UFO experts have locked horns over whether the impact of modern technology has killed off any means of proving the existence of extra-terrestrial life.
Dr David Clarke, a UFO expert from the National Archives, claims advanced machinery and equipment have more or less proven that aliens are little more than a myth.
Citing “lots of chatter but no meat”, he points out that radars, cameras and mobile phones have all been key to debunking the majority of sightings of modern times.
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Writing in The Sun, he said: “Phone cameras are so advanced. There is footage of the July bombings in 2007 and major revolutions taking place around the world happening in real time. But where is the footage of aliens?”
He adds: “With the vast majority of sightings, there’s an explanation. And now the internet knocks myths on the head straight away.
“Rather than taking months and years to get to the bottom of a strange sighting, you can do it in a matter of days – and the mystery gets killed off.”
While Dr Clarke admits a “leap of faith” is needed when it comes to believing in UFOs, he points out “there’s no doubt people see UFOs, but UFOs do not mean aliens.”
A spokesman for the British Unidentified Flying Object Research Association (BUFORA) concedes Dr Clarke's comments on most sightings being "identifiable".
John Wickham told The Huffington Post UK: “For example, if I was near to an airport at night I would see a vast amount of lights in the sky ascending and descending."
Yet he points out: "These would be the aeroplanes taking off or coming in to land, but because it would be dark I would not necessarily be able to see the body of these craft and the navigation lights would also obscure my view of it so these flying objects would actually be unidentified, hence they would be UFOs."
Wickham queries Dr Clarke's demands for evidence, adding: “Almost all of the religions in the world believe in a God but this not definitive proof that a God existed, just because some people have a different faith or belief should not be a reason for ridicule.
“I like the old saying of Carl Sagan that scientist turned author: ‘Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence'.”
BUFORA recently celebrated its 50th year and is in possession of thousands of files that pre-date Ministry of Defence records (indeed its oldest files go back to the Victorian era.)
It is non-cultist and runs accredited training courses with teams of researchers and investigators led by witness testimony.
Wickham adds: "There are over 300 billions Stars in our Galaxy and there are an estimated 100 billion Galaxies in total.
"We know that a Star is a Sun and as in our solar system we know that a vast amount of these other Suns have planets orbiting them too.
"We also know that some of these planets contain the same gases and elements that are abundant on Earth, therefore it is not impossible for life to exist on such planets.
"Life doesn't have to be carbon electrical entities like what we Humans are, it could be bacteria or vegetation. Even on Earth we have bacteria that can survive in sub-zero temperatures and even survive in nuclear warheads. Life does not have to be as we know it or understand it."
The 25 files, comprising more than 6,700 pages, include UFO policy, parliamentary questions, media issues, public correspondence and, of course, UFO sighting reports. Overall, more than 10,000 UFO reports came through the special MoD unit from 1950 to 2009.
While the plug was pulled on the post in 2009, with the MoD citing no evidence of any credible threat, The Telegraph quotes a 2008 document from a desk officer who stated: “We cannot rule out the existence of intelligent life on other planets.”
In August, the head of UK Air Traffic Control admitted the skies above Britain are visited by at least one UFO a month.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Richard Deakin confirmed unidentified flying objects were being seen by his staff. Nick Pope, a former UFO investigator for the Ministry of Defence confirmed the figure, but added: “Our mindset is it’s probably more likely to be Russian than Martian.”