February 9, 2017 9:00 pm

Friday, Neil Tyson and Eugene Mirman Search for the Science Behind UFOs

In this week’s extended classic episode, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Eugene Mirman turn a speculative, scientific eye towards the cosmos to discuss all aspects of Unidentified Flying Objects.

This UFO Remix episode includes content from our second season episode, The Out-of-this-World UFO Show, which ran long before I joined the StarTalk Team, so it was all new to me.

And I love that, this being StarTalk, we’re not talking about little green men popping out of flying saucers. We are talking about the reality behind fanciful claims and pseudoscientific fantasies. So, for instance, you’ll hear all about lenticular clouds, the natural occurrences that are most often mistaken as possible UFO sightings, and how the human brain tries to fill in the data gaps whenever it’s trying to process something that’s unfamiliar.

Photo by Brandy Jenkins of a lenticular cloud over New Mexico.

Lenticular cloud, New Mexico, USA. Image credit: Brandy Jenkins.

You’ll also hear about “Project Bluebook” – the U.S. government’s collection of over 12,000 reports of UFO sightings across the country – and the real reason it was created.

Eugene has advice for aliens on how they could hide their ships in plain sight. Neil shares some criticism about Close Encounters of a Third Kind, and Eugene explains why watching a sci-fi movie with Neil might not be the best experience.

SETI Senior Astronomer Seth Shostak calls in to offer up some science behind the numerous reports he gets every day from people who are certain that they have seen UFOs and been visited by aliens.

Neil also interviews James McGaha, Director of The Grasslands Observatory, about Area 51 and why humans are attracted to conspiracy theories. I also love how they talked about how we can all become “trained observers” to help us see what’s real and thereby diminish the number of UFO sightings.

Neil speculates on what we might learn from UFOs if we ever found one. Would they utilize new materials made from undiscovered elements? How might they prevent their antimatter from destroying their matter, if it turns out that they use antimatter drives to travel?

This Extended Classic also features Neil and Eugene answering fan-submitted Cosmic Queries about UFOs like, “What can we learn from an alien ship heading towards Earth?,” “Is it illegal to shoot down a UFO?,” and, “Is it possible that UFOs are really time traveling tourists from a future Earth?”

Plus, Eugene asks my favorite question of all… Is Neil just a part of the cover up?

If you want to join the search for the science behind UFOs, then please join us tomorrow night for Extended Classic: UFO Remix at 7pm EST right here on our website, as well as on iTunes Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Ian Mullen