Throughout history there have has been reports of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs), otherwise known as a flying saucer or flying disc and more recently, Unidentified Anomalous (Aerial) Phenomenon (UAPs). What we mean by UFO is that the object defies any mundane explanation, either natural or man-made and has the appearance of not being a product of our technology.
In some cases these objects have been photographed and recorded on video and infrared cameras. Witnesses have reported observing landed UFOs with occupants (commonly referred to as extra-terrestrials, humanoids and aliens) and being taken into the craft. In some cases the witnesses have claimed that they were abducted.
This phenomenon is associated, particularly in popular culture, with the existence of extra-terrestrial life. A wide range a conspiracy theories, including governments cover-ups have been claimed regarding UFOs and associated phenomenon.
What appears to resemble UFOs and unusual humanoids is depicted in prehistoric rock art, paintings and artefacts. It is logical to assume that this phenomenon may have been occurring, at the least, through human pre-history.
A famous UFO sighting occurred on 24 June 1947, when private pilot Kenneth Arnold claimed that he saw a string of nine, shiny UFOs flying past Mount Rainier (USA). This sighting is credited as being the first of the modern era of UFO sightings. Australian UFO researcher Keith Basterfield has compiled a Catalogue of Pre 24 June 1947 Australian UAP witness reports to emphasise the existence of published pre 1947 UFO/UAP reports. There are many credible people, who without any prior interest in UFOs, reported incredible UFO related sightings.
The cases that have the most interest are the ones where characteristics indicative of an elsewhere origin, in other words, not a product of our technology. The origin of some UFOs may be within our universe, another universe, another dimension, another time or more likely, something completely different, that is beyond on current understanding!
It is likely that Earth and its inhabitants are under systematic covert surveillance by UFOs, either by piloted or unpiloted devices. The appearance of what resembles portholes or windows, in some UFOs, suggests that whatever is inside, has an interest in making external observations. The obvious question is, what would be the purpose of this surveillance. The answer to this question alludes us, but may explain, in apart, the progenitor of the seemingly unlikely origin life on Earth.
We believe that these devices take every means available to avoid detection, at least by multiple witnesses. Some close encounter reports (see Sighting of Saucer Shaped UFO in Paddock, Adjacent to Goodwood Road, near Donnybrook, Western Australia, on 25/26 July 1965, at about 12.15 am) suggest that the UFOs had been caught unaware, of being observed, before being able to get away. Some of these incidents, for example the Lonnie Zamora sighting, have been reported to occur in areas where there is low probability of the device being observed, for instance in isolated areas. However some reports of close encounters have occurred in built-up residential areas.
There are numerous reports of UFO sightings during the Second World War, as if the UFOs are interested or concerned by war. This continues up to the present day with sightings reported at nuclear missile launch silos and missile storage facilities, worldwide.
Confirmed unidentified sightings are relatively rare, Dr James E McDonald (1920 – 1971) concluded  that about 0.5 to 2 percent of raw UFO reports could not be identified as being caused by conventional objects and phenomena. The remaining reports were identified to have prosaic origins. Our investigations of UFO sightings has confirmed the lower bound, of the range reported by McDonald.
Misidentifications and Identified Flying Objects (IFO), for example, aircraft, satellites, stars and planets, hoax, birds, insects, drones, search lights, lens aberrations, reflections on window glass, balloons and debris, such as airborne plastic bags have been misidentified as UFOs.
Understanding the reality of what is going on could be limited by our anthropomorphic prejudices, when considering the obviously highly advanced technologies and sentience involved.
Attributes of reported UFOs are:
- exhibit flight characteristics indicative of being under sentient control
- able to hover, rotate and land (some supported on landing legs), fly close to ground, accelerate and change direction at high speed, while being able to avoid obstacles, such as buildings, surface topography and trees
- leave ground markings where they have landed or hovered, such as indentations in soil and circular areas of flattened vegetation.
- capable of entering, travelling through and leaving water at high speed. In some cases without hydrodynamic interactions, such as a splash or slowing in the velocity. These types of UFO are generally termed unidentified submerged object (USO).
- silent or emit a low frequency humming or hissing noise
- causing interference in electromagnetic spectrum, for example, television and radio reception, including causing motor vehicle engines to malfunction (see Close Encounter with Disc Shaped UFO and Car at Quakers Hill, NSW Australia, in 1974), shake violently and stop. There are numerous reports of UFOs causing vehicle and various other equipment malfunctions. This includes weapons systems on USA and Russian nuclear armed ballistic missiles, in launch silos and military aircraft systems.
- cause agitation, fear and unusual behaviour to occur with domesticated and wild animals
- varied sizes, designs and what appears to be surface structural damage, in some cases. A common description, particularly for saucer shaped objects, is that they are smooth and metallic in appearance, without any visible seams. Some UFOs are reported with what appears to be windows, portholes and hatches. In some cases, the appearance of what was described as humanoids, inside the ‘craft’ that were observed through the windows/portholes.
- emit infrared radiation above ambient level and therefore able to be detected using thermal vision
- appear to change in shape and may divide into multiple objects
- emit extremely bright laser like light beams
- disappear and reappear in an instant
A recent report published by the Scientific Coalition for Ufology (SCU) on the 25 April 2013 Aguadilla, Puerto Rico UAP sighting confirmed that UFOs may be able move into and out of seawater without any apparent significant interactions, such as causing a splash and slowing from the hydrodynamic interactions with the water.
UFOs may be piloted by sentient beings (extra-terrestrials), the smaller craft may be drones or ‘machines’ without ‘pilots’. The surface appearance of some UFOs have been reported to be indicative of having been damaged, refer report dated 24 April 1966 at Puckapunyal Army base, Australia, in addition to exhibiting an ‘aged and heat effected’ surface. The possibility is that this aging may be caused by collisions with dust and other materials in space and in atmospheres. This damage would accumulate during the extended periods of interstellar flight, that could be measured in the millions of years flight time.
In 2015 a group of dedicated scientists and professionals have proposed an innovative approach to the scientific study of UFOs. The goal is to build a network of automated observation stations with a variety of scientific instruments to capture comprehensive, scientifically valid data on the UFO phenomenon. This group formed the organization UFO Detection and Tracking (UFODATA) that is headed by Mark Rodeghier, Scientific Director of the Center for UFO Studies (USA) and Alexander Wendt, a political scientist at Ohio State University (USA).
- Druffel, A. (2006). Firestorm: Dr James E. McDonaldâ€™s Fight for UFO Science. 2nd ed. Columbus, USA: Granite Publishing, p.13.