While scientists, in general, take a cautious approach to any claim of extraterrestrial life, there are people who are convinced extraterrestrial life forms not only exist but intelligent versions have already visited earth; the evidence being the thousands of UFO (Unidentified Flying Object) sightings throughout recorded history.

That UFOs exist is without question. Thousands of people, many with impeccable credentials and no reason to create a hoax have seen them. Photographs and video, including some taken by police officers and even astronauts, are unquestionably authentic.

However, skeptics argue that even a verifiable UFO does not automatically mean it is piloted or even controlled by beings from another star system. Nearly all images of UFOs are mere spots of moving light, which leaves the range of possible explanations wide open.

One of the “proofs” that intelligent aliens exist revolves around reports of crashed “flying saucers” and even deceased aliens. The most famous case is the “Roswell Incident” where one (or two depending on the version told) alien spacecraft crashed on a ranch in New Mexico in 1947. At first the Army released a statement indicating “flying saucers” had indeed crashed and the Army had retrieved the debris. Yet within hours of that news release the Army released a second statement saying the debris was actually from a crashed weather balloon. The sudden reversal created the impression in the minds of many of a deliberate cover-up on the part of the military and also created a long-running conspiracy theory still going strong today.

As supporting evidence that alien spacecraft did indeed crash in New Mexico in 1947, conspiracy theorists point to the explosion of various technologies since that time. They maintain the rapid advancement of our technological capabilities was accelerated by technology learned from the crashed spacecraft. In essence, human scientists were able to duplicate to some degree the technology of the off-world aliens.

It is true that advancements in technology have been unprecedented in the last several decades. For instance, finding planets around other stars was an astronomer’s dream just 20 years ago, as was the sequencing of the human genome by geneticists. Many reading this column can clearly remember a time when rockets into space was nothing more than science fiction and the computer technology of today was not even dreamt of. So, given the exponential growth rate of knowledge, is it conceivable we got a boost from a crashed alien spacecraft?

Even if such a spacecraft exists, it is not likely we could understand, let alone duplicate, any of its technology. It would be like giving the Wright Brothers a F-35 stealth fighter jet and telling them to learn to fly it without training and then have them build another one just like it. We, with our present level of technology, advanced as it may seem, have no clue, in a practical sense, how to traverse the vast reaches of space even to the nearest star system in anything less than several human lifetimes. The practical technology that alien travelers would have to possess is still way beyond our understanding.

A life-long resident of northern Minnesota, Terry Mejdrich is a former math teacher and farmer turned mystery author and freelance writer.

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