So-called Ufologists have been pestering the government for years to tell the public what it knows about UFOs, or Unidentified Flying Objects. And finally - 14 years since the military's Advanced Aerospace Thread Identification program was founded in 2007 at the request of Senator Harry Reid, who represents the region in which Area 51 resides - there's going to be an official report released by the US government, probably by the end of this month. But what will it say?
Congress has demanded the report based on numerous military reports of objects moving erratically in the sky, but it doesn't seem that they're anticipating evidence of little green men on spaceships. More likely, they're being extra careful on the off-chance that these objects represent new and worrying technological advancements from countries such as Russia or China. That seems to be what military leaders are suggesting, anyway.
The report has been prepared by a task force set up by the Pentagon last August - the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force - and its preparation involved officials going through the evidence and reports of around 120 sightings of unexplained objects in the sky. By cataloging these events, the task force has apparently been able to rule out any suspicion of the objects being secret US military technology, which had been speculated. However, it doesn't seem that any clear or dramatic explanation will be given by the report in any other direction. There's been no suggestion that any kind of alien life is responsible for the sightings.
President Obama was quite clear that he didn't think there was any evidence of aliens when he spoke to James Corden about it.
When I came into office, I asked... is there the lab somewhere where we're keeping the alien specimens and spaceship? And you know, they did a little bit of research and the answer was no...What is true, and I'm actually being serious here, is that there are, there's footage and records of objects in the skies, that we don't know exactly what they are...We can't explain how they moved, their trajectory... And so, you know, I think that people still take seriously trying to investigate and figure out what that is. - President Barack Obama
But Clinton promised she would release the gathered information if she were elected, and even Donald Trump described his own findings as "very interesting".
In the end, chances are that this new report will simply end the stigma around the factual description of "unidentified flying objects". Just because they can't easily be identified doesn't mean they're alien life forms or they've been launched as attack craft by enemies. But it's interesting to note that the government took the concept seriously enough to commission an investigation and report, even if there are no conclusive findings.
Watch this space, I guess...or the horizon.