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Alien Motherships: Pentagon Official and Harvard Professor Float Extraterrestrial Theory for Unexplained Sightings

An artists rendering of a UFO above the pyramids. Shutterstock.

A Pentagon official and a Harvard professor have co-authored an academic paper suggesting unexplained aerial incursions could be alien probes from a mothership sent to study Earth.

An Unusual Theory: Extraterrestrial Probes

Sean Kirkpatrick, head of the Pentagon’s All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO), and Harvard professor Avi Loeb have teamed up to propose that objects appearing to defy physics could be extraterrestrial “probes” from a “parent craft.” The draft paper, dated March 7, gained notoriety after being posted on Military Times and circulated among science-focused news outlets.

The Mothership Hypothesis

The authors devote more than half of the five-page paper to exploring the possibility that unexplained objects being studied by the DoD could be the “probes” in the mothership scenario. They suggest that interstellar objects like “Oumuamua,” spotted in 2017, could potentially be parent crafts that release many small probes during close passage to Earth. The paper also explores how smaller crafts could move through Earth’s atmosphere, using starlight to charge their batteries and Earth’s water as fuel.

AARO’s Credibility and Openness to Scientific Debate

Kirkpatrick’s involvement in the paper signals the Pentagon’s openness to scientific debate on the origins of UFOs, but some experts argue that it could undermine AARO’s credibility, given the highly unsubstantiated nature of the theory. Alejandro Rojas, a board member of the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies and head of content and research for Enigma Labs, notes that there is a fine line between being open to speculative ideas and actually supporting them.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has expressed confidence in the scientific rigor of both co-authors and urged against stigmatizing the topic, as it could limit the U.S. government’s understanding of potential threats. She emphasized the importance of de-stigmatizing and standardizing reporting to better characterize what is in US airspace.

The AARO’s Origins and Mission

Established by Congress last year, AARO replaced a task force within the Office of Naval Intelligence that had been investigating UFOs. The office serves as the focal point for government-wide investigations into numerous reports of unidentified aerial phenomena, many of which appear to perform advanced maneuvers. Kirkpatrick is a respected science and intelligence professional, with over two decades of experience studying physics and working in the defense intelligence space.

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