The Navy Says UFOs Are Real. Are They Little Green People? Unlikely. : 1A Polls suggest half of all Americans believe in Unidentified Flying Objects. And for the first time, the Defense Department has released videos showing "unidentified aerial phenomena."

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The Navy Says UFOs Are Real. Are They Little Green People? Unlikely.

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The Navy Says UFOs Are Real. Are They Little Green People? Unlikely.

1A

The Navy Says UFOs Are Real. Are They Little Green People? Unlikely.

The Navy Says UFOs Are Real. Are They Little Green People? Unlikely.

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/861195002/861397021" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

An Unidentified Flying Object is pictured over Bulawayo, in what is now Zimbabwe. Barney Wayne/Wayne/Keystone/Getty Images hide caption

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Barney Wayne/Wayne/Keystone/Getty Images

An Unidentified Flying Object is pictured over Bulawayo, in what is now Zimbabwe.

Barney Wayne/Wayne/Keystone/Getty Images

In late April, the Department of Defense released footage of Navy fighter pilots encountering something "unidentifiable." The black and white videos are grainy and show small objects flying across the in-flight cameras of Navy fighter pilots.

This footage had already been circulating on the internet. By releasing it, the Department of Defense confirmed the videos' authenticity—and that it didn't know what they showed.

Last year, The National UFO Reporting Center says it received nearly 6,000 "sightings" in the North American skies. What does our enduring obsession with UFOs tell us about ourselves? And what do scientists have to say about the possibility of intelligent life beyond Earth?

We talk about what might be "out there" with Sarah Scoles, science writer and author of "They Are Already Here: UFO Culture and Why We See Saucers"; and Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute.

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