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Do Aliens Exist?

People have been seeing strange objects in the sky for decades. Could they be alien spacecraft?

As You Read: Compare and contrast the three UFO sightings described in the article. How are the sightings alike? How are they different?

Pilot Kenneth Arnold could not believe his eyes. As he peered out his small airplane’s window, nine glowing objects flashed past. It was 1947, and Arnold was flying over the mountains of Washington State. Most of the objects he saw were shaped like circles. Soon, news reporters had a name for them: flying saucers.

Years later, in 1975, Travis Walton and six other men saw a circular object in an Arizona forest. Walton went in for a closer look—and disappeared. He returned five days later, saying that aliens had taken him on a spaceship.

And in 2004, crews of two U.S. Navy planes watched a white oval aircraft flying over the Pacific Ocean. The craft moved toward them, then raced off.

Do these tales give you goose bumps? They’re just a few of the many times people have reported seeing UFOs, or unidentified flying objects­. Such stories have led to questions about whether we are alone in the universe.

Pilot Kenneth Arnold could not believe his eyes. As he looked out his small airplane’s window, he saw nine glowing objects. It was 1947, and Arnold was flying over Washington State. Most of the objects he saw were shaped like circles. Soon, people had a name for them: flying saucers.

In 1975, Travis Walton and six other men saw a circular object in an Arizona forest. Walton went in for a closer look. He disappeared. He returned five days later, saying that aliens had taken him.

And in 2004, crews of two U.S. Navy planes watched a white oval aircraft flying over the Pacific Ocean. The craft moved toward them. Then it raced off.

Do these tales give you goose bumps? They’re just a few of the many times people have reported seeing UFOs, or unidentified flying objects. Such stories have led to questions about whether we are alone in the universe.

Strange Sights

You’ve probably seen stories about alien spaceships in books and movies. But every year, thousands of people report seeing UFOs in real life.

Scientists say that many UFO sightings have simple explanations. Some may be illusions caused by sunlight or clouds. Others may be drones or aircraft that people don’t see very often, like military planes.

But some people argue that not all UFOs can be explained away. Luis Elizondo is one of them. He once worked for the U.S. government and says he has investigated many UFO sightings. He says that witnesses often describe UFOs with strange shapes. The vehicles often move at superfast speeds. And many UFOs do not seem to have wings or engines.

“When you see something in the sky that’s not an airplane, balloon, or bird, you wonder, OK, so what is it?” Elizondo says.

You’ve probably seen alien spaceships in books and movies. But every year, thousands of people report seeing UFOs in real life.

Scientists say that many UFO sightings have simple explanations. Some may be illusions caused by sunlight or clouds. Others may be drones or military planes.

But some people argue that not all UFOs can be explained. Luis Elizondo is one of them. He once worked for the U.S. government. He says that he has studied many UFO sightings. He says that witnesses often describe UFOs with strange shapes. The vehicles often move very fast. And many UFOs do not seem to have wings or engines.

More to Explore

Have alien spacecraft visited Earth? Does life even exist beyond our planet? It may be a long time before we have answers to these mysteries. Humans have explored only a small part of our solar system. And we know very little about what lies even deeper in space. Each year, scientists discover new planets, billions of miles away. No one knows what—or who—we might find on them!

Have alien spacecraft visited Earth? Does life even exist beyond our planet? It may be a long time before we have answers. Humans have explored only a small part of our solar system. And we know very little about what lies even deeper in space. Scientists find new, faraway planets every year. No one knows what—or who—we might find on them!

1. What are the first three paragraphs about? Why did the author include them?

2. What are UFOs? How do scientists explain some UFO sightings?

3. What does Luis Elizondo think about UFOs?

1. What are the first three paragraphs about? Why did the author include them?

2. What are UFOs? How do scientists explain some UFO sightings?

3. What does Luis Elizondo think about UFOs?

Close-Reading Questions

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