The director of a U.S. government office set up last year to study so-called “unidentified aerial phenomena” (UAPs), also commonly known as UFOs, Sean Kirkpatrick, told a subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday that More than 650 potential UAP incidents are currently being tracked, an unclassified intelligence report released earlier this year.
Kirkpatrick briefed lawmakers on how his office is helping the Pentagon and intelligence community identify emerging foreign technologies, showing videos of two declassified cases, one solved and the other unsolved. The first video showed a small sphere flying across the camera screen of an MQ-9 drone in the Middle East in 2022. The drone’s camera follows the object as it moves through the air, appearing and disappearing. Kirkpatrick explained that the case is unsolved because there is no evidence other than the video. “It’s almost impossible to be completely sure what this object is based on this video alone.” He said, adding that it is hoped that as more data is collected, some explainable patterns will be found in these unsolved cases.
The second video, from South Asia earlier this year, shows an object flying past two MQ-9 drones, one of which captured video of what appeared to be a propulsive wake that Kirkpatrick said he initially thought was “anomalous”. But he said that after analysing the video frame by frame, his office determined it was a “shadow image”. “It’s infrared, it’s heat coming off the engine of a passenger aircraft, and there was a passenger aircraft flying right near those two MQ9s,” he said. He said.
Thursday’s hearing, chaired by New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, was the latest congressional hearing on UAP in the past year, with lawmakers pressuring the Pentagon to address the unexplained sightings. While public attention has focused on whether UFOs exist, Kirkpatrick again reiterated that there is no evidence of extraterrestrial life in these sightings. He said, “In our research, the AARO (All Area Anomaly Resolution Office) has so far found no reliable evidence of extraterrestrial activity, extraterrestrial technology or objects that violate known laws of physics.”
Space X CEO Elon Musk recently said in an interview that he hasn’t seen any evidence of the existence of sentient alien life anywhere, at least not yet.