The Pentagon is expected to file its full report on the UAP phenomenon to the US Congress any day now.
Early previews of the report obtained by the New York Times suggest that the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena task force has concluded that the anomalous objects sighted buzzing US ships and installations are not definitively extraterrestrial in origin.
However, the report is expected to also say that the UAP Task Force hasn’t established what the mystery ships’ origin might be.
Whether this specific craft is alien in origin or not, the wider question still remains – are we alone in the Universe?
A group of leading scientists has told specialist science website Science World that it’s almost certain that there is life out there somewhere – and we could find it soon.
Planetary scientist Helen Maynard-Casely says that we are finding so many potential pockets in our solar system that may be hospitable to life as we know it, that it’s "only a matter of time" before we find some form of life.
She says that Jupiter’s moons Europa and Ganymede both show promise for exobiologists, and Saturn's moon Titan also has some very "interesting" molecules.
Astrobiologist Jonti Horner agrees that there is life out there, but stresses that space is so unimaginably vast that while he’s sure there is intelligent and technologically advanced life elsewhere in the universe, it could be in a completely different part of our galaxy – or a different galaxy altogether.
If every star had an average of five planets, he theorises, that would mean there were two trillion planets in our galaxy alone. And there are at least two trillion other entire galaxies each with its own huge complement of planets.
Astrobiologist Steven Tingay says that aliens are definitely out there, but they might disappoint UFO hunters: "If we found something like bacteria somewhere other than on Earth," he says, "I would classify this as alien life."
Space technology expert Rebecca Allen agrees that the huge number of planets in our galaxy – with some six billion potentially being Earth-like – the probability that life exists elsewhere is "all but confirmed".
She adds that some ultra-small organisms – for example, tardigrades – are so tough that they could probably survive being blown into space by a major meteorite impact.
There could well be living creatures on other planets. But they might have originated right here on Earth.
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