On the heels of the Feb. 4, 2023, shooting down of a Chinese balloon suspected of spying on the U.S., American fighter jets have shot down three additional objects in or near U.S. airspace.

When the media asked Glen VanHerck, the Air Force general responsible for overseeing North American airspace, about these events, he refused to rule out (opens in new tab) extraterrestrial forces at play. Other military officials later clarified (opens in new tab) that otherworldly origins aren't a serious consideration, but the comment highlighted the U.S. government's lack of knowledge about these objects.

As a space policy expert (opens in new tab), I'm often confronted with questions about UFOs and little green people. However, as these recent episodes have shown, a UFO is far more likely to be human-made, rather than originating from some faraway place in the universe.

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