Welcome to This Week in Outer Space, where you’ll find a roundup of the best space coverage from Yahoo News and our partners from the past week or so. This week, we’ve got black holes, a meteor over France, and new clues in a space laser mystery. But before we get into that, it’s time to address the elephant in the room: UFOs.
- This Week in Outer Space, we've got black holes, a meteor over France, and space lasers. And if that sounds like a good time to you, you can read all about it on yahoo.com. But for this week's video, we need to address the elephant in the room.
NEIL CAVUTO: All right. We still can't identify those objects that have been shot down.
- People say, because they're shooting things out of the sky, could they possibly be alien life?
STEPHEN COLBERT: It could be aliens. It could be balloons. Or it could be alien balloons.
- It started with a giant orb spotted hovering over Billings, Montana.
- This thing is so weird.
- That turned out to be a giant balloon of Chinese origin and was shot down off the coast of Carolina a few days later.
- They shot it!
- Now, the timing of that right before the State of the Union, mixed with the, frankly, hilarious concept of a menacing balloon, and the very, very real potential national security implications turn this into a huge international fracas and a bit of a joke.
- Just an innocent white balloon, everybody.
- But then they found another one, and another one, and another one. But unlike the first balloon, these flying objects were unidentified, ergo Unidentified Flying Objects, or UFOs, a term that, through decades of pop culture, has become more or less interchangeable with, might be an alien. And unlike the UFOs themselves, as of last Sunday, US Air Force General Glen VanHerck wasn't ready to shoot down the idea that they might be extraterrestrial.
GLEN VANHERCK: I'll let the intel community and the counterintelligence community figure that out. I haven't ruled out anything at this point.
- And sure, while saying you can't rule out something could be an alien is not exactly the same thing as saying you think something might be an alien. The White House was pretty quick to backpedal on that.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: I know there have been questions and concerns about this. But there is no, again, no indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent takedowns.
- But the questions kept coming.
- When asked explicitly if they were ruling out any kind of extraterrestrial presence, they weren't ruling anything out. And yet, at the beginning of today's briefing, albeit with her usual winning smile, Ms. Jean-Pierre seemed to rule out any extraterrestrial activity.
- I don't think the American people need to worry about aliens with respect to these craft. Period.
- And by the time Thursday came around, it was Biden's turn to say something.
JOE BIDEN: The intelligence community's current assessment is that these three objects were most likely balloons tied to private companies, recreation, or research institutions studying weather or conducting other scientific research.
- So, no, despite some unclear messaging early on, it's pretty safe to say that these things were not aliens, no matter how great that would be for someone who writes a show called, say, This Week in Outer Space.