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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Aliens have fascinated humans since the discovery of space. E.T., ALF, Spock and Marvin the Martian are just a few of the extraterrestrial characters from humanity’s imagination. The human perception of aliens goes to show how dedicated we are to the unknown little (or very big) guys way out in space. At least this seemed to be the case until recently.

On May 26, The New York Times published an article reporting Navy pilots witnessed objects with “no visible engine or infrared exhaust plumes but could reach 30,000 feet and hypersonic speeds.”

Almost every day from the summer of 2014 to March 2015, these bizarre objects flew over the East Coast. Although the U.S. Department of Defense did not call this extraterrestrial activity, the lack of public interest from this report was surprising.

What happened to people’s fascination with the unknown?

Not even a meme or blurb in the Twitter-sphere about aliens came about. At least a bit on aliens getting “slept on” would have sufficed. Seriously? Not a single meme from this article? Shame on you Internet. What a wasted opportunity.

Given that the NYT article came out over Memorial Day weekend, people could have been too busy drinking and boating to care too much about the possibility of unidentified flying objects. We didn’t expect much outspoken response from the average person who pays an average amount of attention to the news. But we expected more from the people that are so quick to judge journalism and share news articles with the caption “fake news!!!” Isn’t this the kind of thing people love to make conspiracy theories about? 

The size of the universe is hard to wrap our brains around. We can’t be the only ones. If we aren’t alone, how has nobody mustered up the courage to send an intergalactic “you up?” text?

This is what scientific folk refer to as the Fermi Paradox, the phenomena that despite there being billions of stars in our galaxy, there has never been an indication of alien civilization. Even if we narrow our universal search just to the Milky Way, there would be around 1 million planets with potential life.

But there are a few ideas as to why aliens haven’t “hit us up.” The “zoo hypothesis” claims aliens don’t talk to us because they have set us aside in a sort of wilderness area like a captive zoo animal. Another explanation is advanced alien civilizations have been in hibernation waiting for a future universe cold enough to cool their supercomputers.

 If this Navy pilot encounter with unidentified objects was aliens, how rude of us not to make a bigger ordeal over their visit. Maybe the Fermi Paradox has nothing to do with aliens not coming to visit us. Maybe we humans just refuse to give the extraterrestrials the attention they deserve. Come on, they flew all the way here, probably scared the crap out of some Navy pilot, got The New York Times to write about said surprising visit, and we still didn’t care.

Why visit a planet whose inhabitants don’t even bat an eye when you visit? Earth’s hospitality rating could be cosmically low and aliens have better vacation destinations to spend their hard earned fuel traveling to. Compared to alien standards, Earth may not even be considered beautiful or exotic (of course, most humans would disagree with this but mostly because they’ve never seen another planet). Earth could be the Mount Trash-more of the universe with only crazies wanting to visit this dump.

Next time there's a whiff of aliens in the air, let's use it as a practice drill for if the real deal happens. Bring out all the stops or at least get them trending on Twitter.

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The Alligator Editorial Board includes the Opinions Editor Jackie De Freitas, Editor-in-Chief Mark Stine and managing editors Hannah Beatty and Lindsey Breneman.

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