IT sounds like the plot of a Hollywood blockbuster, but it is in fact real life - officials at the Pentagon said in a document released earlier this week that aliens could be visiting our solar system from a "mothership" in our solar system.


It’s definitely not a movie?

Well, it has been the plot of many a movie over the years, but in this case, it is a genuine research report penned by Sean Kirkpatrick, director of the Pentagon’s “All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office”(AARO); co-authored by Abraham Loeb, chairman of Harvard University’s astronomy department, that puts forward the possibility that extraterrestrial motherships and smaller probes are visiting planets in our solar system.


What exactly does it say?

The authors write that research “inspires us to consider the possibility that an artificial interstellar object could potentially be a parent craft that releases many small probes during its close passage to Earth, an operational construct not too dissimilar from NASA missions. These ‘dandelion seeds’ could be separated from the parent craft by the tidal gravitational force of the Sun or by a maneuvering capability”.


What is AARO?

It was founded in July 2022 with the aim of tracking everything and anything unidentified in the sky, space and underwater. It came after the United States Congress asked NASA to find 90 per cent of objects more than the size of 140 metres in diameter in 2005, with special telescopes constructed to assist. This led to the discovery of “Oumuamua”, a long, thin, pencil-shaped unidentified object that left no comet trail, which NASA describes as “the first known interstellar object to visit our solar system”.


What would the “probes” be doing?

The report states that “with proper design, these tiny probes would reach the Earth or other solar system planets for exploration, as the parent craft passes by within a fraction of the Earth-Sun separation, just like Oumuamua did…Astronomers would not be able to notice the spray of mini probes because they do not reflect enough sunlight for existing survey telescopes to notice them.”


What is the aim of the paper?

Essentially to consider that when investigating Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP), sightings be evaluated against the backdrop of such a possibility, with efforts made to more accurately calculate size, shape and mass of the UAP, as well as range and velocity. It is in line with a new drive by the Pentagon in recent years to investigate military sightings of UAPs.


It comes…?

…in the wake of events in the US last month that saw surging interest in unidentified flying objects over the country after a Chinese spy balloon was shot down. During that period, the US Air Force general overseeing North American airspace said he would not rule out aliens for a number of airborne objects shot down by warplanes. General Glen VanHerck said: "I'll let the intel community and the counterintelligence community figure that out. I haven't ruled out anything.”