Wyoming Scientists Skeptical Of Latest Hype Over UFOs, Alien Life

University of Wyoming astronomers said there is likely other intelligent life in the universe but the recent Congressional hearings don't offer much proof that there are space aliens on Earth.

Mark Heinz

August 06, 20237 min read

UFO hearing 8 6 23
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

The idea the government has been hiding alien spacecraft, and perhaps even extraterrestrial bodies, is a “fun subject” to discuss, but the latest round of UFO hype isn’t likely to yield tangible results, a Wyoming astronomer said. 

Former Air Force Intelligence Officer David Grusch kicked off the latest flurry of E.T. fever when he gave an interview claiming that he had proof the government is in possession of crashed alien spacecraft — and possibly even bodies. 

His claims were taken seriously enough to prompt a recent congressional hearing on the matter.

But it’s worth noting that most of what Grusch had to say was what other people supposedly told him, astronomer Max Gilbraith told Cowboy State Daily. And Grusch also didn’t have anything tangible, like photographs or physical evidence. 

“In a legal hearing, that’s what we call hearsay. It’s inadmissible in court,” said Gilbraith, who is the planetarium coordinator for the University of Wyoming. 

UW Physics and Astronomy professor Daniel Dale agreed that the latest UFO headlines are probably more about sensationalism and politics than any real substance.

“As for the recent hoopla, I think it got stirred up because that former intelligence official said there was a cover-up. That will raise any politician's antennae. And everybody seems to love conspiracy theories,” he told Cowboy State Daily.

‘Foo Fighters’

The last surge in UFO hype was a few years ago when the government released footage from fighter jet cameras showing pilots pursuing unidentified objects and chattering excitedly about what they saw. 

Military pilots seeing things they can’t explain is nothing new, Gilbraith said. 

“There’s the people who originally saw the ‘foo fighters’ during World War II,” he said. 

No, he wasn’t suggesting that David Grohl’s hugely successful post-Nirvana band the Foo Fighters had somehow mastered time travel and gone back to entertain the troops. Rather, he was referring to the strange aerial phenomena that Grohl named the band after. 

Some fighter pilots and bomber crews reported seeing weird lights and shapes in the sky during wartime missions, and the airmen called the anomalies “foo fighters.” 

The foo fighters, as well as the strange objects seen by modern fighter pilots, probably have plausible explanations not having to do with an impending alien invasion, Gilbraith said. 

The World War II pilots probably saw experimental, cutting-edge German weapons such as ME 262 jet fighters, or V1-and V2 rockets, he said, adding that many “UFOs” people see could likewise be cutting-edge technology that hasn’t been publicly revealed.

Light refractions off clouds and other natural atmospheric phenomena also can create strange optical illusions, sometimes enough to fool even experienced pilots, Gilbraith said. 

What About The Weather?

Could be a good place for a couple of graphs from Don about seeing things, conditions, etc? Gilbraith saying about light refracting off clouds made me think having Don say, “yeah, people see weird shit in the clouds” or whatever would add something. Thanks.

‘Little Green Person’

Given the unfathomable magnitude of the universe, Gilbraith said it’s his belief that it’s likely that there is other intelligent life out there. 

However, the odds are stacked against those life forms making it here. And even if they did, the government being able to keep them a secret doesn’t seem plausible, he said. 

“As far as intelligent life goes, you have to go from the evolutionary biological standpoint that intelligence isn’t really useful,” he said. 

By that he means super-intelligent species are more likely to think themselves into one crisis after another, and possibly even self-destruction, as humans have.  

“Intelligent life might blow itself up with atomic weapons, or poison its planet with pollution,” Gilbraith said. 

And even if another intelligent species escaped self-destruction and found its way to Earth for a big reveal, many people might not believe it anyway, he said. 

“If they did a press conference and a little green person in a space suit came out and made a speech at the podium, many people would think it’s just a ‘deep fake’ anyway,” he said. 

‘Here To Chew Bubblegum And Kick Ass’

A more likely scenario would be akin to the plot of the 1988 sci-fi movie “They Live,” Gilbraith said. 

In other words, aliens hiding in plain sight.

In that movie, evil aliens disguise themselves as humans and integrate into society. They establish mind control over humans through such methods as subliminal messages on billboards. 

The film’s protagonist, played by former pro wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper, comes by a set of specialized sunglasses that allow him to see the alien messages and the evil creatures in their true form. 

One of the film’s highlights is perhaps Piper’s only memorable line in his brief movie career, as he dons the sunglasses and confronts aliens in a bank lobby.

“I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass,” he said. “And I’m all out of bubblegum.”

It Could Be A Distraction

However, before stocking up on bubblegum, people should consider that Grusch could be sincere, but might have been fed information to distract him — and by proxy the public — from some cutting-edge project, Gilbraith said. 

“It kind of always strikes me as a ‘limited hangout,’” he said. 

Meaning, “hanging out” a tantalizing piece of information to pull attention away from something else, he said. 

A successful example of that was the Allies during World War II releasing just enough information to let the Nazis know that an invasion of Europe was imminent, but giving them the wrong impression about where the D-Day landings would actually be, he said. 

So, it is feasible that the government is working on some new flight technology, but wants to keep the details undercover for now, Gilbraith said. 

In any case, the most otherworldly conclusion probably isn’t the best to jump to, he said. 

“There are a lot of plausible explanations. We don’t need to jump to the conclusion that there’s an extraterrestrial intelligence operating craft in our atmosphere,” he said. 

Lack Of Hard Evidence

Dale said he listened to a recent podcast regarding Grusch’s claims. He thought it was long on quibbling over Grusch’s credibility as a former Air Force officer, but short on hard evidence.

“I remember thinking to myself while on my run and listening to that podcast, ‘Why are they even arguing over this guy's veracity?’” he said. “Because as a scientist, my default position is that I don't believe anything unless convincing evidence is provided. I don't go on what someone says.”

Mark Heinz can be reached at mark@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter