On Friday, the government finally released its report on unidentified aerial phenomenon (UAP) in an effort to shed light on the mysterious flying objects. But the report left us with a lot of questions, as 143 of the 144 cases revealed by the Pentagon's UFO report were left unexplained.
While there weren’t as many answers as advocates on either side of the alien debate would like, there were a few important takeaways from the UAP report that are worth noting — and will hopefully lay the groundwork for more thorough investigations into the ongoing mystery.
Here are the five most important takeaways you need to know from the Pentagon’s unclassified, nine-page report on UFOs.
5. DECEPTIVE BALLOONS
Of the 144 cases listed in the report, only one incident was properly identified.
That particular UAP, or now IAP (I for identified), fell into a category called “airborne clutter,” which includes birds, plastic bags, recreational drones, and, in this case, a large, deflating balloon.
Although the 143 remaining cases were left unidentified, the report suggested that they fall into one of five categories;
- Airborne clutter, like the balloon.
- Natural atmospheric phenomenon.
- USG or U.S. industry developmental programs.
- Foreign adversary systems, or vehicles operated by foreign countries such as China and Russia.
- And a final “other” category for things that simply could not be explained.
4. 17 YEARS OF UAPS
Friday’s report focused on incidents that had been captured from the year 2004 till March 2021.
That would include the 2004 footage captured by Navy pilots which showed a cluster of odd-looking aircraft executing strange maneuvers.
But it does exclude some major events in UFO history such as the Phoenix Lights, a series of unidentified flying objects that were observed over Arizona, Nevada, and the Mexican state of Sonora in March 1997.
The report also did not include the Roswell incident in 1947 when rumors of a UFO crash landing at a ranch in Roswell, New Mexico were widely circulated after an alleged Air Force balloon crashed there.
3. THEY ARE OBJECTS, THOUGH
One thing that the report did confirm was that the majority of these objects were real. That may not seem like much, but it does exclude any claims that the footage of UAPs is some form of optical illusion.
The report cited that most of the UAPs were captured by multiple sensors, such as radars, weapon seekers, or automatic weapon launchers, and infrared sensors, rather than just cameras, which wouldn’t happen if they were a mirage.
2. THERE’S AN EVEN BIGGER REPORT!
The nine-page report that was released to the public on Friday is declassified information, but there is a reportedly larger report that contains classified information that will likely remain behind closed doors.
The report was released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. But before it was released, the Pentagon formally declassified three videos in April 2020.
In August 2020, the Department of Defense created the Pentagon’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force to analyze and catalog UAP sightings.
Since then, the task force has been preparing a large report to be presented to the House Intelligence Committee. That report is still classified, while the public was given a snippet of it on Friday.
1. NO ALIENS?
Much to the disappointment of many, the report did not even include the words “extraterrestrial.”
Although UAP sightings have often been associated with alien life visiting Earth, the government report seemed to completely ignore that possibility and instead focus on trying to resolve whether these objects pose a national threat.
A couple of weeks before its release, the New York Times reported that the video did not find evidence that the UAPs witnessed by Navy pilots in recent years were, in fact, alien spacecraft.
A bummer for some, but perhaps now it will raise more questions about this ongoing mystery.