When the New York Times reported Saturday that the Pentagon had spent several years and $22 million researching the possible existence of UFOs, tinfoil hat believers breathed a sigh of relief. The rest of us were surprised, but accepted the news nonetheless because it’s 2017 and nothing makes sense. All that said, an alien hunter-slash-scientist in California tells Inverse that there is something unnerving about this story, but it’s not the UFOs.

“There are a couple examples of really puzzling phenomenon,” SETI Institute Senior Astronomer Seth Shostak tells Inverse. “I mean, I get it, but there’ve always been puzzling cases. There are always plenty of interesting cases, and they make for great television shows. But this doesn’t mean they involve phenomena we’ve never seen before.”

According to the Times, the Pentagon recently confirmed that it had taken part in a partially declassified program to investigate UFOs, called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP). The project — which was launched primarily at the request of former Nevada Democrat Harry Reid — ran from at least 2007 through 2012, though some involved believe it’s still alive in a less organized form.

Reid had apparently been influenced by his friend Robert Bigelow, a billionaire and aerospace entrepreneur who told CBS’s 60 Minutes back in May that he’s “absolutely convinced” UFOs have visited Earth.

According to Shostak, Bigelow’s obsession with extraterrestrials has gone back much longer.

“I know him a little bit; he’s a nice guy!” Shostak explains. “But he’s thought there’s been evidence of an alien visitation for a very long time, as least as long as I’ve known him, and that’s been about 15 years.”

If Bigelow wanted to spend his own money to fund a real-life X-Files, that’d be one thing. But according to the Times, the $22 million appropriated to AATIP — which came from taxpayer money — went to Bigelow’s company, Bigelow Aerospace. With this cash, Bigelow hired people to construct buildings to house items that came from supposed UFOs and brought on researchers to study people who said they’d encountered extraterrestrial objects.

For Shostak, what’s “a little disturbing” about the ordeal is that Bigelow, who has collaborated with NASA despite having no scientific background, has received so much money from the project.

“[Bigelow] doesn’t need more money,” he explains. “He’s a very likeable guy, but he’s been convinced all along that we’re being ‘visited.’ And it doesn’t mean [aliens are visiting us] just because a person of note thinks it’s true. The thing that’s a little disturbing about this is that it seems a lot of the money for this study went to Bob Bigelow. I think that if you really wanted to investigate this stuff, the thing to do is to give this to scientists or experts in the field that don’t have a dog in the fight.”

While some of the AATIP mission remains classified, at this point, a few things remain true. One, Harry Reid is good at campaigning on behalf of his friends’ pipe dreams. Two, Robert Bigelow is seriously invested in finding aliens among us. And three, we haven’t found proof of any extraterrestrial beings, as badly as we all want that to happen.

“If the aliens were actually visiting us since 1947, when they made that navigation error in New Mexico, you’d have really good evidence,” Shostak says. “It wouldn’t all be in the hands of the government — and not just the government, our government. If the aliens had bothered to visit any other countries, wouldn’t they have evidence? I find it hard to believe that everybody’s covering it up.

“The bottom line is somebody spent 20 million dollars of your tax dollars to look into this and they didn’t come up with anything.”

Apple’s next iPhone models are almost here, which raises an annual dilemma for consumers thinking about getting a new phone: hold on to what you got until the new slate of phones is released — likely next month — or hunt around for deals on last year’s models?

As the tech world turns its attention to the next range of devices, evidence suggests buyers could grab a discount on used models ahead of the announcement while those in the market for a new phone are likely better off waiting until after the new phones launch to take better advantage of the product cycle.

Google celebrated the life of Mary G. Ross on Thursday, with a commemorative doodle on what would have been the pioneer aerospace scientist’s 110th birthday. Ross, a Native American female engineer, helped develop some of the first concepts for flyby missions past Venus and Mars, paving the way for humans to explore the stars and visit other planets. Ross proudly described some of her most important moments this way: “I was the pencil pusher, doing a lot of research. My state of the art tools were a slide rule and a Frieden computer.”

SpaceX took a big step toward its goal to reuse rockets in record time, after it successfully launched a Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket with a Merah Putih satellite on Tuesday. The first stage rocket was first used in May, and it marks the first time that the more reusable “Block 5” design has reflown after a previous mission. It’s a key step toward CEO Elon Musk’s ultimate goal to refly rockets in just 24 hours.

Mars is kind of a bummer: That place is a hotbed of dynamic dust storms that got so big in recent months that they encircled the entire planet. Those conditions, sure to be a challenge for future Mars colonies, are a buzzkill for NASA’s Opportunity Rover right now: A dust storm forced the droid, which has been roaming Mars for 14 years, to shut down in June, and it’s still turned off today.

Thank heavens the Parker Solar Probe isn’t made of wax, because its about to fly closer to the sun than even Icarus dared. On August 11, NASA is launching the probe into a part of the sun’s outer atmosphere known as the Alfvén point. If it manages to get past it, we can officially say a human-made object has touched the sun.