People have been obsessed with aliens and UFOs for centuries, ever since H.G. Wells brought them into mainstream fiction in his novel War of the Worlds, and probably even before that. While the U.S. government has always adopted a policy of shushing any conspiracy theories developed around UFOs and the like (we’ve all heard their adamant statements about Area 51’s completely normal workings), it turns out even they feel the need to be watchful of unknown things in the sky. The Pentagon itself had a division dedicated to studying just such objects—the AATIPand its former head has some stories to share. 

The what now?

The AATIP (Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program) was a Pentagon program founded in 2007 to study potential threats flying through our skies. It is unclear whether the program is still active today, as it is listed as being formally disbanded in 2012, although sources have stated that the Pentagon continues to research unidentified flying objects today.

Luis Elizondo was the head of the program for many years, although in 2017 he stepped down from the role, due in part, he says, to the fact that he thought the government wasn’t taking the AATIP’s research findings seriously enough.

Weird Stories

While the AATIP didn’t record any strange creatures descending from spaceships or research radio signals from distant planetary systems, it did see some strange things flying over our skies. First of all, Elizondo notes, the program witnessed objects traveling much faster than they should be able to fly, and without the usual effects of similarly-speeding objects. UFOs flying at hypersonic speeds (more than five times faster than the speed of sound) were seen on multiple occasions. Despite their dizzying speed, however, there were no signs accompanying the objects, like the sonic booms that should follow such a fast flight. As far as the AATIP could tell, these UFOs also didn’t have engines or wings, and yet they seemed to be able to defy the laws of gravity.

UFOs witnessed by the AATIP were unusually mobile and seemed to defy the laws of physics as we know them. Elizondo remarked that some objects were experiencing gravitation force (G-force) at much higher levels than humans and current machines should be able to withstand. While one of the most high-tech American planes can withstand up to 16 or 18 G’s (G-forces), Elizondo says that his team witnessed UFOs traveling at speeds that should be pulling nearly 400 or 500 G’s—much higher than any of our current technology allows. 

Are aliens among us?

While Elizondo and his organization witnessed all of these strange occurrences, he isn’t claiming that an alien invasion is about to begin. In fact, he isn’t claiming anything close. Many of the UFOs that the AATIP witnessed were eventually explained away as being test flights of new aerial devices, test firings of new missiles, or even something as simple as a plane, missile, or some other aerial device being viewed from the wrong angle. Elizondo emphasized that even the unexplained UFOs were likely not from out of this world; there simply isn’t enough evidence to support such a theory.

He did say, however, that there is something perhaps even more dangerous than aliens sending aircraft into our midst. That is, that if aliens aren’t responsible for these high-tech devices, then who is? If other countries are developing software and technology for planes and other aerial devices that can fly faster than the speed of sound without a sonic boom, or that can withstand G-forces much higher than any technology we’ve seen so far, Elizondo says we should be paying attention and letting people know about it—even if all we can say, for the moment, is that we don’t know what the devices are. We should be aware of what’s flying through our skies, alien, foreign, or otherwise.