Neil deGrasse Tyson: A UFO Does Not Necessarily Have An Alien Pilot

Norman Byrd

Famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, speaking on the subject of the recent revelations of a Pentagon-operated UFO investigation program that ran from 2007 through 2012, says that people tend to confuse the mystery presented by UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects) with the existence of aliens. He says that the former does not necessitate the latter. And he admits he is comfortable with the government spending part of the massive Defense Department budget on attempting to ascertain the possible threat level of such unidentified objects, even if the final verdict is that the objects remain unidentified.

Appearing on CNN's New Day this week, Neil deGrasse Tyson was asked to comment on a UFO video released by the Pentagon that showed the subject of a government-sponsored UFO investigation -- the image of an unidentified flying object captured on film. Tyson, called the "science explainer-in-chief" by New Day co-anchor Bill Weir, went straight to the heart of the problem with the image in the UFO video and the perception of the object itself.

"Well, so people, I think, have conflated the concept of a UFO with whether we're visited by aliens."

"UFO means unidentified flying object," he continued. "Okay. This is a highly nonspecific term. It is so nonspecific, it admits you don't know what you're looking at."

Alysin Camerota, Wier's co-anchoring partner, pressed the astrophysicist, "But what's driving that thing if it's not a space alien?"

"It's unidentified," Tyson replied.

Camerota insisted that his explanation was "not good enough."

Tyson offered, "Well -- so the universe brims with mysteries. And so just because you don't know what it is you're looking at doesn't mean it's intelligent aliens visiting from another planet. You just said you don't know what you're looking at," he went on. "So it's not -- you cannot as a next sentence say, therefore it must be anything."

Camerota then stated that Tyson himself knows "what we're looking at. You stare at the cosmos for a living."

Tyson joked that he was "not authorized" to speak further on the subject. Getting serious, he noted that people were only interested in the UFO angle because it involved the Pentagon and supposed secret government investigatory agency. But the investigation resulted in finding that the object in question remained classified as unidentified.

Tyson added, "I would hope somebody is checking it out. I would hope there's a program of our Defense Department to make sure they do not pose a threat. And, sure enough, that's what that program was."

Camerota wasn't finished with her pursuit of just what the UFO actually was, saying that "we still don't know" what the object might be.

When Tyson told her he was "cool with that" (not identifying the object), Camerota admitted that she disagreed. She said, "You are cool with letting that -- just letting that live out there."

Neil deGrasse Tyson noted that people were "uncomfortable with not knowing," but for scientists, that only opened the matter up for further investigation.

Camerota then asked, "So you're skeptical? You're skeptical that space aliens have visited earth?"

"The evidence is so paltry for aliens to visit earth," Tyson replied. "I have no further interest. Let other people who care, go ahead."

He then suggested that people with video cameras and cell phones collect evidence and submit it. He added that he believed that proof of aliens should exist that is better quality than fuzzy video or photographic images.

This is familiar territory for Tyson. He famously defended his skepticism of UFOs and alien abductions at a conference a few years ago, the video of which has become a YouTube staple. He suggested then that stories of aliens and alien abductions would be far more credible if those taken aboard alien starships would procure some artifact -- say, an alien ashtray -- to prove that they had indeed been aboard such a craft.

Back in July, in an appearance on C-SPAN's In Depth (per the Inquisitr), Tyson voiced his skepticism that aliens had visited Earth. He then stated he needed "better data," better tangible evidence, than what has been offered as "proof" of alien existence or contact.