspiracy (well, theoretical conspiracy) to make for an entertaining show.

It also happens to star Aiden Gillen (Little Finger/Lord Baelish in Game of Thrones).


There ya go History Channel, finally finding a somewhat decent line between their history documentaries and Ancient Aliens.


I wonder if this video release impacted the decision?

https://youtu.be/G9D8dzl4zGk

I remember when it came out it caused quite a stir.

Edit: Here's the Wikipedia page:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Nimitz_UFO_incident


Haha, great video.

Lots of very serious intro text about video trail of custody, declassification. A one minute step by step overview of a "best in class" sensor UI. Finally, "the audio you're about to hear is highly trained US air Force pilots and weapons operating specialists trying to make sense of what they see."

"It's a fucking drone bro!"


From the very first time I saw this video, there is a moment with a very tell tale sign that it is some unexplained optical effect:

around 1m40s the object rotates simultaneously with camera rotation, twice, and at twice the angle of rotation the camera makes! now think of how if you rotate a mirror some angle alpha, then the reflected view rotates an angle of 2 alpha. So to me this is a tell tale sign of some optical effect. Do I have a complete explanation? No, but then again there is no complete specification of the observation: what is the sensor layout and optical setup like?


It's a raytheon ATFLIR[0]. The rotation precisely matches the point at which the 'up-down' tracking reaches it's upper stop and the body of the pod has to rotate. The concensus was that it's some internal reflection within the pod window.

[0] https://www.raytheon.com/capabilities/products/atflir


What "consensus"? I've read the Wikipedia article on the incident and found no information of any consensus of this sort. The objects in question were visually tracked by multiple aircraft, and were detected by multiple radar systems.


A lot of discussion from here:

https://www.metabunk.org/nyt-gimbal-video-of-u-s-navy-jet-en...

But there was also discussion on skeptics.com and skepticforum.com when it was news last year.

Also note that the organisation that released the videos is a known scammer who has been caught trying to monetize the UFO community many times.


They were dispatched to investigate it after it showed up on radar.


It could be but the incident is odd the object was tracked by a surface vessel and 2 F-18s were sent to investigate they’ve seen it but they had no optical sensors then the object spirited away at about 2400 mp/h and tracking was lost then another pair of F-18s was sent when the object has been reacquired this time with the FLIR pod form which part of the footage in the video is from.

While it can be a sensor malfunction or even a viral marketing campaign 4 naval aviators as well as multiple radar operators have made sensor and visual contact with it and they had no fucking clue what it was.


Is there any officially acknowledged evidence of the story (minus the IR footage)?

To me the probability of independent means of sighting with simultaneous obviously optical effect hallmarks is very low...


great observation. I think a likely explanation for a lot of these "sightings" is that they are simply artifacts in a complex sensor system!


The pilots could physically see it tho, the first pair didn’t had any EOS on board and could only track it visually and with their radar.


Let's think of all the cool UFO sightings we'll hear about once they start putting GANs in those sensors. Then the machine will be able to, quite literally, imagine things.


Was the video officially released by DoD?

Traditionally, when govt sources added to UFO sensations it has been stated to divert attention from something else.

Edit: Wasn't -> Was


That video is actually two separate events. The first video is called GIMBAL and the date and location weren't publicly released. The second video is called FLIR1 and starts when the information layout on the screen changes. Both were officially released by the Defense Department's Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program.


Yeah, personally, I would say it's pretty obvious that extraterrestrials, aliens, little green men, are visiting our planet and have been for some time now... not sure why this is so hard to accept but apparently there are a lot of people who would rather die in a fiery car crash than admit that the snake attached to their leg has in fact bitten them.


There's something to that POV. Out of curiosity I looked around for relevant podcasts and found a BBC World podcast [0] on the Rendlesham Forest Incident [1] in which a U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel brought along a geiger counter, a tape recorder, and several other people to check out a possible UFO in the forest.

The Colonel's final take is interesting, if a bit concerning for the more exploration-minded: "I don't think we can do anything about it. I think this is beyond us. So: Quit worrying about it."

Personally I'm interested in the benign-animalistic properties of these phenomena. The entities often seem to have at least some basic sensing capability (regarding e.g. 'noticing' aircraft in the vicinity) and their reported maneuvers are in line with what I would expect from a less-intelligent, but still instinctual, entity. I wonder if they would respond additionally to stimuli such as playful maneuvers by nearby aircraft, things like that. Way out there, but only an idea.

0. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w3cswqmm

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rendlesham_Forest_incident


> I wonder if they would respond additionally to stimuli such as playful maneuvers by nearby aircraft, things like that.

Maybe they're not aliens and we just have undiscovered sky dolphins.


If you accept extraterrestrial origin, then it seems a stretch to assume that they’re remotely controlled. It would make much more sense to have a quasi-intelligence control the device in many cases. Why use a probe or other closed-loop, deterministic system when you can use what amounts to the intelligence of a trained animal?


I’m not sure if this is serious not. The best evidence is of such embarrassing quality that it serves as a master class in human cognitive bias and logical fallacies.

It’s at the same level as the evidence for paranormal hauntings, parapsychology, and cryptozoology.

At least Bigfoot has a higher existential prior probability, since you don’t have to posit that an alien intelligence randomly stumbled upon Earth or was sufficiently close that it immediately ventured forth upon detecting our EM radiation.


What? Why is it "pretty obvious"? What causes you to jump to such conclusions? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and this video can be explained by other, less extraordinary explanations


I don't think saying that there's evidence of extraterrestrials, but just that everyone seems to gawk/scoff at the possibility.


If it were as obvious as a snake attached to a leg, more people would believe it. The video linked above is not obviously of extraterrestrial origin; there are several plausible terrestrial explanations for it.


I don't know what the car is and what the snake is in this analogy. Or even the leg.


People seem to break it down into three potential categories: misinterpretted/bad data/not real, secret project carried out by other nation, or extraterrestrial craft.

Extraterrestrial doesn't make sense, because of the difficulty in crossing interstellar distances. But in the case of really solid evidence, eg the Nimitz incident, neither of the first two categories really make sense either.

I think there's a fourth category that people aren't considering: Von Neumann probes which self-replicated in-situ and are performing scouting / intelligence gathering. When people consider Von Neumann probes independently, there's always the question of, why don't we see any around? Given even modest rates of travel and self replication, they should be at every star system in the galaxy, if any were ever created.

Well, maybe they are around, and we have seen them.


It’s the same answer for the Fermie paradox: If they are out there we would see them... well what if we do? The problem is, people assume presence equals contact. However Steven Hawking was right that contact would be dangerous and stupid for any species bent on self preservation. Any sufficiently advance species would likely STFU.

I’ll posit a 5th option: The emergence of a super intelligent AI thats mastered certain technologies and is trying to hide its presence. Any sufficiently advanced technology would appear as magic/alien to us.

I also have always had a problem with the dismissal of FTL travel. “It cannot be therefore it must not be” is not at all sound logic given our history with technology. If you went back in time and gave the queen of England a nuclear submarine, could she reproduce it? Her best and brightest advisor would look at its propulsion system and declare “It cannot exist therefore it must not be what it appears because only the wind can move you through the water!” You’d be relegated to the same categories as the scientists who said traveling faster than sound was impossible. The standard model of physics IS WRONG and we know it, just like newtonian mechanics ultimately was wrong. Just because we cannot fathom FTL does not preclude its existence.


> I also have always had a problem with the dismissal of FTL travel. “It cannot be therefore it must not be” is not at all sound logic given our history with technology.

There is an important difference here. In the history of technology, "high-level disciplines" may sometimes be "overthrown" and completely be rewritten frequently, making something impossible to be possible. But it rarely occurs in foundation of mechanics. Even it has been revisited multiple times in the past 200 years, things that were impossible in the past is still impossible now, and possibly in the future, at least from a macroscopic scale.

The mere existence of a nuclear submarine navigating the ocean in 1800s England, as an object, is compatible with the Newton's Laws of Motion. Although nuclear reaction itself violates other known physics at the time, But if compared to Newton's Laws of Motion, they are not as important. And nowadays, Einstenian mechanics have replaced Newtonian mechanics, and it has the same status as Newtonian mechanics had before.

That is, among all rational conclusions, those that is directly based on the foundation of mechanics have the most "weight" than anything else, so comparing to "640 KiB is enough for everyone", "humans have no means to survive in the vacuum of outer space", "atomic weapons are impossible", "supersonic flights are impossible", "cooling to absolute zero is impossible", "accelerating to c is impossible", the last statement is more likely than other statements.

This is why I believe "no-FTL" argument has a strong point.

But well, I lied... It's well-known that general relativity does not directly forbid one to wrap the spacetime to create worm-holes. So I agree with you, the "no-FTL" has a strong point, but it's a non-issue anyway.


Relativity hasn’t replaced Newtonian Mechanics for 99.9% of the current use cases it combined with Kepler’s Law of Motion is still used even in astrophysics and astronomy at large the only points at which Newtonian physics really breaks down is in the presence of strong fields and we are talking about black holes type of strong fields or when you try to calculate things on the scale of the observable universe.

Newtonian mechanics is still very accurate and very useful if it wasn’t it wouldn’t be thought on an undergraduate and even graduate levels, ironically it’s also what we’ve used to figure out things like oh shit were missing a lot of matter in the universe.

If it wasn’t so darn close to being accurate in pretty much every scenario things like MOND wouldn’t have a reason to exist either because for quite a while in fact until the confirmation of gravitational waves there was enough wrong with general relativity to cast doubt on it too, however even with gravitational waves killing most of the modified Newtonian candidates Newtonian mechanics is a darn useful tool still and it’s usefulness would likely never go away.


> There is an important difference here. In the history of technology, "high-level disciplines" may sometimes be "overthrown" and completely be rewritten frequently, making something impossible to be possible. But it rarely occurs in foundation of mechanics. Even it has been revisited multiple times in the past 200 years, things that were impossible in the past is still impossible now, and possibly in the future, at least from a macroscopic scale.

I don't think we are out of the woods as far as the end of physics development. The 1700's is when scientific thought really started to hit its stride, and we've seen rapid overturning since then. It may take another 200 years for the next overturn, that's unknown but we do know there is one likely in the future due to the limits the standard model to explain all phenomina. To say we've hit the end is a bit of hubris since we're still trying to unify QED and Gravity under some unified theory. We know the standard model is close but wrong, and we will likely still use its analogies in the future just as we do for Newton to simplify concepts. Couple this awareness with the quantum weirdness and the apparent links to consciousness, we may very well be on the threshold of a new level we've barely conceptualized and only caught glimpses of. Newtonian Mechanics expected micro-scopic Newtonian mechanics and got quantum physics instead. Quantum physics expects the same as you get deeper and we may end up with something else completely different underpinning reality, opening up technology we didnt think possible, just like quantum computers, quantum encryption, quantum teleportation, etc. It may not even be FTL in the star trek / star wars sense, just appears to be. Fold space, traverse a dimension then pop out, create an artificial wormhole, who knows.

> The mere existence of a nuclear submarine navigating the ocean in 1800s England, as an object, is compatible with the Newton's Laws of Motion. Although nuclear reaction itself violates other known physics at the time, But if compared to Newton's Laws of Motion, they are not as important. And nowadays, Einstenian mechanics have replaced Newtonian mechanics, and it has the same status as Newtonian mechanics had before.

Isn't this the same with a UFO? Its motion in most cases doesn't necessarily violate physics, at least not all the time, but definitely has some form of exotic technology at its core if it can traverse star systems that we have yet to fully conceive on a functional level (concept vs technical approach). Again, who are we to say Eisenstein Mechanics has no successor? Newton = Sailing Ship. Newton + Quantum = Nuke Sub. Newton + Quantum + (?) = UFO

> That is, among all rational conclusions, those that is directly based on the foundation of mechanics have the most "weight" than anything else, so comparing to "640 KiB is enough for everyone", "humans have no means to survive in the vacuum of outer space", "atomic weapons are impossible", "supersonic flights are impossible", "cooling to absolute zero is impossible", "accelerating to c is impossible", the last statement is more likely than other statements.

> This is why I believe "no-FTL" argument has a strong point.

> But well, I lied... It's well-known that general relativity does not directly forbid one to wrap the spacetime to create worm-holes. So I agree with you, the "no-FTL" has a strong point, but it's a non-issue anyway.

Agreed, a strong point in so much as its the most recent and has the foundation of our current understanding of physics to sit on victoriously, while a little bird named CERN wispers "your victory is false". But as you said yourself, not explicitly forbidden. Nor even outside the realm of technically feasible:

https://www.space.com/17628-warp-drive-possible-interstellar...

Especially if we can find a source of exotic particles:

https://www.space.com/25709-dark-matter-hunt-exotic-particle...


> People seem to break it down into three potential categories: misinterpretted/bad data/not real, secret project carried out by other nation, or extraterrestrial craft. ... Extraterrestrial doesn't make sense, because of the difficulty in crossing interstellar distances.

We know there is plenty that we don't know. However, what is so devestatingly sad is that it seems pretty clear that no one living today will ever get a full understanding. Physics progressed pretty quickly in the early 20th century, but it's now moving at a glacial pace. If faster than light travel, wormholes, or multiple universes are real possibilities, it may very well take several thousand years for humans to decipher them.


Some people think they are here already. Terrence Mckenna proposed that spores are one such possible Von Neumann vessel. Spores are very resilient and could possibly travel the universe. Time is irrelevant to a fungi. I haven't finished reading his thoughts, but I think he's onto something to be honest. You can read more about this in the "Archaic Revival" Really great text for changing your existential perspective. Very intelligent man.


I'd like UFOs to be exotic technology, but I think the more likely explanation is some kind of atmospheric phenomenon that we don't understand yet.


Well it can always be a bug in the matrix ;)


Makes sense with the rise of unmanned enemy drone use.


Well... not in the sense that these things apparently exceed not just our own aircrafts' capabilities, but seem to use propulsion technologies that don't obey the known laws of physics. Enemy states have drones, for sure. But enemy states having drones that use super fast non-air-burning engines would be staggering.


There is a difference between having no air-burning engines and no visible air-burning engines. The B-2 and the F-117, which themselves were commonly mistaken for UFOs, both seem to have no thrust sources due to their buried engines and slitted exhaust vents


We also have a powerful imagination.

I'm not dismissing any sightings, just saying more discipline in documenting these things is always welcome.

Sure, the Navy is probably interested in drone sightings but maybe we'll learn something more about other phenomenon.


Not at all sure why they're graying you down, but you make some very good points. There are just way too many credible witnesses who have observed objects in the sky far outperforming the principals of aeronautics and the laws of physics as we know them.


Human beings are almost never credible witnesses. We are deceived by the simplest optical illusions.


I disagree. Reasonable people can see and understand things that they know to be unreasonable; like your comment for example.


I agree with you. I think there is a spectrum on which a person can be very reliable and not at all reliable.

I think that when seeing any unknown phenomenon there is nobody who can be 100% reliable. They can be a data point, but that should be the extent of it until more information is available.


Then we probably agree more than disagree in this regard.

What I do know as someone with degrees in mathematics and physics and several years in the USAF, is that some very smart people that I have personally spoken with have seen artificial objects in the sky that move in ways that they cannot explain nor do they have imaginative basis on which to speculate about such performances.


There are lots of incredibly smart people who believe in religion and believe their religion is the only true religion. Nine times out of ten their religion also happens to be the religion they were born into. If that example is too controversial, we can try another. There's plenty of smart people who voted for and still support Donald Trump.


<sigh/>I'll stipulate your point if you agree that Atheism and Trump hatred is your religion. Because hey, you need just enough faith to believe what you believe as I need to believe what I believe.


Please link to some example reports.


My claim is not unreasonable and it is not my goal or desire to persuade you in any way. There are plenty books and reports out there for you to arrive at your own conclusions.


They reference Chris Mellon, who is a part of Tom Delonge's To the Stars organization. I am not an expert here but he has this public benefit corporation that always struck me as weird. It's like a charity, but Tom Delonge gets interest and royalties from it. Also: in 2017 they recognized 25M in stock comp expense... Like WTF. That is not possible for a company that is basically worthless.

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1710274/000114420419...


> The company’s Science Division is a theoretical and experimental laboratory, challenging conventional thinking by discovering a new world of physics and consciousness-related possibilities and exploring how to use them to affect the world positively. Through its Advisory Board, TTS AAS has access to world-renowned scientists with advanced knowledge to pursue the company’s research projects, including Human Ultra-Experience Database, Engineering Space-Time Metrics, Brain-Computer Interface, and Telepathy.

Yes this sounds a bit quacky...

> The company’s Aerospace Division is dedicated to finding revolutionary breakthroughs in propulsion, energy, and communication. We currently employ and intend to employ additional lead engineers from major Department of Defense and aerospace companies with the capability to pursue an advanced engineering approach to fundamental aerospace topics ranging from Beamed-Energy Propulsion to warp drive metrics. Our team will seek to develop next-generation energy and propulsion concepts for spaceflight, as well as new technologies for space communications.

The only thing that seems to be a real business if the entertainment division. Which makes sense as a part of their business. Selling ideas through media rather than actual useful science research.


Look at what the CIA paid for during the height of the Cold War. Remote viewing studies going on for years (STARGATE), MKULTRA and whatnot... A lot of money went around.


Tom Delonge of Blink-182 rock band.

It seems this new thing is a mix of UFO hokum and music-related sales. Definitely some financial engineering shenanigans in there.


Maybe the days of the US being the only country whose special access projects are mistaken for alien spacecraft are numbered:

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/et-denied-many-uf...

It's a little amusing to me that people assume if it's not American, it must be alien.

Maybe they're just Chinese?

If another country is buzzing us with their new tech, it makes sense to not want some sailor to refuse to report it out of fear they'll be branded insane.


From the article:

> “If I came to you and said, ‘There are these things that can fly over our country with impunity, defying the laws of physics, and within moments could deploy a nuclear device at will’ — that would be a matter of national security.”

What is it about the military mindset that absolutely must see everything not 101% under their control as something potentially hostile? If these really are craft from other systems, then it's pretty clear that they have exceedingly superior flight capabilities. So, for me at least, the logical extension to that thought is: "if they're here for a fight, they'll win." Considering that they are harrassing military installations rather than the general populace (ie, they buzz pilots and military bases, but not cities), isn't it congruent that they're trying to send a message rather than inflict interstellar war? (If that's what they are)


In the quoted statement, only one of those statements--"defying the laws of physics"--is perhaps beyond the purview of the military. We don't allow aircraft to willy-nilly cross borders, and neither does any other country in the world. (Border crossing is obviously permitted, but there are procedures and rules to follow. International incidents can arise when they aren't.) Also, using the example of deploying a nuclear device may be cliche, but what about a conventional weapon? Should there be any less concern about an unregulated aircraft capable of dropping explosive ordinance?

At a fundamental level, any military is tasked with guarding the land its sovereign occupies. You can't blame them for being careful because there's always the small, remote chance that an adversarial, human government could inflict harm if the military isn't looking. But that's precisely it: no one knows where these craft come from. Based on the hard information available to us the public, it's equally possible that the craft came from another galaxy, Mars, Russia, or Canada. We just don't know, and we can't just sit back and watch because there may be a legitimate threat.


Because what you quoted, "if they're here for a fight, they'll win.", isn't the mindset of any military worth its salt. The military mindset has to be "where are their weaknesses, so we can beat them if we have to."


Why would they be from other systems?

Does no one think it bizarre that with other star systems having billions of years head start and a completely parallel evolution of both biology and technology that the resulting flying objects reflect technology that appears to be a leap forward over our current technology of perhaps 1000 years max (and that's assuming we hit many roadblocks/plateaus between now and then)?

While our current understanding of the laws of physics precludes the possibility of time travel, it seems far more likely that our understanding of that limit is wrong and these unidentified craft truly represent future technology of our own species than that life exists elsewhere in the universe, but is only marginally more advanced than us, but somehow able to have traveled from light-years away to interact with us (another physics bending issue seemingly glossed over).

To be clear, I'm not saying this phenomenon IS DEFINITELY time travel from humanity's future in action, simply that such a possibility poses far more likely a scenario than aliens, which heretofore has been the go-to explanation the public has been enamored with.


>What is it about the military mindset that absolutely must see everything not 101% under their control as something potentially hostile?

I think it's perfectly possible all the know is that they exist, and they're not human-made, and don't want to acknowledge something that counters the narrative of the all powerful, all knowing government.

But I'm also wondering if they could just be some other country's black project.


So you think that nothing should be done about it at all? It definitely seems like there should be a plan to at least assess the situation.


The thing I don't get about UFOs, assuming the alien hypothesis, is why are there so many different kinds of them.

Surely aliens would have settled on one, perfect, scalable vehicle design after millions of years of refinement? Spherical, probably. Instead, we get saucers, spheres, cigars, triangles...


Fashion might be important to rich alien kids too.


Hey, check this out! I made a really cool map of all UFO sightings across the world for a hackathon at my school.(3 months ago) This news reminded me of it. Looking at the map, it makes sense that the US Navy is worried. :) Data was scraped from National UFO Reporting Center.

The map is available at: https://fusiontables.google.com/data?docid=15hfFOU0UAwfx7U95...



One question I have is why these objects are only detected via sight and radar. Don't we have so many telescopes pointing at the sky that if something were to be approaching our planet, someone would notice before they entered our airspace?


We struggle to detect stealth aircraft from our own civilization more than a few dozen miles away.

If a species can travel from star to star, it can likely evade our detection. Telescopes are basically worthless for spotting anything small or stealthy - asteroids are fairly regularly discovered after they whiz by the planet.

Of course, the other part of the answer is that these things are likely terrestrial, and didn't come from space in the first place.


From my understanding, the sky is huge and most of the telescopes are focused on very tiny areas.


The sci-fi fan inside me badly wants this to be an alien encounter. I am holding on to life just so that I get to witness humanity's first encounter with extra terrestrial intelligence. But that's probably unlikely.


I'm not seeing the usual web indications that this is sarcasm or irony, so I wanna say that if you're really just "holding on to life" for whatever single reason, aliens or not, there's good help out there if you want it. You're loved and needed. Be well dude/dudette.


Thanks for your concern. It was not actually sarcasm but exaggeration to express my excitement.


Ah okay, good!I'm glad


I would worry a great deal more about the fact that advanced Naval units can't identify (let alone deal with) some classes of aircraft than I would worry about aliens.


"Langley won't tell us what they're doing in our training airspace so we'll make a public stink until they spill the beans."


Tom Delonge is HYPED.


Did he ever release the alloy of thin metals that he thinks was created in space? That was the thing I heard that caused me to think, "well, hey, if he's got this hunk of space metals, i should probably tune in again."


I've been keeping half an eye on his "to the stars academy" ever since I heard him on Joe Rogan, but I haven't seen any tech releases yet.


Indeed he must be


UFO just means "unidentified flying object," which could include things like a balloon, a meteor, another airplane, etc.

Not sure why everyone immediately jumps to "Navy admits there are aliens!"


From the article:

> In some cases, pilots — many of whom are engineers and academy graduates — say they observed small spherical objects flying in formation. Others say they’ve seen white, Tic-Tac-shaped vehicles. Aside from drones, all engines rely on burning fuel to generate power, but these vehicles all had no air intake, no wind, and no exhaust. "It's very mysterious, and they still seem to exceed our aircraft in speed," he said, calling it a "truly radical technology."

> "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,"

> “Pilots are upset, and they’re trying to help wake up a slumbering system,”

> In 2017, the Pentagon first confirmed the existence of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, a government operation launched in 2007 to collect and analyze “anomalous aerospace threats.” As the Post’s Joby Warrick reported, the investigation ranged from “advanced aircraft fielded by traditional U.S. adversaries to commercial drones to possible alien encounters.”

etc, etc.

So no there's little that explicitly states UFO is all about ET, but the inference is very high, considering the credibility of the witnessess and the frequency in which such things occur. That the sightings are typically over restricted airspace (military bases) is also rather indicative that these sightings are not balloons, other (known) aircraft, nor meteors.


I don’t see what privileges the hypothesis of “aliens” over “other countries’ aerospace R&D assets being used in an intelligence-gathering capacity.” Especially given the “seen over [i.e. examining] military bases” part.


For that matter, what privileges "other countries' aerospace R&D assets being used in an intelligence-gathering capacity" (when those R&D assets at the very least bend what is possible in aviation) or "aliens" or "von neumann probes" or whatever over "inexplicable information is being released in a targeted fashion by some party intent on distracting the public from ongoing news events?"


Usually the null hypothesis (“the reports are made up”) is denied by the fact that these events can be—and are—just as often observed by neutral (but not naive amateur) observers. Often these events are reported by private pilots who were flying in the airspace, or air traffic controllers in civilian airports who see the thing on their radar, or meteorologists examining satellite imagery.

There are also reports that come from government-affiliated persons, but where those affiliations are very distant. Unless you believe that the US government somehow manages to get their shit together way better for UFO propaganda than they do for, say, evidence-sharing in criminal investigations, then I personally find it implausible that entities as distant from one-another as the US Navy, the National Weather Service, and NASA, would all be speaking from the same side of their faces.

(And also, re “distraction”—who exactly does a UFO report distract? There’s never been one that’s made front-page news AFAIK. Local news of a UFO sighting [without any local UFO crackpots to get inured to] might work to distract a very small town from a psy-op going on in the area, but even a moderately large city wouldn’t even notice the news. You’d do much better covering up a psy-op with, say, an amber alert. That usually becomes 24-hour local news coverage!)


Fair enough, this stuff is weird and there are no good explanations available. Until something happens that truly forces me to update my informal priors, though, I still think your middle paragraph is more likely than "a country has access to physics-bending technology" or "aliens."


Not really a distinction. Both would be considered UFOs.


The parent comment said “ET”, which is what I was rebutting.


Do pilots still do lots of amphetamine?


I know HN comments are supposed to be thoughtful etc but all I have on this is fuckin lol well played


It's based on facts though: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_and_culture_of_substit...

There is suspicion that it might be still used today.


No yeah I know! It gave it extra punch for some reason. Solid chuckle


The key thing is we DO NOT know what these are?

Why can't they be unicorns?

As long as you're jumping to conclusions they could be flying unicorns as well as aliens. Both are as plausible considering that we have no evidence for either.


Unicorns are less plausible than extraterrestrials imo


no air intake, no wind, and no exhaust...

None of those are needed for 3D holographic projections.

they appear on radar systems

That one may be a little tougher.


I generally find the idea of "alien comes to visit" is ridiculous, but I have to acknowledge that UFOs, specifically, the subset of it, "non-natural, artificial-looking, non-illusion (hey, they even appear on the radar!), real flying objects in the lower atmosphere that cannot be built by the current human civilization" is a true phenomenon after reading these reports.

But if they can be detected by a radar (at least some of them), it means their existence is not completely beyond the known realm of current physics. Doesn't it mean we can/should do lots of more objective observations of these phenomenon? For example, what are their infrared radiation patterns? What are their EM wave reflection patterns? What do they look like on the optical spectrum, what happens when you point a laser toward it, etc...

So why don't we see people doing that? Especially the military, because they always have enough funding to carry out a large experiment without immediate purposes, such as the HAARP, without assuming conspiracy theories, it's just an array of large and sophisticated HF transmitters, which just happened to be the subject of conspiracies. I think many military installations can be as suspicious as HAARP in the eyes of conspiracy theories, such as those VLF radio stations for communicating with nuclear submarines (conspiracy theorists can describe as them a mind-control device), or those phased-array for radio astronomy (conspiracy theorists can say, if moon landing is fake, why are they still launching these facilities? To create artificial natural disasters to install the new world order, or something... well, can I make a million dollars by becoming the next Alex Jones now?), but it just happened to be HAARP, rather than something like SuperDARN.

Jokes aside, one possible explanation comes to mind is that all researches are classified, and then it comes with full of conspiracy theories that rarely make sense. However, there are quite a few widely-documented UFO spotted by the public, which would allow the much larger civilian researcher groups to collect data, and these activities are very unlikely to be "silenced" as well, since they are already public. Another answer is that the researchers are biased, it may be true, just like the "classified military" explanation, but I don't think it can explain 100% of it. Military cannot classify everything, and not 100% of the established researchers are so biased that they even refuse to check it with some equipment (which is, as well, essentially for concluding that these phenomena are just illusions, not real).

I think the ultimate answer is their unpredictability. Their occurrence is essentially random. You cannot observe something with sophisticated equipment if you are not prepared to, even if you can, you cannot successfully establish a influential project to do that. An example would be ball lightning (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ball_lightning), most scientists before 1960s don't believe it's a real phenomenon, because no objective observations can be carried out, not even a single instance has been capture by the researchers until recently, in 2014.

I think the same goes for UFOs. And if you do see UFOs occur in a predictable manner, it's very likely that they are secret military aircraft or misidentified natural phenomena than "non-natural, artificial-looking, non-illusion, real flying objects in the lower atmosphere that cannot be built by the current human civilization"-kind of UFOs. On the other hand, imagine if there's a predictable occurrence of this kind of UFOs at specific locations around the world, there may even be recognized academic institutions to research them.


They're often stars or planets. Unless you have knowledge and training to identify celestial bodies it's easy to mistake them for something much closer. Distance is very hard to judge against a solid background like the sky.


This is a good point, but I've never heard of a tic-tac shaped star or planet.


B.S.! Flying an aircraft requires a lot more skills from a human than typing code on a PC in your pajamas and talking about space. if you are a pilot who is flying for 10-20-30 years. You can tell. Now, this is not 1 pilot - 1 event we are talking. Many cases. Im not claiming its proving existence of ET or anything like that.

Just that perhaps there is something there.


SR-71 pilots complained about having trouble telling stars from fishing boats to the point where an additional artificial horizon was added for night flying. There were reports of pilots rolling the plane up to 45 degrees without realizing it.


The altitude the SR-71 cruises at is nowhere near where these sightings are occurring, it's practically in space.


apples and oranges. totally different conditions.


>Others say they’ve seen white, Tic-Tac-shaped vehicles. Aside from drones, all engines rely on burning fuel to generate power, but these vehicles all had no air intake, no wind, and no exhaust.

These sound like weather balloons to me. I don't think most engineers or academy graduates are trained in meteorology either.

Not that I'm saying this is the definite answer or that I am somehow correctly inferring all of this. I'm just proposing that legitimate explanations exist.


Amazing how you cut the very next sentence after that quote which rules out ““balloons.””


> "It's very mysterious, and they still seem to exceed our aircraft in speed"

Not sure what balloon exceeds the speed of a jet aircraft in the same body of air.


A balloon at 50,000 feet rapidly descending doesn't fit the bill at all?


Not if it descends faster than 9.81 m/s^2 (or slower, since a deflated balloon will create a lot of drag), neglecting a violent downdraft on what looks like a pretty normal day.


While not a conclusion, the reports of objects that defy the known laws of physics are extensive by this point.

If the incidents are not the result of "alien activity" perhaps the US Military does have supremely advanced technology under wraps and is demonstrating this technology to ambiguously create the idea that it could be "aliens".


"Defy the known laws of physics" is thrown about a lot. But usually means "If what we are seeing is a self-contained vehicle, it exceeds reasonable assumptions about manoeuvring envelopes for known technologies."

The "laws of physics" are pretty wide. There are many kinetic phenomena, entirely consistent with them, whose dynamics can't be filmed even at thousands of frames per second. There are all kinds of potential optical and electromagnetic effects (whether natural or intentional) that could show essentially arbitrary scale and motion.

"Def[ies] the known laws of physics", is a good sign your imagination is too narrow, or your understanding of physics too small.


Not trying to be pedantic, but I think this fits well with your comment.

To the best of my knowledge, the only accepted laws of physics relate to the 3 laws of thermodynamics. Everything else is still considered a theory (to the best of my knowledge), even if the theory works really damn well (for instance relativity is still considered a theory).

I know there are accepted "laws" in other fields related to physics, such as Ohm's or Kerchov's laws in electrical engineering, but I don't think these are generally accepted scientific laws, more generally accepted as engineering laws where for nearly all cases for engineering, they apply to a sufficient accuracy to produce products that are sufficient.


You're confusing the colloquial meaning of "theory" with the scientific meaning. A scientific theory has been tested repeatedly and can be reasonably relied upon to make predictions (see relativity and GPS, for example). The colloquial meaning of theory is more accurately called a hypothesis.


I'm not, actually. If relativity were a law, we'd presumably have unification with quantum mechanics. But we don't. Relativity works really well (well enough) in an enourmous number of areas, but not all and completely breaks down at the quantum level.

And, it only takes a single counterpoint to disprove a theory. Hence theories are signifcantly harder to prove than disprove.

What you're referring to as laws are theories that work well enough in some circumstances that needing something better isn't needed. Such as relativity to implement GPS. Newton's theorems in Principia Mathematica are generally good enough for most day to day type stuff. E.g. we dont need to involve Relativity to understand the physics being acted upon a car (thats not a Tesla roadster launched into space).

Science isnt much about coining laws. It's more about obtaining an ever more correct model of reality, and as you say, make (reasonably accurate) predictions.


> To the best of my knowledge, the only accepted laws of physics relate to the 3 laws of thermodynamics.

How about conservation of momentum?


Following Noether's theorem conservation of momentum relies on translational symmetry of space which we assume but have no proof for (other than measurements of conservation of momentum). In so far it is theory territory.

Thermodynamics on the other hand relies only on effects of large numbers (of hard balls) with no further assumptions. In so far I can understand the GP assertion although I am reluctant. You put in the hard ball assumption (particles can exchange energy) which may put it in theory territory. As well the laws hold only for equilibrium situations which can be reached in (sufficiently dense) baryonic matter but maybe not for non-baryonic matter.


> "Def[ies] the known laws of physics", is a good sign your imagination is too narrow, or your understanding of physics too small.

I don't know but I would assume they are usually referring to conservation of momentum being violated, rather than something like the 2nd law of thermodynamics or the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Which is pretty easy to see unless you have reason to believe there is something rather crazy happening that you cannot see (like I imagine a neutron being emitted at >99% of the speed of light to cancel some change in momentum that you otherwise can't explain).


Please link to some reports from reputable sources.


There was one on HN last year where Navy pilots saw an object hover above the water then shoot up 10,000 feet in a matter of seconds, hover there, then come back down to the surface. It bounced up and down like that several times then shot off into space. One pilot said the bouncing seemed like a preparation for its eventual takeoff. It was confirmed by Navy radar.

There was a great interview last night on Tucker Carlson where the expert said there are basically two possibilities that the military should explore: one of our terrestrial enemies has an aviation capability more advanced than ours, or an extraterrestrial civilization has capabilities more advanced than us. Of course, there could be some sort of natural phenomenon we don't know about. In any event, it is worth investigating in a rational way.


Linked in another comment is the incident you’re recalling: https://youtu.be/G9D8dzl4zGk



hard to trust video these days, unless there is a chain of custody. How are we to know it's not someone testing their film director/CGI skills?


Did you even bother to click the link? There's like 2 minutes of prelude which lays out the chain of custody exactly.


This was released by the pentagon and covered by very large media outlet, the pilots were interviewed.

This doesn’t mean it’s aliens but this is pretty fucked up.


I wasn't aware it was released by the pentagon. I am under impression it was unauthorized release.


Not sure if the upper atmosphere has something similar to Fata Morgana, but at least in the lower atmosphere it can deceive the location of objects in the distance.


Don't suppose you have that HN link?


I don't know about "defying the laws of physics" (since if it could truly defy the laws of the physics that would be whack) but plenty of stealth bombers were reported as "mysterious UFOs" before they were officially revealed in any capacity - and I'm sure there is no shortage of experimental craft that never made the cut.

Hell, even if someone saw a B-2 today they'd probably think it's alien.


When my mom watched "Independence Day" she started booing the B-2's because she thought they were aliens...


[flagged]


Please don't comment like this.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


>Hell, even if someone saw a B-2 today they'd probably think it's alien.

They'd probably think they're living in the matrix and several pixels of sky are glitching.


> I don't know about "defying the laws of physics" (since if it could truly defy the laws of the physics that would be whack)

It refers to objects that start and stop moving instantaneously, or make turns at hard right angles, as if they have no inertia.


Very high acceleration and deceleration don't defy laws of physics.


They didn't say very high acceleration, they said instantaneous changes in speed, like the object has no mass.


But the context is visual observation, where there's no way to tell the difference between the two.


ball lightning?



The back and forth in the comments is kinda fun to read, but regardless of what we think these things are, shouldn't we at least be stoked that someone (aliens, Chinese military) may have some cool-ass tekmology, and that the US Navy seems to think so too?


even if they are all glitches or otherwise explainable phenomena, if there is no formal process to record them, there is no way to formally analyze and explain them. those things that seemingly defy the laws of physics could become explainable if we could get more data about them and study them. it's the only way to get to the bottom of this. also further study will help reduce future reports as we then can train people to better understand them.

maybe that object flying mach 3 is an optical illusion caused by some combination of factors. like a mirage. by studying the effects and correlating the factors we'll come to understand them better and may even be able to predict and intentionally create them.

in short, this is by no means a hunt for aliens, but on the contrary, it's a hunt for data to help us understand our world better.


Your tax dollars at work =D




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