Humanity is on the cusp of profound discoveries about our cosmic neighborhood.
Over the past 5 years astronomers became aware of the first three interstellar visitors to the solar system: the interstellar meteor CNEOS 2014–01–08, the object `Oumuamua, and the comet, Borisov. The first two objects are outliers in their properties relative to familiar asteroids and comets from the solar system. The meteor had a material strength tougher than all 273 bolides in the CNEOS catalog and twice the strength of the second-ranked bolide. Just outside the solar system, it was moving faster than 95% of all nearby stars relative to the Sun. `Oumuamua was pushed away from the Sun by an excess force that declined inversely with distance squared, but showed no evidence for cometary gases indicative of the rocket effect. Its reflection of sunlight implied an extreme, most likely flat, shape. It also showed no jitter or variations in its period of rotation, as expected for cometary jets, and its trajectory originated in the Local Standard of Rest closer to this frame than 99.8% of all local stars. These peculiarities raise the possibility of an artificial origin for perhaps some space objects in the vicinity of Earth.
In parallel to these discoveries by astronomers, the US Congress repeatedly discussed over the past year reports by intelligence and military agencies regarding Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena (UAP) in the Earth’s atmosphere.