(WASHINGTON) — The head of the Pentagon office reviewing UFO incidents reported by military personnel told Congress Wednesday that his office is now reviewing 650 incidents, but that there is no evidence that any of them is of extraterrestrial origin.
Two new videos were released at the rare open congressional hearing on Unexplained Aerial Phenomena, or UAPs as the Pentagon calls them, to highlight how the recently established All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) can explain some incidents but not others.
“I want to underscore today that only a very small percentage of UAP reports display signatures that could reasonably be described as ‘anomalous,"” Sean Kirkpatrick, the director of the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office, told the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities.
“The majority of unidentified objects reported to AARO demonstrate mundane characteristics of balloons, unmanned aerial systems, clutter, natural phenomena, or other readily explainable sources,” he added.
Kirkpatrick told the panel that his office is now reviewing more than 650 UAP incidents reported by military personnel an increase from the 510 the U.S. intelligence community reported in its last UAP report released in January.
As was the case in that earlier report, Kirkpatrick said the number of unresolved incidents is due to a lack of available data that could help investigators in their reviews.
“Without sufficient data, we are unable to reach defendable conclusions that meet the high scientific standards we set for resolution, and I will not close a case that we cannot defend the conclusions of,” said Kirkpatrick.
Most of the UAP reports fall follow similar trendlines, according to Kirkpatrick, with most occurring between 15,000 to 25,000 feet in altitude which is the controlled airspace for military aircraft.
Fifty-two percent of the reports involve objects that are described as “round or spheres” with the remainder fall into other shape categories. Most of the round objects range in size from one-to-four meters and are described as being “white, silver, or translucent metallic” with apparent velocities ranging from stationary to twice the speed of sound.
Kirkpatrick said no thermal exhausts are usually detected adding that “we get intermittent radar returns, we get intermittent radio returns and we get intermittent thermal signatures.”
But he emphasized that his team has still not found any non-Earthly explanations in the incidents.
“I should also state clearly for the record that in our research AARO has found no credible evidence thus far of extraterrestrial activity, off-world technology, or objects that defy the known laws of physics,” said Kirkpatrick.
“In the event sufficient scientific data were ever obtained that a UAP encountered can only be explained by extraterrestrial origin, we are committed to working with our interagency partners at NASA to appropriately inform the U.S. Government’s leadership of its findings,” he added.
Kirkpatrick urged UFO enthusiasts to submit their research ana analysis of UAP incidents to credible peer reviewed scientific journals because AARO is working to do the same. That is how science works, not by blog or social media,” he added.
Kirkpatrick played the committee two videos gathered by American military surveillance MQ-9 drones flying over the Middle East and South Asia that captured UAP’s flying across their camera screens.
He said his purpose in showing the two videos was to demonstrate one incident that cannot be explained and contrast it with another one that could be explained by data.
The first drone video was of an unexplained incident captured while the drone monitored some buildings below when what appeared to be a round silvery object suddenly flew across the screen.
“It is going to be virtually impossible to fully identify that just based off of that video,” said Kirkpatrick.
“Now what we can do and what we are doing is keeping that as part of that group of 52% to see what are the similarities, what are the trends across all these do we see these in a particular distribution do they all behave the same or not?” he said. ” As we get more data, we will be able to go back and look at these and for context.”
The second drone video showed what was described as a blob moving across the video’s field of view creating what appeared to be a propulsion wake behind it.
Kirkpatrick said the wake was actually an “artifact” captured by the drone’s sensors and he explained that after investigators reviewed the video “frame by frame” they were able to determine that it was not real.
“If you squint, it looks like an aircraft because it actually turns out to be an aircraft,” he said.
An infrared detector, he said, determined that “this is the heat signature off of the engines of a commuter aircraft that happened to be flying in the vicinity of where those two MQ-9’s were.”
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