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Last week the German Aerospace Society held a workshop to discuss the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life and whether a recently released Pentagon report on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena—the new preferred name for UFOs—should change our outlook in this regard. Invited speakers were Massimo Teodorani, an astrophysicist and book author from Italy, Hakan Kayal, a remote sensing expert from the University of Würzburg in Germany, and myself.


The Pentagon report prompted a number of reactions in the United States, including a project initiated by Avi Loeb from Harvard University and others to investigate unexplained aerial phenomena. Scientists across the Atlantic also have been watching the latest developments. The European organization that keeps the closest eye on UAP sightings is probably GEIPAN, a unit of the French Space Agency that has analyzed a total of 2,923 cases, of which 99 remain unexplained to date. This correlates roughly with the percentage of unexplained observations in the United States.

I went first on the workshop agenda, giving a general overview of the search for extraterrestrial life and the evolutionary progression (on Earth) toward complex and intelligent life, including the Cosmic Zoo hypothesis. I then discussed the Fermi Paradox and its possible solutions, some of which could be consistent with the idea that UAP are extraterrestrial in origin—for example, Star Trek’s prime directive, whereby aliens do (generally) not interfere with humanity.

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