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What scientific investigation says about the existence of aliens — the truth isn’t so vividly out there

What scientific investigation says about the existence of aliens — the truth isn’t so vividly out there
A bus arrives for a 'Storm Area 51' spinoff event on September 20, 2019 in Rachel, Nevada. The event is a spinoff from the original 'Storm Area 51' Facebook event which jokingly encouraged participants to rush the famously secretive Area 51 military base in order to 'see them aliens'. Two tiny desert towns not far from from the once-secret Area 51 are hosting related events this weekend. The military has warned attendees not to approach the protected Area 51 military installation. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

September 2023 brought a flurry of outer space and alien conversation, but from meteor strikes to Mexican aliens, science has been on the side of the sceptics. 

On 13 September 2023, Dave Kennedy, a space enthusiast in Ireland, told Virgin Media News he had discovered an impact site of a meteorite on a Dublin beach. 

“I knew immediately that it was an impact site,” he told a reporter. 

Of the ‘meteor’, he said: “you’re definitely going to have to get it checked out”. 

The truth was far less remarkable than Kennedy hoped: the hole was in fact made by local lads with plastic spades. Such is the nature of humanity’s fascination with the outer space. 

'Tercer Milenio', aliens

Collection piece at ‘Tercer Milenio’ Tv News at Bio Maussan on June 15, 2023 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo: Jaime Nogales/Medios y Media/Getty Images)

Aliens visit congress in Mexico

Just a day before, another story was making headlines, this time in Mexico, where UFO enthusiast Jaime Maussan presented what he claimed were alien corpses to congress. 

The two bodies were displayed in cases, small and grey, with elongated heads and three fingers on each hand. According to Maussan’s cited carbon dating process, they were about 1,000 years old. 

“I think there is a clear demonstration that we are dealing with non-human specimens that are not related to any other species in our world… we are not alone,” Maussan said.

X-rays, 3-D reconstruction and DNA analysis were also allegedly carried out on the remains, with Jose de Jesus Zalce Benitez, Director of the Scientific Institute for Health of the Mexican Navy, who explained that the corpses’ big eyes “allowed for a wide stereoscopic vision” and their lack of teeth meant they likely drank for nutrition, and didn’t chew food.

“I can affirm that these bodies have no relation to human beings”, he said.

Of course, not everyone was convinced. And it would not be the first time

Aja Romano for Vox writes that Maussan has been involved in various alien revelations over the years, all of which have been disproven. These include presenting “Metepec Creature,” which turned out to be a skinned monkey and discovering a “demon fairy” — which was really “some conglomeration of a bat, wooden sticks, unseen epoxy and other items”. Even more notable was his 2015 belief in an alien child that was really the mummified body of a Puebloan toddler. The body was removed from the cliffs of Mesa Verde in 1894 and then was returned to the area in a museum from 1938. Perhaps the only bright side to this hoax was that, in 2015, the boy was repatriated to a local tribe. 

Desecration outcry

The mummies Maussan presented this year to congress first started to gain attention in 2017 as the “Nazca Mummies”, named for the region of Nazca in Peru where they were found. Alongside, Maussan was resolute that the bodies were non-human, but sceptics have cried foul, not only for the hoax but on behalf of the bodies that are excavated from their final resting places, poked and prodded and then paraded around. 

“The Nazca were an indigenous ancient Peruvian people known for creating beautiful geoglyph designs known as the Nazca Lines. They interred their dead in elaborately wrapped cloths, often posed in seating positions,” Ramono illustrated.

Cantalloc aqueducts in Nazca, Peru

A handout picture provided by Grupo AJE shows an aerial view taken with a drone on the Cantalloc aqueducts in Nazca, Peru, 23 June 2022. (Photo: EPA-EFE/Paolo Aguilar)

Guido Lombardi and Conrado Rodríguez Martín, in the abstract for their entry in The Handbook of Mummy Studies, write: 

“The academic world has not been spared by the manipulation of human remains, in order to escalate positions in an ill manner, or as an easy way to obtain quick fame, popularity, and even income… Recent online and television appearance of purportedly extraterrestrial remains excavated in unknown circumstances in the Southern Peruvian coast has revealed itself as the end product of a long process which joins grave looting, yellow press, and some disoriented professionals.”

“Forgeries are obscure in their own nature. Scammers purposefully hide the true origin of their products. This has been the case of these false alien mummies supposedly found near Nazca by grave looters. The location remains in secrecy, the discoverer only accessible to the production ring; and any attempt to oppose their plot faces attacks and more deception built up on, namely, conspiracy theories.”

Further, as Christopher Heaney wrote for The Atlantic back in 2017, the use of “Pre-Columbian bodies… as evidence for extraterrestrial life” is not only misinformed but has problematic racist undertones that perpetuate Western views on the development of the human body. In his article, The Racism Behind Alien Mummy Hoaxes, he aptly explains that “Peruvian archaeologists are tired of debunking claims of extraterrestrial influence on human history”. 

Ultimately, Maussan’s revelation to congress in Mexico holds little truth, and has been widely ridiculed as nothing more than a stunt, one which was “a huge step backwards” for legitimate research into the study of extraterrestrial life.

But… what if? Nasa weighs in 

With both the ‘meteorite strike’ and ‘Mexican aliens’ disproven, attention now turns to Nasa’s report on Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP), released that same week on 14 September. 

Straight away, alien enthusiasts would be disappointed, with researchers finding no evidence that any recorded UAP by Nasa are extraterrestrial in nature. However, that is not to say there is no room for curiosity:

“The top takeaway from the study is that there is a lot more to learn… we don’t know what these UAP are,” Nasa Administrator Bill Nelson said.

The report is the result of an independent panel of experts commissioned by Nasa in 2022, tasked with investigating how UAPs can better be recorded, investigated and understood. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: First contact with aliens – lessons learnt from history on Earth tell cautionary tales

Therefore, the report does not write off extraterrestrial life altogether but rather posits that there has been no solid proof that there is, and until the technology exists to suggest otherwise, the organisation errs on the side of simply not knowing. Yet. 

The final page of the report states:

“At this point, there is no reason to conclude that existing UAP reports have an extraterrestrial source. However, if we acknowledge that as one possibility, then those objects must have travelled through our solar system to get here. Just as the galaxy does not stop at the outskirts of the solar system, the solar system also includes Earth and its environs. Thus, there is an intellectual continuum between extrasolar techno signatures, solar system SETI, and potential unknown alien technology operating in Earth’s atmosphere. If we recognise the plausibility of any of these, then we should recognise that all are at least plausible.” DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • David Bristow says:

    It’s a binary philosophical question: either there are aliens, or there are not. The probability of either scenario is the same “almost” infinite. Personally I don’t waste mental energy on such long odds.

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