Story by Ryan Walters (June 8th 2021 Townhall)
American Astronauts. Aliens and flying saucers have long fascinated Americans taken with the possibility that we might not be alone in the universe. Tales abound of UFO sightings, alien encounters, and even extraterrestrial kidnappings and experimentation. Hollywood has been in on the fun for decades, raking in tens of millions of dollars for every alien flick produced.
There have always been those who believed the sightings were real, who experienced them firsthand and investigated the phenomena, believing the government was covering up the evidence. Such people are usually derided as nuts and kooks.
But now the Pentagon is set to release a special report for Congress on recent sightings, essentially detailing what is known about what they term “unidentified aerial phenomena.” UFOs have taken on a whole new level of seriousness.
This new wave of interest began in 2017 when the New York Times broke a story on the Pentagon’s small, seemingly insignificant $22 million Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP). Its purpose: to study encounters with UFOs. Along with the story, the NYT broke videos taken by U.S. Navy pilots of their encounters with strange objects that seem to defy the laws of physics and are far more sophisticated than any known aircraft on earth. In April 2020, the Pentagon confirmed the videos were, in fact, real, and the craft unidentified.
A story released by the Daily Mail last week told of an incident where fourteen UFOs “swarmed” the USS Omaha in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego. One craft, after hovering over the water for a period of time, suddenly plunged into the sea, but nothing was ever found or recovered from the area.
These sightings, though, are nothing new. For years there have been reports of similar incidents all over the country, some with photographic evidence dating back decades.
Even early American astronauts reported seeing UFOs. The most notable among this group was Gordon Cooper, a member of NASA’s first group of astronauts, the Mercury Seven. Cooper, an experienced Air Force test pilot, flew the final Mercury mission in 1963, the longest U.S. spaceflight up to that time at twenty-two orbits of the earth, and Gemini 5 in 1965, also the longest space mission up to that time, coming in just shy of eight days in space.