A rare bipartisan hearing in Congress shows that there is much to learn
The Morning in America anchor of NewsNation, Markie Martin, said to me on Tuesday: “Avi, you are a Harvard astrophysicist and most of us do not have that education. How do you advise that we interpret the hearing at the US House of Representatives on Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP)?” My reply was simple: “Just pay attention to the factual information presented by the witnesses. Think of yourself as a juror in a courtroom and decide whether to believe the witnesses.”
Yesterday, we jurors had a chance to put that to the test. In a rare bipartisan effort, Republicans and Democrats came together at the US House of Representatives for a hearing on UAP. The three eyewitnesses spoke under oath, making them legally liable for anything they say and making it easier for lawmakers to pursue additional information. The trio included David Grusch, the former National Reconnaissance Officer Representative at the UAP Task Force in the Department of Defense, and two military pilots, Ryan Graves and David Fravor. Given the serious discussion surrounding these hearings, it suggests that UAP are finally losing their stigma.
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If scientists, Congress and the public want to know more, the Department of Defense should disclose everything it knows about UAP that suggests they are unlikely to be human-made and potentially extraterrestrial. Grusch noted that he has given to the Intelligence Community Inspector General the names of first-hand witnesses as well as the locations of where materials of alien, non-human spacecraft are currently held. He also hinted that satellite data indicates supporting information, promising to give representatives related contact information.
Government sensors would naturally be the first to record unusual activity near Earth because they monitor the sky for national security purposes, whereas astronomers train their telescopes on distant sources of light and ignore objects in their immediate environment. The anecdotal nature of past UAP reports is why the Galileo Project that I lead constructs new observatories that monitor the entire sky systematically and calibrate the statistics of UAP relative to familiar terrestrial objects. Congressman Maxwell Frost (D-FL) acknowledged the Galileo Project’s effort at Harvard University in his comments.
Any objects originating from interstellar space do not adhere to national borders and their nature is not a matter of national security. From a distance of thousands of light years away, it does not matter how earthlings split the land on the surface of this tiny rock, left over from the formation process of the Sun. Finding the nature of interstellar objects from outside the solar system represents knowledge that should be shared by all humans on Earth, in the spirit of scientific knowledge. We all deserve to know whether we have neighbours. Evidence for tennis balls thrown by neighbours to our backyard should not be hidden away from the public’s view.
In the opening statements, Graves noted: “UAP are in our airspace, but they are grossly underreported. These sightings are not rare or isolated; they are routine […] If it is something else, it is an issue for science.” Fravor added: “This issue is not about full public disclosure that could undermine national security […] What concerns me is that there is no ‘oversight’ from our elected officials.” During the Q&A session, Fravor noted that he encountered behaviour that is well beyond our past and current technologies.
Meanwhile, the former deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence, Chris Mellon, backed Grusch’s testimony on a multi-decade UAP crash retrieval and reverse engineering programme for alien spacecraft by stating earlier this week: “I’ve been told that we have recovered technology that did not originate on this earth by officials in the Department of Defense and by former intelligence officials.”
Clearly, the Government has more to share, but it is refusing to do so. Here’s hoping that by allowing scientists to access the UAP data that the US administration may have, we will all get a better sense of whether there is evidence for cosmic neighbours in our backyard. If so, we might harness new technological capabilities by studying crash sites of interstellar travellers on land or in our oceans. Having sentient partners would bring a new meaning to our existence in the vast cosmos that, until now, looked dark and lonely.
Professor Avi Loeb is the Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science and former head of the Astronomy Department at Harvard University