They can shoot down the UFOs, but they can't shoot down our hopes of meeting aliens
Welcome to a new NPR series where we spotlight the people and things making headlines — and the stories behind them.
After days of the United States shooting random objects out of the sky, the White House was forced to puncture some circulating thoughts as well. They told the nation that yes, they've been hearing your alien speculation. And no, this isn't it.
Who are they? You might know them as UFOs, or their more formal name: UAPs (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena). They are the sudden unidentified flying objects passing over North America.
What's the big deal?
What are people saying?
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made it clear when speaking to journalists on Monday that there will be no calls for Agent Mulder and Agent Scully to make a return:
"There is no – again, no — indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent take-downs.
...I wanted to make sure that the American people knew that, all of you knew that, and it was important for us to say that from here because we've been hearing a lot about it.
...I loved E.T. the movie, but I'm just gonna leave it there."
Here's what Secretary of State Antony Blinken told NPR this week, after cancelling an earlier planned trip to China when news of the first balloon came out:
"We're committed to responsibly managing the competition between the United States and China, and we look to Beijing to do the same thing.
This particular action, sending the surveillance balloon over the heart of the United States was an irresponsible act and, of course, a violation of our sovereignty and of international law. So that's what's critical. But it doesn't take away from the fact that we are committed to finding ways to responsibly manage it, to engage."
And Dumont said there are a few potentials here:
One is that these have been going on before in the past, and we haven't detected them. There have been detections where our radars have picked up various phenomenon. We haven't been able to clearly define what it was that they detected because, quite frankly, the equipment is not that refined. It cannot discern down to an exquisite level of detail what an anomaly in the air might be. And then the other thing is, occasionally we will pick up weather phenomena which will indicate, you know, that there's a presence of something, maybe a balloon or an aircraft. And it turns out to be a weather anomaly just in the atmosphere. And again, some of this could be corrected with newer technologies."
I've always suspected that an advanced alien civilisation with the technology to travel at close to light speed across interstellar distances would arrive in Earth orbit unobserved and proceed to dispatch a fleet of small, easily detectable balloons into our atmosphere. https://t.co/OlDM2LXrOG— Brian Cox (@ProfBrianCox) February 13, 2023
So, what now?
Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.