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UFOs, NASA, and Shiny New Planets

A curious aspect of the UFO phenomena is why more people aren’t curious about it. I don’t mean regular people. A Newsweek poll shows most Americans (54 per cent) believe UFOs are visiting Earth from Alpha Centauri, or Sirius A, or Krypton, or some other place with cleaner air and better coffee.

I’m talking about those who could reveal to the public whether extraterrestrials are, in fact, visiting our planet illegally and taking jobs away from hard-working Americans. Connected people, powerful people, people who get things done – like Oprah Winfrey.

Graph by Sam Monfort

A recent study by doctoral student and statistician Sam Monfort (favorite T-shirt, “No one parties like a statistician”), shows there are more UFO sightings now than, well, ever. Triangle craft, cigar-shaped craft, saucers and the Millennium Falcon are being reported at a record number.

See. I told you.

Seriously, the Millennium Falcon. Crashed. At the bottom of the Baltic Sea. This picture was taken in 2011 by the Swedish diving team that discovered it.

Monfort’s report shows there are 300 times as many sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects in the United States than there are in the rest of the world combined. Given our political climate, I’m not surprised. Which brings me to the Offutt Extraterrestrial Hypothesis: Americans see UFOs because Canada’s not far enough away.

With the Royal Canadian Mounted Police arresting weepy American border crossers (21 in just one weekend in Emerson, Manitoba), I’m sure Taphao Thong looks like a good place to settle down (this is the planet’s actual name. It rolls off the tongue compared to 47 Ursae Majoris b).

But what do people in The Know know? You know?

Artist impression of the exoplanet Taphao Thong.

NASA recently announced the discovery of seven rocky Earth-like planets orbiting the star TRAPPIST-1 in its Goldilocks Zone (a distance from its star that would allow a planet to support liquid water). NASA scientists are going to begin searching for life there just as soon as they feel like it, but not now. They’re too busy naming the planets after Belgian beers (not a joke).

If there’s life out there, however, NASA may already know.

The agency mysteriously cut its live feed from the International Space Station on 9 June last year after a bright object flew through its view, per an article in USA Today. NASA denies voluntarily cutting the stream – just like it didn’t cut the video in January 2015 when a UFO hovered in front of the camera, and this February when “six large objects scurry(ed) by,” per the U.K.’s Daily Mirror.

The Daily Mirror article included posts from a man simply named “Tyler” from the UFO research group SecureTeam, claiming the objects to be “a fleet of unidentified flying objects moving in the distance behind the International Space Station.”

The objects were lens flares, per NASA. Even the one with the Pearl Jam bumper sticker.

NASA didn’t help its case for “move along, there are no aliens to see here,” by appearing on Reddit Feb. 22 to discuss the TRAPPIST-1 announcement. When the alternative media outlet Collective Evolution asked NASA when it was coming clean on aliens, Reddit deleted the outlet’s account.

I mean, that’s not suspicious, or anything.

UFO disclosure is all on your shoulders, Oprah Winfrey. All on yours.

Still frame from the ISS live feed picturing a hovering UFO.