In this authoritative two-hour program, Peter Jennings asks the question, ‘what is the evidence for the existence of UFOs and alien life?’ It is a program that seriously examines what can be said about the unexplained phenomena around the world that so many people believe is proof of UFOs and alien encounters. Cases that raise the most vexing questions are carefully examined, drawing on almost 150 interviews with top scientists, investigators, those who claim to have witnessed UFOs, and those who claim to have encountered alien life forms. The program literally reaches for the stars to explore what serious scientists now believe about the existence of life in our universe. It is a program that investigates, speculates and ultimately celebrates the possibility that we are not alone.
It was just after four in the morning on January 5th, 2000, when police detective Mark Lopinot saw the lights. A giant, triangular craft of unknown origin was moving very slowly a hundred feet overhead. Four police officers in nearby towns in southeast Illinois reported seeing the same thing that night.
Similar triangular craft have been seen by multiple witnesses in Belgium in 1989, Arizona in 1997, central New Jersey in 2001. But the US Government never investigated any of these incidents, or any of the thousands of sightings of unidentified flying objects that are reported each year. In fact there has been a policy of willful neglect since 1969 when the US Air Force ended a two – decade investigation of unidentified flying objects, asserting that the investigation of UFOs could not be justified either on the grounds of national security or in the interest of science. This official abdication has left a vacuum that has been filled for over three decades by amateurs, pseudo-scientists, conspiracy theorists and full blown kooks. But along the way, evidence that things have happened that cannot be explained away is becoming overwhelming, especially from highly trained military and commercial pilots.
Meanwhile, 48 percent of the population of the United States, and millions more around the world, believe that UFO’s exist and have visited Earth. For many it is a belief that borders on religious conviction. The faithful point to places and events where they say the truth was revealed, from Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947 to Mexico City earlier this year. Thousands of people in America, Europe, South America and Japan even report contact with alien beings or having been abducted by aliens.
Stripped of emotion and fanaticism, what can really be said about the question of UFOs? Many of the world’s most important astronomers and astrophysicists believe we are not alone. Modern, space-based astronomy has revealed that our own galaxy, the Milky Way, consists of 200 billion stars. The sheer size of the known universe makes it all but certain, they say, that planets like ours exist somewhere in the universe and that intelligent life likely has developed on some of them. But the size argument cuts both ways. The nearest star to Earth’s Sun, Alpha Centauri, is 24 trillion miles away. From a planet circling Alpha Centauri, an extraterrestrial traveling to visit Earth would have to travel at one million miles an hour and the trip would take more than 2,500 years.
In just the last few months the American space agency, NASA, has discovered evidence that water, the key requirement for life, existed on Earth’s closest neighbor Mars. The search for life in the universe by exploring beyond the bounds of Earth is just beginning. But it is remarkable that no serious effort is made by any official arm of any government anywhere in the world to investigate unexplained phenomena on Earth.
UFOs: Seeing is Believing first aired February 24, 2005 on ABC.
SENIOR EDITOR Peter Jennings
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER Mark Obenhaus
DIRECTED BY Mark Obenhaus
SENIOR PRODUCER Richard Brick
PRODUCERS Jordan Kronick Gabrielle Tenenbaum
EDITORS Peter R. Livingston, Jr. Philip Shane
COMPUTER ANIMATIONS John Bair Edgeworx
ASSOCIATE PRODUCERS Jessica Dymczyk Susan Schaefer Justin Weinstein
SENIOR ARCHIVAL RESEARCHER Libby Kreutz
CAMERA Erich Roland
SOUND Len Schmitz
MUSIC Ben Decter
PHOTO ANIMATION Stevie Clifton
ASSISTANT EDITORS Marc Tidalgo Jenah Pelley
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Andeep Singh
PRODUCTION ACCOUNTANT Carla Schorr Rose
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER Tom Yellin