The United States government has no evidence of alien life. That's the word from the Obama administration in response to two online petitions that asked for full disclosure on government knowledge of UFOs and extraterrestrials.
"The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race," writes Phil Larson of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy.
Larson also denied the possibility that such evidence exists but is being covered up: "There is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public's eye."
The White House statement comes in response to two petitions filed through the We the People section of the Whitehouse.gov website, which allows citizens to file requests for White House review and official response. The first petition requested the government disclose knowledge of communication with aliens and was signed by 5,387 people. The second petition, which was signed by 12,078 people, asked the White House to acknowledge if humans had been contacted or been otherwise engaged by extraterrestrials.
"Hundreds of military and government agency witnesses have come forward with testimony confirming this extraterrestrial presence," reads this second petition. "Opinion polls now indicate more than 50 percent of the American people believe there is an extraterrestrial presence and more than 80 percent believe the government is not telling the truth about this phenomenon. The people have a right to know. The people can handle the truth."
In response, Larson wrote, "The fact is we have no credible evidence of extraterrestrial presence here on Earth."
But the lack of evidence does not mean the government is not looking. Larson cites the ongoing Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) telescopes, the Kepler spacecraft and the Mars Science Laboratory as three programs still searching for evidence of alien intelligence or planets capable of sustaining life.
Still, Larson says the likelihood of the existence of extraterrestrial life is high, but the chance of contact is slim: "Many scientists and mathematicians have looked with a statistical mindset at the question of whether life likely exists beyond Earth and have come to the conclusion that the odds are pretty high that somewhere among the trillions and trillions of stars in the universe, there is a planet other than ours that is home to life. Many have also noted, however, that the odds of us making contact with any of them — especially any intelligent ones — are extremely small, given the distances involved."
The Paradigm Research Group, one of the organizations behind the two petitions, was not happy with the response: "As expected it was written by a low-level staffer ... The response was unacceptable." The group says it will re-file its petition.
New petitions submitted through We the People must collect 25,000 signatures within 30 days to get a White House review. The two alien-related petitions were filed under the previous threshold of 5,000 online signatures, according to MSNBC. There are currently 123 active petitions, including requests for the government to "crack down on puppy mills," to dissolve the Electoral College and to require labeling of genetically modified foods.