There has always been a looming question in regard to life outside of planet Earth, and now there may be some answers. On Tuesday (May 17), Congress held its first public Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) meeting in decades, per reports from The New York Times.

Members reconvened to discuss the future of extraterrestrial life through the sightings of UFOs, which are now referred to as Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs). They reiterated that this topic is not to be taken lightly.

“This hearing and oversight work has a simple idea at its core: Unidentified aerial phenomena are a potential national security threat, and they need to be treated that way,” said Congressman André Carson who serves as the chair of the House Intelligence, Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee.

He further explained that government officials, including the Department of Defense, previously “quietly restarted” a program similar to Project Blue Book which discovered that a total of 12,618 sightings of UFOs were reported from 1947 to 1969. According to Carson, it is time to break the stigma associated with these instances.

“For too long, the stigma associated with UAPs has gotten in the way of good intelligence analysis,” he continued. “Pilots avoided reporting or were laughed at when they did.”

The last report regarding the phenomena was released by The Office of the Director of National Intelligence in 2021 and contained information compiled by the military that cataloged unexplained aerial phenomena that dates back to 2004. It was criticized by the intelligence community after it “failed to draw conclusions or offer explanation for most events.”

“You need to show us, Congress and the American public, whose imagination you have captured, you are willing to follow the facts where they lead,” said Carson. “We fear sometimes that D.O.D. is focused more on emphasizing what it can explain, not investigating what it can’t,” he said. “I am looking for you to assure us today that all conclusions are on the table.”