Wonder Contributors

Today’s revisited Wonder was inspired by our Wonder Friend, Mallory from Utah. Mallory Wonders, “Can UFOs really come to Earth?” Thanks for this awesome Wonder, Mallory. Keep WONDERing with us!

Is there life on other planets? This question fascinates everyone from adults and children to scientists and philosophers. Some of the most popular movies of all time — from Close Encounters of the Third Kind to E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial — have sparked our imaginations and kept us wondering about what — or who — else might be out there!

Of course, some people firmly believe that aliens do exist. Many of these people are more fascinated with the questions of whether aliens visit Earth and, if they do, how they get here.

Would they pilot flying saucers, or would their spacecraft be similar to what Earth’s astronauts use? Or would advanced alien spacecraft look like something we’ve never seen before? Would we even be able to SEE alien spacecraft?

Think about it for a minute. If aliens exist and could travel here, they would obviously have advanced technology. Do you think the same rules of science apply where they come from? Would two plus two equal four in outer space? Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out?

Many people believe that they have spotted alien spacecraft from time to time. From unexplained lights in the sky to mysterious objects floating on the horizon, there have been many claims of alien sightings.

The official term for what people see during such alleged sightings is an unidentified flying object or UFO. Originally used by the military, this term refers to an unusual object in the sky that can’t be immediately identified by an observer as a known object.

Technically, the term UFO refers to any unidentified object in the sky. In our modern culture, though, the term UFO is used mainly to refer to supposed sightings of alien spacecraft.

Alleged UFO sightings are not a purely modern phenomenon. Experts note that sightings of “mystery airships” have occurred since the late 1800s. Interest in UFOs increased greatly during World War II, when American fighter pilots used the term “foo fighters” to refer to unexplained sights in the sky.

In June 1947, private pilot Kenneth Arnold reported seeing several “flying saucers” or “flying discs.” Around the same time, the United States military recovered debris from a highly-classified experimental high-altitude surveillance balloon that crashed near Roswell, New Mexico. Despite the military’s explanations, many people believed the “Roswell UFO Incident” involved the crash-landing of an alien spacecraft.

These events led to increased interest in UFOs and whether alien life forms might visit Earth. Although some research has been done from time to time by military organizations, there has been little scientific study of UFOs. Most UFO research is conducted by private groups of individuals with an interest in the topic.

Although a very small percentage of UFO sightings remain unexplained, most UFO sightings are eventually identified and explained. Many supposed UFO sightings are later determined to be sightings of conventional objects, such as aircraft, missiles, kites, or weather balloons.

Many other supposed UFO sightings are eventually determined to be caused by natural phenomena, including reflective or oddly-shaped clouds and astronomical objects like meteors or planets.

Of course, some UFO sightings are complete hoaxes. Given the amount of public interest in aliens, some people just can’t resist pulling a fast one to stir up UFO enthusiasts.

So what’s the bottom line? Despite what UFO and alien enthusiasts might believe, the U.S. government’s official position is that there is “no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race.”

104 Join the Discussion

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  1. Wow that’s an eye catching video!!!
    I never knew that in World War 2 there were ufos spotted. I wonder if something we did like using a big gun attracted ufos in the war? When I was little I looked out my car window at night and I started freaking out because I saw two big lights coming right towards us-I thought it was a flying saucer that crash landed but it turned out to be the car driving behind us. I wonder if any ufos look like flying cars with their lights on in the sky? Ufos have left our questions blank with no answers for many years. I wonder if ufos are just a big phenomenon-or if they are really out there?!

    • Good morning, Leah! Thanks for being the very first Wonder Friend to comment on today’s Wonder about UFOs! There sure are a lot of questions, photos, eye-witness accounts and hoaxes surrounding the existence of UFOs. We knew it would be a fun thing to WONDER more about! :-)

  2. Hi! My fifth grade class really enjoys reading and responding to your daily questions. However, we have had trouble lately getting the videos to load and haven’t been able to watch them. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!

    Miss D.’s Fifth Grade Class

    • Happy Wednesday, Miss D.’s Fifth Grade Class! First of all…THANK YOU for letting us know you guys enjoy visiting the Wonders of the Day and learning new things together…we think that’s GREAT!

      We’re super sorry you’re having trouble viewing the videos that accompany the Wonders of the Day. We’re not sure why this is happening (or not happening!) for you, but we have found that some schools and school districts put internal “blocks” on websites and videos because they are in charge of making sure the content that students see while exploring the internet at school is safe for viewing. Because the videos we choose to accompany each Wonder are “borrowed” from many different places around the internet (we search for the best user-generated videos to showcase with each Wonder), like YouTube and Vimeo, it might be a “block” from your school or district that is keeping your class from seeing the Wonder videos. You might want to check with your webmaster or IT Department to see about getting the block removed. :-)

  3. I think that is so weird that people have seen UFOs. I don’t think that aliens are real, but I think that it is fun just to think that they are real. But all at the same time, I do believe in them. I like this wonder of the day today. I think that it is popping. I will do something some day with aliens and UFOs!!!!

    • WOW! That’s so neat that you want to do something with aliens and UFOs someday, Cassidy! Thank you for sharing your beliefs about them with us today! :-)

  4. Out of 22 second graders, only 9 believe in UFO’s and aliens. We think people who see UFO’s are probably really seeing an airplane, jet, meteor, animal, or something someone made to trick people. Also our parents told us there is no such thing.

    • Hello, Mrs. Morales’ second graders! Thanks for adding a little math to our Wonder today! We appreciated reading what you think people might actually be seeing when they THINK they see a UFO. We hope you all have a WONDERful day! :-)

  5. Wow, I love this website, it is so cool that even when I’m not at school I still get on this website. I bet next WONDER of the day is gonna be about Reading maybe, but that is my guess. Anyway, the video you guys put on was really cool and I could write anything about it. Also, yes I do believe in UFO’s because I really wish I had aliens in my house. How cool would that be? I mean yeah, all you would hear from him is “Take me to your leader” or a bunch of gibberish. You guys are the best. Well I think I’m gonna check some of your latest wonders. Bye.

    • We think your comment ROCKS, Austin! Thanks for making us smile today with your “take me to your leader” quote! We DO think it would be cool to have friendly aliens in your house (maybe for just a little while)! Speaking of gibberish…did you know that there is a past Wonder of the Day® all about it? It’s Wonder #256 – What Is Gibberish?! Here’s a link that will take you right to it: http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/what-is-gibberish/. Happy WONDERing! :-)

  6. I like this wonder of the Day! I think I would like to see one! I would like to do things with aliens and UFOs when I am older.

    • That’s AWESOME, Hanna! Maybe you and Wonder Friend, Cassidy, could form your own Wonder UFO Search Team when you grow up, since you both want to do something with aliens and UFOs! We think that sounds like FUN! :-)

  7. Hi, it’s Eliz again. I really liked today’s wonder. I think I will send you a picture of my artwork. Oh, also I went to the Roswell museum when I was about seven. Bye, see you tomorrow. ;)

    • How fun, Eliz! We bet there were some out-of-this-world interesting things to look at when you visited THAT museum! Thank you for sharing your personal connection to today’s Wonder! :-)

  8. I really love this website, it so amazing. I hope you guys keep having a new wonder of the day ever day. I don’t believe in aliens. But that’s my opinion. I think that is weird that people see real UFOs.

    • We WILL keep surprising our Wonder Friends with a fun, interesting, fact-filled Wonder of the Day® each and every day, Abigail! Thank you so much for sharing your opinion of aliens and UFOs. We value everyone’s opinion! :-)

  9. This is a really neat website, but you guys should do some more animal things but you don’t HAVE to…haha. Thanks for all these cool facts and stuff. :)

    • You’re absolutely welcome, Stefani! We’ve got some REALLY cool animal Wonders coming up in the next weeks and months, but you should check out the ANIMAL category of past Wonders, too! Here is a link to the category here on Wonderopolis: http://wonderopolis.org/category/animals/. There are 50+ Wonders about animals already, and we’re just getting started! :-)

  10. I bet it would be awesome to live with aliens. If there are any, I think the government knows, but they just don’t want to freak us out. I love your website, btw. I get on here every day. Oh, and I really like the gibberish link. My friend speaks angry hobo, gibberish, and french (wierd combo, huh?). But anyway, I can’t wait until you guys put out your next wonder. Bye for now. :)

    • This is an AMAZING comment, Eian! Thank you so much for taking the time to explore today’s Wonder and also to let us know your thoughts about aliens and UFOs! We think it’s cool that your friend speaks gibberish! It’s fun to learn a new way to communicate! :-)

  11. We did make a satellite that had directions to our planet imprinted on it along with how we look in case it were to be found by another life form, maybe that could be the cause of all the UFO sightings? If Aliens are real, I have my doubts.

    • We really appreciate you sharing your thoughts about aliens and UFOs today, Clayton! Thank you for visiting this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • Hello, Zoey! We think it’s AWESOME that you asked your sister about her belief in UFOs, and then shared both of your beliefs with everyone in Wonderopolis today! :-)

  12. Hi Wonderopolis! I really like this Wonder! All of them are truly WONDERful! :D I have been to Roswell, too! I think aliens are really cool!

    • We really like the enthusiasm for WONDER you showed in your comment, Skye, and that you shared a personal connection (visiting Roswell), too! We’re glad you’re a Wonder Friend! :-)

  13. Dear Wonderopolis,
    Hello, all you wonderers! I learned a lot about UFO’s today. My aunt Robin has a video of a UFO on her camera. Well,I had a question about UFO’s. I learned that UFO’s are sometimes real, made-up, or hoaxes. Why is the word UFO in all capital letters? Also, I STILL think you should do a wonder of the day about the wonder of the day! Keep those wonders a’comin’! They are WONDER-ful! I think tommorow’s WONDER will be about remembering stuff.
    -YuGiOhNinja

    • Thanks for stopping by Wonderopolis today, YuGiOhNinja! The word, “UFO” is an example of special type of word called an ACRONYM, where the letters of the word are actually the first letters (in order) of a group of words that describe what the word stands for. For instance, UFO is an acronym for Unidentified Flying Object. Some other acronyms you might know are: ASAP (As Soon As Possible), DIY (Do It Yourself), and UPS (United Parcel Service). Cool, huh? :-)

  14. Dear wonderopolis,
    Today’s WONDER of the day was awesome, although I believe that aliens and UFOs are real. Besides, I’ve seen quite real pictures of UFOs. Anyways, I am a very good artist and can build a model space ship out of LEGOS, bu it might take a while. I think tomorrow’s WONDER of the day will be about leaving notes.

    • We can’t wait to see the space ship you build, Nate! We bet you are an AWESOME space ship builder! Thanks so much for hanging out in Wonderopolis today! :-)

  15. Dear wonderoplis,
    This wonder was great!! I did not know that the the term UFO means unidentified flying object in the sky, and I did not know that in 1947 Kenneth Arnold saw a flying saucer. I still wonder if there are really aliens? I think tomorrow’s wonder is going to be about why some people forget things.
    Thanks for the wonder,
    Alisha

    • It sounds like you learned some really neat things about UFOs today, Alisha! We think that’s SUPER! Thanks for trying to guess what tomorrow’s Wonder will be about, too. We hope you’re right! :-)

  16. Dear Wonderopolis,
    I learned that there have been pictures of real live UFO’s. I learned of aliens. I learned that E.T. was a very popular movie.
    How do UFO’s fly? Do aliens have lungs?

    • There are some really AWESOME comments and questions (like yours!) coming from Team Caisse today, Brandon! Unfortunately, we don’t know the answers to many of the questions about UFOs and aliens yet. Thank you for being such a GREAT WONDERer and thinking about things the way you do! :-)

  17. Dear WONDERopolis ,
    I can’t believe it, I thought it was a bird. Well, you taught me something cool. I never knew UFOs were real. I’ve never seen a UFO, do they look cool?
    I predict that tomorrow’s wonder of the day will be about sending notes.

    • We’ve never seen a UFO ourselves, Dawson, but lots of Wonder Friends think they are real! That’s a good prediction about tomorrow’s Wonder! We can’t wait to visit Wonderopolis tomorrow to see if your guess was correct! :-)

    • WOW! Thank you for sharing that great video and adding something extra cool to today’s Wonder, Mrs. Denning’s Class Grade 2! We LOVE that you guys did some more WONDERing on your own…way to go!

    • Hi, Jake! Thanks for sharing your belief about the existence of UFOs with your Wonder Friends today! We appreciate your comment! :-)

  18. Dear Wonderopolis,

    I don’t ever recall ever seeing a alien spacecraft! He,he. I’m not a big fan or believer of aliens, but it was amazing to read about this! I don’t think there is such a thing as UFOs, but there sure are many people who do! :) I learned that there can be such a thing of UFOs some day!!!

    –Hannah from Team Turner

    • We think it’s FANTASTIC that you left us this comment today, Hannah! Thank you so much! It’s great to know that you enjoyed reading today’s Wonder and learned some cool new facts! :-)

    • Don’t be mad, Paige! You helped inspire today’s Wonder about UFOs because you stuck with it in your guessing for a Wonder about SPACE! We’re proud of you and hope you’ll keep using the clues to guess what the next day’s Wonder will be about! We think you’re an AWESOME WONDERer! :-)

    • Thank YOU for stopping by this Wonder of the Day® today and letting us know you liked it, Matt! We really appreciate hearing from our Wonder Friends! :-)

  19. Wonderopolis,
    I am so sorry I didn’t mean to be snippy. I am really not that mad. I think tomorrow’s wonder is about penguins or why are snowflakes different. Hope you can forgive me,
    XOXOXOXOXO,
    Paige ;)

  20. Thanks! Wonderopolis, this is such a neat website. I learned about it in computer tech and I will be on it every day! I hope you have fun things planned…which you do. :) I’ll see you tomorrow.

    • We’re so happy to hear that you learned about Wonderopolis in computer tech, Stefani! Please tell your teacher we said THANKS for encouraging you and your classmates to visit and learn! Have a WONDERful Thursday! :-)

    • Hi, Elango! It’s GREAT to hear from you today! Thanks so much for sharing your beliefs about life on other planets. We appreciate your comment! :-)

  21. Hey, Wonderopolis people. My 4th grade teacher, Ms. Christian, puts Wonderopolis on every day and we enjoy it very much. ALSO, COULD YOU MAKE A WONDER ABOUT ASTEROIDS? IT WOULD BE REALLY COOL IF YOU DID THAT.

    • Thanks for leaving us a great comment today, Lefti! Please tell Ms. Christian how much we appreciate her introducing you and your classmates to Wonderopolis. We think that is AWESOME! We also think a future Wonder of the Day® about asteroids would ROCK! In the meantime, you can visit LOTS of SPACE-related Wonders by checking out our SPACE category! Here is a link: http://wonderopolis.org/category/space/. Happy WONDERing! :-)

    • WOW, Andrew! That’s pretty neat! Thanks so much for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  22. Hi, Wonderopolis. I have seen a UFO. My brother thinks he saw an alien! I was just talking aliens in the car and my dad brought it up he thought he was switched at birth! I didn’t watch this in school, though, so I watched it at home… well anyways, WONDEROPOLIS ROCKS and keep answering my family’s and my questions!

    • You ROCK for visiting Wonderopolis at home and talking about the Wonders of the Day with your family, Sara! We think that’s AWESOME! Thank you for sharing your family’s personal connections to this Wonder! :-)

  23. Hi Wonderopolis! I think that UFOs are not real because if UFOs are real, then aliens would be real and aliens are not real. Also, this is a funny story about UFOs. When we were eating dinner, we had a big star that was sparkling and my dad said that it was a UFO! But it really wasn’t a UFO. And that’s the end of my story. Bye, WONDERopolis! Have a WONDERful day! From, Audrey C. Mrs. Phillips’ WONDERful student.

    • That’s a WONDERful story, Audrey! Thank you for sharing it with us today! We love to hear when our Wonder Friends make personal connections to a specific Wonder of the Day®! It helps everyone learn a little more! :-)

  24. Well, after reading this and watching the video, I already knew that there are such things as U.F.Os, but I could not believe that enthusiasts believed them!! And I also already knew that they have found missiles and aircraft parts, but I did not know that they had found engines!!! My theory is that when an air craft was launched, the parts of the craft probably including the engine came off. Which resulted in the engines coming down years after. I have no idea how they say that they have seen discs or saucers in the sky, because I have always thought that that was make believe. This was fun and I hope I get to write more!! BYE (:

  25. WOW, Alien! 3,000 miles per hour is SUPER fast! Thank you for sharing your UFO experience with everyone in Wonderopolis today! :-)

    • Thanks for letting us know UFOs were something YOU WONDERed about, too, “pie!” We’re glad you stopped by Wonderopolis today! :-)

    • There are many AWESOME people who live and work here in Wonderopolis, Ellen! Some of us might believe in UFOs and some of us might not. Thanks for asking, though, and THANKS for being a great Wonder Friend! :-)

    • What a super nice thing to say, Ellen! We think you (and all of our other AWESOME Wonder Friends) are really cool, too! :-)

    • You’re not alone in your fear of UFOs, Betsy! Lots of Wonder Friends feel the same way you do! We really liked your comment and are SUPER happy that you stopped by Wonderopolis to learn along with us today! :-)

  26. Honestly, I don’t believe in aliens or UFOs. However I do like games they make about it because they add a lot of excitement to my life because it’s just cool period.

    • We haven’t spotted any here at Wonderopolis, Ashley, but have you seen any? We are still trying to figure out if they’re real or not…! :)

  27. I believe in UFO’S, but they scare me too. I’ve heard of alien abductions, and my mom used that to keep me in bed, and it sure did the trick!

    • Hi, Bianca! We think the thought of aliens and UFOs is a bit scary, too. Maybe because it is one of those things we don’t know much about. Who knows, if there are aliens, they may be friendly. We sure hope so, Wonder Friend! Keep WONDERing with us! :-)

  28. I think UFO’s exist but I don’t think they have advanced technology, if they do they would of conquered all of our solar system because just like us they are most likely greedy and if they have advanced weaponry we would have been conquered right? I mean in our history every one wants something for there actions ( it might be something worth like freeing slaves or something) but we are still greedy and want something. Wouldn’t they want our resources, planet, and whatnot? I’ve read books on aliens and they say some aliens want to protect earth and the humans are jacking it up. Why would they care? Well
    any way I like aliens an I think they exist but do you think they would have advanced tech or what to conquer us? Because if so we need to prepare :). I hope the aliens come in peace, or we come in peace because we might find them before they find us so I hope we are friendly to them because if we open fire on them they will open nuke on us. Then there would be nothing to conquer. And none of this, no Earth!!! NO! Well thank you for reading this. Good day :)

  29. Hi wonderopolis! Wonderful day is it? We love this wonder. We also loved the video. It was so funny. We learned so many things. But were busy. But trust us we learned so many things. Bye Wonderopolis. Hope you have a good rest of the day. Bye.

    • Absolutely, Evan and Dorian! Everyday is a WONDERful day in Wonderopolis! We hope you are having a WONDERful day, too! We are so glad that you enjoyed this Wonder. We agree, the video is really funny! Thanks for WONDERing with us today! :-)

  30. I’M A BELIEVA! I’ve seen oddly shaped disc in the sky myself, once…
    VERY strange. All the green lights and junk.
    Oh, and did you hear about the wheat. It’s called crop circles?

    • Wow, Dre! We think that would be neat to see, but we are still a bit skeptical. Keep WONDERing, Wonder Friend! :-)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Do you believe in UFOs?
  • What is a UFO?
  • Are UFOs real?

Wonder Gallery

UFO PicUFO Pic 2UFO_shutterstock_9023551Vimeo Video

Try It Out

So what do YOU think? Have you ever seen a UFO? Do you think aliens exist? Have they ever visited Earth? Get together with a few friends or family members and give one or more of the following activities a try to explore the subject of UFOs in greater depth.

  • What do you think an alien spacecraft would look like? How big would it need to be? What special features would it need in order to travel long distances through space?

We want to see what your imagination can come up with. Design your own alien spacecraft and then create your own unique piece of artwork to show us what it looks like. Feel free to use whatever craft supplies you want: crayons, colored pencils, boxes, markers or even clay! When you’re finished, email us a picture of your creation or post a picture of it on Facebook. We can’t wait to see what your alien spacecraft looks like!

  • What kinds of technology would alien spacecraft feature? Modern cars have MP3 players, satellite radio, heated seats, cameras that show what’s behind you, and a host of all sorts of other neat stuff. Modern aircraft are guided with GPS navigation systems and auto pilots. With advanced technology, surely alien spacecraft would feature a wide variety of amenities that would amaze and astound us humans. Brainstorm the kinds of things you’d likely find on or in an alien spacecraft. Would they have interstellar television? What about cup holders that actually hold every size soft drink imaginable? Something even better? You tell us! Compile a fantastic list of what one might expect to find in the latest alien spacecraft and share it with your friends. What ideas do they have? Have fun!
  • How fast might an alien spacecraft be able to travel? Do some research to find out how fast modern vehicles can travel. How fast can the fastest cars go? What about airplanes? Could an alien spacecraft exceed the speed of light? How fast is that, by the way? Create a bar graph that compares the speeds of cars and planes with the speeds of sound and light. Then add a bar for how fast you think alien spacecraft might be able to travel. Show your graph to someone else and explain to them your reasoning for your estimate of the speed of alien spacecraft. Have fun imagining!

Still Wondering

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