Are Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) a thing of the past? A gradual decline in the number of sighting of UFOs and no evidence of aliens found from the sightings that have been reported has led UK scientists to conclude aliens may not exist.
The UK-based Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (Assap) is to hold a summit on 17 November, where experts will debate on the authenticity of UFOs, sightings and amateur reports alien or extraterrestrial activity.
"Since the late 1980s ufology has seemingly been in global decline. In many parts of the world UFO sightings have exhibited a general downward trend. The occurrence of significant UFO events (once occurring with notable frequency) has dropped notably over the past two decades," an official release by Assap reads.
The seminar - Seriously Unidentified - A Summit on the Future of UFOlogy - will look into select reports of UFO activity and landings which triggered the most controversy. These will include claims a UFO landed in Rendlesham Forest (in Suffolk) in 1980 and the infamous Roswell incident in July, 1947.
"While UFO study has always been concerned with governmental secrecy, the subject has become significantly influenced by conspiracy theories whose implications take ufology into extreme and alarming directions. Some believe the 'UFO debate' is effectively over - UFOs are extra-terrestrial, with 'disclosure' of their presence merely awaiting official verification," Assap's statement continues.
End of UFOlogy?
The basic question at the summit is whether the decline in interest in UFO legends spells the end of global interest in the subject. Statistics, such as those from the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) in Davenport, Washington, suggests numbers of global incidences have dropped in recent years.
"We suspect that there are many reports in our recent posting that have nothing to do with sightings of authentic UFOs, but rather, describe terrestrial events," NUFORC said on its official site, adding the organisation had received between 900 and 1,000 reports per month since June this year but could not rule any one as being a genuinely unexplainable phenomenon.
Aliens by 2031?
Meanwhile, the UK experts' summit aside, there are others who still believe aliens exist. A claim made by Russian astronomers, last year, highlights 2031 as the breakthrough year in mankind's search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
"The genesis of life is as inevitable as the formation of atoms. Life exists on other planets and we will find it within 20 years," Andrei Finkelstein, the director of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Applied Astronomy Institute, has been quoted as saying.