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Robert Powell — UFOs: What We Know (And Don’t Know)

UFOs: A Scientist Explains What We Know (And Don’t Know) (book cover)

Robert Powell, a founding Board member of the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies, has studied the UFO subject for 17 years. His work is encapsulated in UFOs: A Scientist Explains What We Know (And Don’t Know) which provides a scientific rationale for the reality of non-terrestrial craft that are intelligently controlled.

Powell begins his book by familiarizing the reader with the history of UFOs and he identifies the more enigmatic and interesting UFO sightings. He examines the characteristics of these sightings that argue against a prosaic explanation: extreme acceleration, electromagnetic interference, bending light, no obvious propulsion mechanisms, and a lack of interaction with the atmosphere. Powell discusses the recent events that have caused our government to change the term from UFO to UAP. Included is information never before released indicating the government possesses not just two videos but five videos from 2015 of UFOs operating in the vicinity of the USS Roosevelt nuclear aircraft carrier.

Powell also discuss the extraterrestrial hypothesis considering the thousands of exoplanets that have been discovered in the last twenty years. Powell challenges the reader to consider all the implications that must be considered if intelligent life discovers us first. He looks at how we as individuals and as a society react to UFOs. He documents actions taken by our military that include instances when we have fired on UFOs.

Powell argues that it is time for a change in the study of UFOs. The phenomenon has been with us for 75 years and we have learned very little as the decades have passed. The author makes the case for what needs to be done going forward. The solution he proposes will require a paradigm shift in our thinking and his book provides the information needed to understand that paradigm shift.


Robert Powell is a founding Board member of the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies (SCU). He was the Director of Research at MUFON from 2007–2017 and created MUFON’s Science Review Board in 2012. Robert is one of two authors of the detailed radar/witness report on the “Stephenville Lights” as well as the SCU report “UAP: 2013 Aguadilla, Puerto Rico”. He is also the primary author on the recently published paper, “A Forensic Analysis of Navy Carrier Strike Group Eleven’s Encounter with an Anomalous Aerial Vehicle” and a secondary author of a paper published in the journal Entropy entitled, “Estimating Flight Characteristics of Anomalous Unidentified Aerial Vehicles.” Robert is a member of the Society for Scientific Exploration, the UFODATA project, and the National Space Society.

Shermer and Powell discuss:

  • Separating two questions: Are they out there? Have they come here?
  • SETI science vs. UFO/UAP science
  • The odds of alien life somewhere in the cosmos
  • Will aliens look anything like us? Convergent vs. contingent evolution
  • What alien intelligence might be like: biological, digital, or otherwise?
  • Bayesian reasoning about UFOs and UAPs
  • The quality of evidence in evaluating UFO claims
  • The U.S. military UAP videos and what they represent
  • The Disclosure Project from the U.S. government about UFOs and UAPs
  • An answer to Fermi’s Paradox: where is everyone?
  • Projects Sign, Blue Book, Cyclops, Grudge
  • AATIP (Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program)
  • Oumuamua and Avi Loeb’s claim that it was a technosignature
  • Technosignatures here and there
  • Biosignatures here and there
  • Directionality and teleology in evolution of life
  • Interstellar travel
  • Dyson spheres, rings, and swarms
  • Why aliens matter.

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This episode was released on June 15, 2024.

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