Photo: Chiaki Nozu / Contributor (Getty Images)
One year ago this month, To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science launched. The public benefit corporation was founded by Tom DeLonge, the former co-lead vocalist of blink-182 and the current lead guitarist and vocalist of Angels & Airwaves. The corporation is divided into three divisions: aerospace, entertainment, and science. Delonge originally became interested in all things otherworldly while doing research for a series of graphic novels. During a four-hour discussion with several former government officials at the launch of the corporation, he confirmed that UFOs are real.
No, that does not mean that aliens will suddenly invade our ears and switch bodies. An “unidentified flying object” is a vague term; it could mean any number of things, not all of them alien. Given the technology we have, from heat-sensing to enhanced images to metal detection, it’s amazing that anything is unidentifiable anymore.
It Doesn’t Get Much More Official Than This Guy
Luis Elizondo worked for the Department of Defense. He is the former director of programs to investigate unidentified aerial threats and headed the Advanced Aerospace Threats Program. The AATP formed in 2007 with a $22 million budget. The budget may sound big, but in context, it was small enough to go unnoticed by the public and unacknowledged by the government.
The AATP only lasted for five years when funding ran out. Elements of the program remain classified and many speculate that the program may still exist in some capacity. This is basically the plot to Men in Black and we’re obsessed.
“We may not be alone,” Elizondo said publicly this time last year.
Who Killed UFO Sightings?
The number of UFO sightings drastically rose, then declined, over the past 28 years. The National UFO Reporting Center reported only 315 UFO sightings in 1990, but by 1998, the number spiked to 2,000 UFO sightings. The number went up to 4,000 for 2006 and peaked at 8,670 in 2014. It has since gone down drastically, to only 1,329 at the end of June 2018.
There’s a lot to unpack here. What made the UFO sightings go up in the ’90s? Popular films like E.T. and the Alien franchise? Aging Baby Boomers? (Those who report UFOs are more likely to be elderly.) What’s behind the decline? Millennials killing everything?
Perhaps the advent of cell phones can explain the decline in UFO sightings. According to the Pew Research Center, 90 percent of American adults owned cell phones in 2014. Only 55 percent owned smartphones. Compare that to 2018, when 95 percent of Americans own cellphones and over 75 percent own smartphones. Are we too engrossed with our screens to look up at the sky? Or are UFOs impossible to see due to poor air quality?
So UFOs Are Real…Now What?
Now that Tom DeLonge is helping legitimize UFOs, perhaps more research will follow. To The Stars Academy has already released some videos of UFOs. They claim it’s only the beginning. Who knows how much is already known, or how much out there will be forever unknown. These efforts will continue to seek out the truth, whatever it is, but also to discover new technologies, materials, and energy sources.
The universe is huge. This is comforting and also terrifying. Even if no further information is found, the fact that UFOs have been documented is major news. Up until now, the U.S. government has denied all accounts. Going forward, we’re prepared for a number of scenarios: Independence Day, To Serve Man, Mars Attacks!, or even Star Trek. Whatever happens, keep looking up. You don’t want to miss it because your nose is buried in your phone.