The government DOES try to address UFO sightings but finds they aren’t worth pursuing.
Why did the U.K. UFO reporting center close? For a similar reason why the U.S. version closed. It was not helpful.
In a briefing for the then defence minister, Bob Ainsworth, in November 2009 a civil servant, Carl Mantell of the RAF’s Air Command, suggested the MoD should try to significantly reduce the UFO work. He said it was “consuming increasing resource, but produces no valuable defence output”.
He told Mr Ainsworth that in more than 50 years, “no UFO sighting reported to [the MoD] has ever revealed anything to suggest an extra-terrestrial presence or military threat to the UK”.
His memo said there was “no defence benefit” in the recording, collating, analysis or investigation of the sightings, adding: “The level of resources diverted to this task is increasing in response to a recent upsurge in reported sightings, diverting staff from more valuable defence-related activities.”
The desk was closed despite a surge in sightings that continued. The prevalence of sightings is NOT surprising. As the idea of UFOs became more common and accepted, people noticed incidents and reported them. In the 21st century, UFO reports continue to surge thanks to not only LOTS more flying things in the sky that people can’t quite identify but also the internet and social media that allows for reports to be distributed around the world in seconds.
Curious how this compared to the handling of similar reports in the US, I contacted Antonio Paris, UFO researcher and director of the Aerial Phenomena Investigations Team. The U.S. equivalent, Project Blue Book, was open from 1952-1970 and investigated reports of aerial phenomena. This project was closed in response to the Condon Report conclusions of 1969. “The [Condon] “Committee’s Report” concluded UFOs posed no threat to the national security of the US; and any additional studies into the phenomena would not advance science,” he says.
“The closure of both programs appear to be similar in nature.” However, he notes, “Blue Book shut down decades ago and MOD’s program continued until recently. It would be interesting to know why MOD continued to investigate reports of UFOs for decades after Blue Book and whether or not any information was shared with the US.”
The Condon report is available in its entirety from the website of the National Capital Area Skeptics.
MUFON continues to collect sighting reports in the U.S. They are not a government-affiliated agency. You can also report to the API if you saw something you think it worth investigating. But just remember, there are A LOT of man made things up there. That makes more sense.
More from NY Times blog.