Prince Philip Spent Decades Investigating UFOs

Prince Philip’s UFO investigation could be released following the death of Queen Elizabeth.

The prince developed a fascination with aliens after a bricklayer reported a close encounter with extra terrestrial life at the home of Lord Louis Mountbatten, Philip’s late uncle – but until now, his investigative work into UFO sightings in the UK has remained under wraps.

Philip – who died in April 2021, aged 99 – has been credited with creating a so-called Royal X-Files on the subject of space and alien life.

And the royal family are now facing calls for the investigation to be made public, the Daily Star newspaper reports. The work previously remained a secret during the reign of the queen.

Nick Pope, the ex-Ministry Of Defence official who was in charge of the UK government’s UFO desk between 1991 and 1994, claims that Philip and Sir Peter Horsley – his ex-RAF associate – spent years investigating alien sightings.

He said: “[Philip] kept an eye on developments, subscribed to UFO magazines and newsletters and had witnesses interviewed.”

He also claimed Philip’s interest in the subject was deliberately kept under wraps during the reign of the late monarch as it would’ve caused a stir.

Nick told ‘History TV’: “This is highly sensitive. Here you have the queen’s husband investigating UFOs. Had the news got out it would have caused a sensation.”

Lord Mountbatten – who was assassinated in August 1979 – and Prince Philip are said to have “talked extensively” about the possibility of extra terrestrial life.

And Richard Dolan – an expert on the UFO subject – is convinced that the late monarch was aware of the conversations between Philip and his uncle.

He said: “You have to assume Queen Elizabeth knew.”

Clear Photo ‘Shows 50ft UFO Emerging from Storm’

AN INCREDIBLY clear photo allegedly shows a disc-shaped UFO estimated to be about 50ft across emerging from a storm before vanishing into space.

The series of images showing the round silver object have caused a stir after they emerged in Mexico and were shown on national news TV.

Car mechanic Juan Manuel Sanchez took the UFO photos which went viral after he shared them on his Facebook.

He claims he spotted the object while trying to take snaps with his mobile phone of an approaching storm.

The clear and high resolution photos appear to show the saucer shape hanging in front of the dark clouds in the distance.

But while the photos have caused a stir, it’s unclear if its camera trick, a natural phenomena, an elaborate hoax, or a genuine sighting of an mysterious object.

Juan however stands by his story and gave his account of the sighting outside his home in Valle Hermoso on August 17 to Mexican television station RDTV.

His wife and one of his co-workers also claim to have seen the mysterious saucer before it shot off into the sky towards space.

The mechanic estimates the object was around 50 feet across and he believes it was around half a mile from his home.

And he hit back at doubters who claim his photo is a fake, saying people had told him they think it was a hubcap or a pan lid.

Juan said he was “in shock” when he first allegedly spotted the object, saying it wasn’t “fear, but something like astonishment”.

The mechanic said he is disappointed he didn’t get a video, but as his camera was in photo mode he simply took the pictures he could before the object vanished.

And he claimed later that night he then saw lights in the sky, and claimed others have told him they have had similar sightings in the area.

Juan admitted he was worried about making his sighting public as he feared the stigma associated with UFOs.

He told RDTV: “It was right there above that house above the cables.”

It’s sad I wasn’t able to get a video

Juan Manuel Sanchez

“I got my mobile phone to film it because it was always a dream to see something like this, this close.”

The mechanic went on: “We were working here outside at the workshop when we saw some very dark clouds- it was cloudy like it is now, a bit more.

“I wanted to film a video but my phone was on photo mode and I got the first picture.

“When we started watching it, it was in one place it wasn’t moving and then as I got the second and third photo it started moving upwards.

“When I changed my phone to video mode it wasn’t possible. As it was going away I could see it more, the disc the shape of a disc.”

Juan denied the photo was a hoax after it went viral in Mexico
Juan denied the photo was a hoax after it went viral in Mexico

Juan lamented: “It’s sad I wasn’t able to get a video.

“There are people who don’t believe- they say it was a lid from a car or a pan of tamales.”

The authenticity of Juan’s photos remain unclear – but he appears convinced he saw something in sky.

And it comes as UFOs are once again taking centre stage across the border in the United States.

Lawmakers, former servicemen, intelligence officials and even former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton are now all speaking more openly about the topic.

And it came to a head with a landmark hearing earlier this year on Capitol Hill.

US officials have acknowledged there is something in the skies they cannot explain – and the stigma around the traditionally fringe topic is finally being stripped back.

Is the phenomena previously unknown technology used by the Russians and Chinese, secret US weapons projects, or unknown natural occurrences?

Or perhaps it could be the total misidentification of easily explainable natural phenomena or known aircraft? Or even an example of hoaxes and mass hysteria?

And there is the other option, perhaps its something more alien?

The US’ official stance now is that they do not know – and pressure is growing for more transparency on the topic which is becoming increasingly mainstream.

The Sun Online previously revealed the hunt for “black triangle” UFOs around Britain in the 80s and 90s – and last week the US released video of a mysterious unknown drone swarm buzzing the USS Zumwalt.

Congress Implies UFOs have Non-Human Origins

In Congress, where legislation is drafted, debated and enacted, clear and concise definitions are of paramount importance. As military aircrews increasingly encounter unidentified flying objects (UFOs), lawmakers recently made several striking revisions to the definition of “UFO.” Key among them: The explosive implication that some UFOs have non-human origins.

As first reported by researcher Douglas Johnson, a draft bill approved unanimously by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence rebrands UFOs as “unidentified aerospace-undersea phenomena.” Expanding the definition to include objects in space and under the oceans significantly broadens the scope of a muscular new office tasked by Congress with investigating UFOs.

The revised definition of “UFO” also includes “transmedium” objects which, according to lawmakers, “transition between space and the atmosphere, or between the atmosphere and bodies of water.”

In short, members of a key national security-focused committee believe that objects of unknown origin are demonstrating remarkably advanced technology by moving seamlessly between space, air and water. A report accompanying the legislation notes that “transmedium threats to United States national security are expanding exponentially.”

Most strikingly, Congress’s new definition of “UFO” excludes “man-made” objects.

Over the last seven decades, most UFO sightings involved “man-made” objects, such as misidentified aircraft, balloons, satellites or drones. Yet now, according to Congress, “man-made” objects “should not be considered under the definition as unidentified aerospace-undersea phenomena.”

Moreover, in a congressional directive, objects identified by the new UFO office “as man-made…will be passed to appropriate [Department of Defense and Intelligence Community] offices” for further analysis.

Congress, in short, is forcing the government to focus on objects that are not “man-made.”

Imagine that the new UFO office identifies a highly advanced drone flying in sensitive airspace. Under the draft legislation, regardless of the drone’s origin – be it Chinese, Russian or otherwise – the UFO office must immediately stop investigating and hand the case over to another government entity.

This implies that members of the Senate Intelligence Committee believe (on a unanimous, bipartisan basis) that some UFOs have non-human origins. After all, why would Congress establish and task a powerful new office with investigating non-“man-made” UFOs if such objects did not exist?

Make no mistake: One branch of the American government implying that UFOs have non-human origins is an explosive development.

It is also part of a remarkable shift in official attitudes towards UFOs.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, many senior government officials believed that UFOs had “interplanetary” origins. But a series of still-unexplained encounters in the summer of 1952 sparked Cold War national security fears among defense and intelligence agencies. As a result, the U.S. government initiated a campaign to “debunk” and discredit all UFO sightings, no matter how credible. For decades, officials mocked any suggestion that UFOs had extraterrestrial origins.

Not anymore.

In discussions and interviews, NASA administrator Bill Nelson suggested that UFOs encountered by military aircrews in recent years have otherworldly origins. (NASA, it should be noted, is proceeding “full force” on an unprecedented scientific study of UFOs.)

Former CIA Director John Brennan stated that UFOs might “constitute a different form of life.” According to James Woolsey, a fellow ex-CIA director, “something is going on that is surprising to…experienced pilots.”

As Top Gun-trained aviators remain convinced that they observed objects “not of this world,” director of national intelligence Avril Haines – America’s top spy – has not ruled out extraterrestrial origins for UFOs.

Moreover, former President Clinton refers reflexively to the high likelihood of otherworldly life in the universe when asked about UFOs. For his part, former President Obama speculated openly about contact with extraterrestrial life when asked about recent military UFO encounters.

After the customary giggles and smirks that still accompany any mention of “UFO” died down, both Clinton and Obama adopted a serious, matter-of-fact demeanor when discussing the topic. Clinton, in particular, scolded a television audience for laughing when a host asked him about UFOs. Of note, former presidents continue receiving the government’s most sensitive intelligence briefings.

Unsurprisingly, this remarkable shift in attitudes towards UFOs is fostering a broader, richer discussion of the phenomenon.

Comedian and political commentator Bill Maher, for example, recently theorized that UFOs are intentionally revealing themselves to fighter pilots.

He may be on to something. The geometrically reconstructed flight path of a well-known 2015 UFO encounter off the U.S. East Coast indicates that the object reacted as a Navy fighter jet attempted to sneak up behind it. Importantly, the object’s movement did not suggest hostility as much as a desire to be observed by the aircrew, which ultimately “flew right up to the thing.”

A UFO involved in the now famous 2004 “Tic Tac” incidents appeared on radar at the precise location of a rendezvous point known only to a small group of aviators and radar operators. Ten years later, two fighter jets nearly collided with a UFO hovering at the exact location and altitude of an entrance point to a military training range.

To Maher’s point, some UFOs appear to move and position themselves in ways that make their presence obvious to nearby military aircrews.

With Congress openly suggesting that UFOs have non-human origins, this behavior is particularly intriguing.

Idaho Woman Catches UFO on Camera

The term UFO means “unidentified flying object.” This means even the U.S. Government, which recently has taken great strides into admitting to the existence of these UFOs and promising to investigate the matter more thoroughly, has no idea as to the actual origin of these objects.

They may be extraterrestrial, or they may be from some secret Earth origin. But all that it really takes to call something a UFO is that it is up in the air and unidentified. And sometimes, what is unidentified is in the eye of the beholder. For instance, take what this woman filmed recently in Idaho while out for a drive one night.

Watch Video Below:

@onegreatangel83 Out for a drive an came across this unusual light in the sky. It was mlving faster than a plane and in a weird shape. As we kept eating it, it started breaking apart. This was 10pm mst in Idaho on July 12, 2022#idaho #ufo #whatsinthesky ♬ Paradise – Ikson

In the video, a brilliant ball of light streaks across the twilight sky, “faster than any plane.” As she films, it appears to separate into several pieces and continue along its trajectory.

So, what is going on? What this woman actually caught on film was a meteor or a piece of space debris entering the atmosphere. The separation witnessed on this video is from the object breaking apart and catching fire during its descent. This is very common with meteors and other objects that fall to Earth from space.

The American Meteor Society has classified several different levels of meteor activity, based on their relative brightness in the sky. Any meteor righter than the planet Venus is called a “fireball” and they ask that such events be reported to them on their website

Have you ever spotted an UFO? Tell us about it!

Father and Son Film UFO Over the California Desert

When talking about UFOs, it’s important to remember that it’s not necessarily a question of aliens from outer space. UFO literally means “unidentified flying object.” In fact, the term has been shifting recently, and many prefer to use “unidentified aerial phenomena” or UAP, to refer to these things in the sky that are utter unknowns.

Researchers in this field have described five unexplained and seemingly impossible characteristics that true UFOs or UAPs seem to share, including anti-gravity lift, sudden and instantaneous acceleration, hypersonic velocities without signatures, low observability, or “cloaking”, and trans-medium motion. Though this video is of poor quality, the weird behavior exhibited by the object meets several of these criteria. 

The video has been massively zoomed in, so all that is truly visible is a ball of glare. It is impossible to tell if this is a winged aircraft, a flying saucer, or even a balloon. Additionally, the object went on to exhibit some truly unusual behavior, such as “winking out of existence” multiple times. This is in keeping with the “low observability or cloaking” pattern exhibited by many UFOs.

The man taking the video claims he began filming after his son noticed this thing in the sky appearing and disappearing in different places. This might be an indication of trans-medium motion (i.e. shifting in and out of the Earth’s atmosphere and thus his field of vision) as well as the unexplained “instant acceleration” that even military pilots have noted during encounters with UAPs.

While it could be nothing more than sun rays glinting off a conventional aircraft or weather balloon that makes it seem visible or invisible, there are enough questions remaining about this sighting to warrant further investigation. 

@novva2121 my son saw this shiney thing in the sky last night so u pulled my camera out this is at 100x zoom on a s21ultra we both watch it dissappear and appear in a different spot 3 time I got it one time dissappear on camera we were both shocked!!! #ufo #ufosky #set #dissappear #alien #aliens #ufosighting #activeskys #galaxy #fyp #viral #sotherncalifornia #California #desert #strange #weird #crazy #unknown #scary #openskys ♬ original sound – novva2121

Astronaut Complains of Pervasive Odor on Space Station

It’s not easy cohabitating inside a tiny metal box while screaming through outer space at over 17,000 mph — especially when it comes to foul odors that can’t escape by simply opening a window.

In a recent TikTok video — yes, astronauts are on TikTok now — European astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti recalled the very specific smell she encountered once boarding the International Space Station.

“When I got here a couple of months ago for my second flight, I could immediately smell a very peculiar odor that brought me back instantly to the memories and sensations of my first flight’s odors,” Cristoforetti said in the vid.

Cristoforetti is a seasoned pro when it comes to the ISS. She currently holds the record for the longest uninterrupted spaceflight by a European astronaut, having spent 199 days on board the ISS between November 2014 and June 2015. She was more recently sent to the station back in April on board a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft for a second stint.

The astronaut has used TikTok to share a number of videos over her latest flight, amassing millions of views.

Fortunately, the space station’s stink didn’t persist over time.

“But within a matter of days, I got used to it, and now I cannot smell it anymore,” she said, adding that the station’s filters take care of most of the smell.

But that doesn’t mean the decades old orbital outpost is free from foul odors.

“There are, of course, a couple of places on space station that can become a little bit smelly,” the astronaut admitted in her video.

For instance, “if you’re close to a lot of trash,” Cristoforetti recalled, pointing out that the station recently sent a Cygnus spacecraft full of crash to burn up in the atmosphere.

Number One and Two

Then there are “big blue bags” that holds the crew’s solid toilet waste, which can “of course be a little bit smelly as well,” according to the astronaut.

As for number one, the “brine” that is left after the water has been removed from the recycled urine can also cause a bit of a stink on board the station.

“Other than that, the space station smells very pleasant,” Cristoforetti concluded. Which is reassuring — kind of.

Watch the video below:

Biden Reveals Deepest Image of Our Universe Ever Taken by a NASA Space Telescope

The first glimpse of how the James Webb Space Telescope will change the way people see the universe has arrived.

President Joe Biden released one of Webb’s first images Monday at the White House during a preview event with NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

The image shows SMACS 0723, where a massive group of galaxy clusters act as a magnifying glass for the objects behind them. Called gravitational lensing, this created Webb’s first deep field view of thousands of galaxies, including incredibly old and distant, faint ones.

“This slice of the vast universe covers a patch of sky approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length by someone on the ground,” according to a NASA release.

“It is the deepest image of our universe that has ever been taken,” according to Nelson.

The rest of the high-resolution color images will make their debut as planned on Tuesday, July 12.

The space observatory, which launched in December, will be able to peer inside the atmospheres of exoplanets and observe some of the first galaxies created after the universe began by viewing them through infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye.

The first image release will highlight Webb’s science capabilities as well as the ability of its massive golden mirror and science instruments to produce spectacular images.

There are several events taking place during Tuesday’s image release, and all of them will stream live on NASA’s website.

Opening remarks by NASA leadership and the Webb team will begin Tuesday at 9:45 a.m. ET, followed by an image release broadcast that kicks off at 10:30 a.m. ET. Images will be revealed one by one, and a news conference at 12:30 p.m. ET will offer details about them.

The First Images

NASA shared Webb’s first cosmic targets on Friday, providing a teaser for what else Tuesday’s image release will include: the Carina Nebula, WASP-96b, the Southern Ring Nebula and Stephan’s Quintet.

Located 7,600 light-years away, the Carina Nebula is a stellar nursery, where stars are born. It is one of the largest and brightest nebulae in the sky and home to many stars much more massive than our sun.

Webb’s study of the giant gas planet WASP-96b will be the first full-color spectrum of an exoplanet. The spectrum will include different wavelengths of light that could reveal new information about the planet, such as whether it has an atmosphere. Discovered in 2014, WASP-96b is located 1,150 light-years from Earth. It has half the mass of Jupiter and completes an orbit around its star every 3.4 days.

Test Image

The Southern Ring Nebula, also called the “Eight-Burst,” is 2,000 light-years away from Earth. This large planetary nebula includes an expanding cloud of gas around a dying star.

The space telescope’s view of Stephan’s Quintet will reveal the way galaxies interact with one another. This compact galaxy group, first discovered in 1787, is located 290 million light-years away in the constellation Pegasus. Four of the five galaxies in the group “are locked in a cosmic dance of repeated close encounters,” according to a NASA statement.

The targets were selected by an international committee, including members from NASA, the European Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

Looking Ahead

These will be the first of many images to come from Webb, the most powerful telescope ever launched into space. The mission, originally expected to last for 10 years, has enough excess fuel capability to operate for 20 years, according to NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy.

“Webb can see backwards in time just after the big bang by looking for galaxies that are so far away, the light has taken many billions of years to get from those galaxies to ourselves,” said Jonathan Gardner, Webb deputy senior project scientist at NASA, during a recent news conference. “Webb is bigger than Hubble so that it can see fainter galaxies that are further away.”

The initial goal for the telescope was to see the first stars and galaxies of the universe, essentially watching “the universe turn the lights on for the first time,” said Eric Smith, Webb program scientist and NASA Astrophysics Division chief scientist.

Smith has worked on Webb since the project began in the mid-1990s.

“The James Webb Space Telescope will give us a fresh and powerful set of eyes to examine our universe,” Smith wrote in an update on NASA’s website. “The world is about to be new again.”

Original Article

UFO Research Breakthrough in Japan

People keep reporting UFO sightings at Mount Senganmori, and an organization of alien experts wants to prove that aliens exist.

Fukushima, Japan – People keep reporting UFO sightings at Japan’s Senganmori Mountain. A UFO expert is investigating the reports and says he’s sure his team will be able to provide evidence that extraterrestrials exist.

452 UFO sightings were confirmed for last year alone, according to Takeharu Mikami (51), director of the International UFO Laboratory – an organization dedicated to professionalizing UFO research and bringing it closer to everyday people.

According to The Sun, Mikami is convinced that Senganmori Mountain in Fukushima Prefecture is a real hotspot for extraterrestrials.

The area is well-known among UFO researchers, with people repeatedly reporting strange flying objects. That’s why it became the home of a UFO laboratory, Mikami told The Mainichi last year.

“I hope the research lab will serve as a base receiving information, and lead to new discoveries. I’d like to get to the bottom of their identity,” Mikami said.

So far, he says UFO research is still in its infancy. Information about possible sightings is mostly shared among individuals, with scientific systems lacking. The UFO lab aims to change that.

The International UFO Laboratory opened last year

The area around Mount Senganmori is considered a UFO hotspot.
The area around Mount Senganmori is considered a UFO hotspot.  © PR/UFO Laboratory

“It is not a bird; it is likely a UFO”

Mikami dismissed UFO skeptics, saying that of the 452 recorded sightings last year, 125 were documented with photos and 24 with videos.

The expert is confident in confirming UFO sightings. “It is not a bird; it is likely a UFO,” he stated with a practiced eye as he looked at an image of a flying object made available to the public.

On social media, Mikami also expressed confidence that his institute will soon provide irrefutable evidence of the existence of extraterrestrials.

An undated UFO sighting published by the International UFO Laboratory.
An undated UFO sighting published by the International UFO Laboratory.  © PR/UFO Laboratory

Until that happens, they are selling stickers, coffee mugs, and T-shirts to UFO fans from all over the world.

Navy Warships Swarmed by 100 ‘Other Worldly’ UFOs?

US Navy sailors have revealed how their warships were harassed by hundreds of UFOs off the coast of Southern California. The sailors have revealed how the UFOs had capabilities that were unlike anything man has manufactured to this date. These crafts could rise to altitudes of up to 21,000 feet or plunging into the ocean effortlessly as if the water was not even there.

The recent statements contradict naval intelligence’s effort to dismiss the unidentified objects as drones.

Sailors aboard a fleet of US Navy warships sailing off the coast of Southern California in July 2019 witnessed several of the ships being stalked by large numbers of unidentified flying objects. 

The incident lasted for hours and then happened over and over again throughout the month. Navy chiefs have tried to explain the incident, with Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray testifying at the last congressional hearing that he was “reasonably certain” the objects were drones.

But documentary filmmaker Jeremy Corbell says he has been told by the crews of the ships involved that multitudes of “at least 100” UFOs possessed unexplained capabilities far beyond traditional drones.

And he warned that unless the government could determine who was behind the swarm, the intelligence failure would “dwarf our mistakes made around the events of 9/11.”

“I don’t care if these were ”drones” or true UFOs, pyramids, triangles, or even seagulls with lights strapped onto their wings. I want the fundamental question to be answered. Do we know the controllers of these units?” Corbell said in an interview with the Daily Mail.

“And we still don’t know what exactly these ships were. But whatever they are, their skills and presence alone represent a serious national security issue and should not be dismissed out of hand,” added the filmmaker, who posted videos of the incidents on his social media last year.

The videos—verified by the Pentagon—showed flickering objects hovering over US Navy ships in the Pacific Ocean west of San Diego, radar screens capturing nine of the ships, and infrared images of a star-shaped object plunging into the ocean.

Corbell’s current intervention appears to be in response to the fact that a few days ago, the Navy released briefing slides suggesting that the UFOs were actually quadcopter-style UAS [unmanned aerial systems] and likely came from a nearby Hong Kong-registered cargo ship.

Corbell is now striking back, claiming he has “dozens” of accounts from the crew, investigators, and informed officials saying the cargo ship was written off, and the nature and origin of the UFOs are still unknown. They flew in ways that would put publicly known drone technology to shame.

According to the filmmaker’s sources, the capabilities of these crafts included rising to altitudes of up to 21,000 feet or plunging into the sea, making spontaneous accelerations into the upper atmosphere, flying for more than four hours, traveling long distances in one flight, and apparently being immune to the Navy’s anti-drone technology.

A crew member on one of the vessels with direct knowledge of the case, who spoke to the Daily Mail on condition of anonymity, called the incident a “world changer”.

“We don’t yet have enough information to say whether this is man-made technology or not. But the amazing energy capacity of these crafts is world-changing regardless,” the Naval officer told the Mail in the interview.

Do aliens exist? The ancient Greeks thought so and so should you

When it comes to aliens, everyone has an opinion despite no one having much of anything concrete to go on. Famed physicist Enrico Fermi famously looked up into the deafening silence of the night sky above Los Alamos National Laboratory in the 1940s and demanded to know where the hell everybody was.

If even one of the greatest minds of the 20th century was stumped, it’s a good bet that we’re not going to do much better at answering the question, “where are all the aliens?” There is still a lot to say about them though, and the idea of alien species on other worlds or in different realities is about as old as human thought.

For whatever reason, aliens have a hold of our imagination, and they frankly always have. So what do we mean when we talk about aliens? What are our best guesses on their appearance if they do exist? And, honestly, what are the odds that they’re actually out there, and why should we care so much?

Do aliens exist?

That is the million-dollar question, isn’t it? We’ve discovered thousands of exoplanets in the past 30 years, and we haven’t heard a peep one way or the other.

If we just look at the question of probabilities, then it seems like madness to doubt the existence of aliens. There are about 400 billion star systems in the Milky Way galaxy alone, and each of those is almost guaranteed to have at least one exoplanet. Most systems we’ve looked at in detail have half a dozen exoplanets, with two or three in the “habitable zone” of their star—the range of distance from the star where liquid water can exist on its surface at least for a substantial portion of the year.

The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence Institute has been scouring the skies for radio signals from intelligent civilizations for decades now. While there have been plenty of false positives, we’ve yet to intercept or otherwise receive so much as a “Hello World”. We’ve even put many of our species’ significant highlights on a golden record and shot it into interstellar space—twice—in the hope that it bumps into someone up there who will then get on the ‘phone’ and call us to let us know that we’re not alone.

But in addition, many of our next-generation science instruments, like the James Webb Space Telescope or the Nancy Roman Telescope, are specifically designed, or at least have it in their remit, to look for alien life. It’s unquestionable that if there is alien life out there capable of being detected, we’re closer to making contact than we’ve ever been.

But that would be true whether we were days away from getting an interstellar email or we’ve got decades ahead of us before any kind of contact is made, and so all most of us can really do is look up at the night sky like Enrico Fermi and ask the big questions while we wait for an answer, one way or the other.

What do aliens look like?

Aliens could and will look like just about anything you can imagine, given the nature of their evolution and development (should they exist). Even on Earth, we are constantly surprised by the kinds of utterly bizarre flora and fauna that live 1 kilometer below the ocean surface, and we are far closer to a barreleye fish (see above) than we’d be to Alpha Centaurians.

Unless the exact opposite were true.

There is a theory in evolutionary biology called convergent evolution. According to this idea, geographically isolated species are likely to adopt the same evolutionary adaptations due to their lived environment. 

All those movies with humanoid aliens may be a more accurate representation of our future alien relationships than anything out of Independence Day. Suppose the aliens we’re talking about evolved primarily on land and on a planet similar to ours. In that case, they’ll have many of the same physiological developments that we do, even if there are some more unique configurations.

We’re far more likely to recognize ourselves in land-evolved aliens than we are for anything that evolved in the oceans, however, so that is definitely something to think about as we look out into the cosmos for evidence of intelligent life—and also reminds us that there are plenty of aliens to be discovered nearer to home than many people realize.

What about the Drake Equation?

Do aliens exist? The ancient Greeks thought so and so should you
Dr. Frank Drake, revisiting the variables of the Drake Equation, several decades after its inception | Source: Raphael Perrino/Flickr

The Drake Equation was introduced by the astronomer Frank Drake in 1961 as a starting point for discussion at the first meeting of astronomers working on the subject of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, and it has since taken on something of a life of its own.

According to the SETI Institute, the Drake Equation “is generally agreed to be the ‘second most-famous equation in science (after E= mc2),’ and you can find it in nearly every astronomy textbook.” That isn’t that much of a stretch, and the Drake Equation has influenced the conversation around alien life for the past 60-plus years.

The Drake Equation looks at several factors to determine the probability of alien life in our galaxy. The Drake Equation is defined as

N = R* • fp • ne • fl • fi • fc • L

with the terms in the Drake Equation being:

  • N: The number of civilizations in our galaxy whose electromagnetic radiation is detectable
  • R*: the rate of star formation in the galaxy that produces suitable conditions for the development of life
  • fp: The fraction of those stars that have planetary systems
  • ne: The mean number of planets in a star system that can support life
  • fl: The fraction of such planets where life, in fact, develops 
  • fi: The fraction of life-sustaining planets where intelligent life develops  
  • fc: The fraction of those planets which have civilizations capable of producing detectable electromagnetic signals, like radio waves
  • L: The average length of time that a civilization can produce such signals, in years

What we’re looking for is N, namely the probability that an alien civilization is alive and broadcasting at a point in time when we can hear them. Take that probability and multiply it against the number of stars in our galaxy (400 billion). In theory, you can come up with a rough estimate of the number of active alien civilizations currently inhabiting our galaxy.

If you’ve read those variables closely, though, it should be fairly obvious to you that this is not an equation in a traditional sense like, say, E=mc2 or a2 + b2 = c2.

The Drake Equation is, ultimately, a probabilistic one, giving you a result between zero and one, and which tells you the odds of a particular outcome, much like the flip of a coin or the roll of a die, only with many more sides and each weighted very differently from the others.

If the number of life-sustaining planets in a planetary system is one or two planets greater than expected, the impact on the result can be substantial. The time a civilization can exist while being capable of producing electromagnetic waves can likewise produce a galaxy buzzing with activity, or, it can turn the Milky Way into a cosmic crypt with a single inhabitant—us—that is destined to take its place beside the rest of the dead alien species that we won’t ever even know existed.

Because the variables in the Drake Equation are so fluid, it’s not like math equations produced by thinkers like Einstein or Euclid. Those are meant to describe something concrete in an abstract way. Meanwhile, the Drake Equation is much fuzzier, and each variable is open to interpretation (at least for now), and serves a different purpose than mere math. 

In many ways, the Drake Equation is aspirational and is more an expression of hope in the existence of advanced extraterrestrial life than it is science (which is one of the principal criticisms leveled against it). Hope is not science, and in many ways is antithetical to sound science, at least in that a good scientist shouldn’t go out in search of evidence to support a conclusion, but should rather see whether neutral (or as close to neutral as possible) observation or experimentation supports a hypothesis.

But there is a place for something like the Drake Equation, taken in its proper context. When looking out into the cosmic void of hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy alone, confronting the apparent silence of it all can easily lead one to write off SETI as a fool’s errand.

In cosmic terms, we’ve only had the capacity to detect aliens on other worlds for just over a hundred years, at most (assuming that rudimentary radio receivers on Earth could somehow pick up radio broadcasts from thousands of light-years away, not that we’d understand what we were hearing necessarily). That’s not long at all, even in terms of the lifetime of our species, much less the age of life on Earth or the galaxy as a whole, which is thought to have taken on its current form about 9 billion years ago.

In short, we’ve only just turned on the radio, and we haven’t even had a chance to hear the song. Given that our individual lives are so short, cosmically, it would be absurd to say that there is no alien life out there because we haven’t heard from them. That is what makes the Drake Equation a critical point of discussion from a scientific perspective because it gives scientists some perspective.

Yes, that is an enormous haystack we have in front of us, and after some searching, we’ve yet to find any needles. Some scientists might be tempted to throw their hands up and say the search is pointless, but the Drake Equation reminds us that there might still be needles in there, even tens of thousands of needles. We just have to keep searching if we ever hope to find them. Whether we continue to do so is entirely up to us.

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