Bill Nelson wants to believe. The Head of NASA recently weighed in on the spate of recent high-profile UFO sightings by US Navy pilots – while claiming he doesn’t truly understand what these phenomena were all about, he suggests it’s impossible to rule out they were the technology of extraterrestrial life.
Nelson, former astronaut and Florida Senator, has been NASA administrator since May. He recently spoke in a livestreamed interview with the University of Virginia in which he tackled everything from space relations with China to the question of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) sightings. In the discussion, Nelson says there have been more than 300 acknowledged sightings of unidentified flying objects since 2004. Their origins, however, remain unknown.
“I’ve talked to those pilots and they know they saw something, and their radars locked on to it. And they don’t know what is. And we don’t know what it is,” Nelson told professor Larry Sabato, director of University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
“We hope it’s not an adversary here on Earth that has that kind of technology. But it’s something. And so this is a mission that we’re constantly looking, ‘Who is out there?’ 'Who are we?’ 'How did we get here?' 'How did we become as we are?' 'How did we develop?' 'How did we civilize?' And 'are those same conditions out there in a universe that has billions of other suns and billions of other galaxies?’ It’s so large I can’t conceive it.”
“Now there are even theories that there might be other universes,” Nelson added. “And if that’s the case, who am I to say planet Earth is the only location of a life form that is civilized and organized like ours?”
"I tell you what it makes it me think: I better be a better steward of what we have because we're messing it up. I know what my mission is: to be a better steward of this planet and be a better citizen of planet Earth," he added. "But are there other planet Earths out there? I certainly think so because the universe is so big."
Once considered the domain of conspiracy theorists, UFO sightings have been given a renewed sense of legitimacy in recent years thanks to a number of high-profile sightings that were given mainstream media attention and later confirmed by the Pentagon. This year even saw the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence release a much-hyped report on UFO sightings. The report didn't find much, concluding there was no evidence to either confirm or deny that any of the sightings were extraterrestrial life. Nevertheless, it certainly looks like the US government is finally taking the idea of UFO sightings seriously after many decades of dismissal.