NewsNation got an exclusive look at once-secret government records now being made available as the National Archives has been working to bring old paper records online.
The records include images dating back decades, like a 1950s amateur sketch of egg-shaped discs flying over the Baltimore night sky. The sighting was seen by a whole neighborhood over two hours and remains unexplained decades later.
Another black and white photo from 1969 shows what looks like an alien spaceship straight out of a sci-fi movie. It was later determined to be a rare type of cloud.
So far this year, the National Archives has digitized tens of thousands of pages related to UFOs. The effort starts in the stacks and then moves to a lab. An employee preps the materials for the camera, and they end up on your computer screen.
Some documents include a look into previous government investigations like Project Blue Book.
“Project Blue Book was a U.S. Air Force program from 1947 to 1969, which was responsible for receiving documenting and investigating UFO reports,” said Chris Naylor, research services executive.
There are also records from the famous Roswell incident. Original films, once only available at an archives facility just outside Washington, D.C., are now transformed into digital video that can be played anywhere.
The once-clandestine Air Force video supporting the official government conclusion that the 1947 discovery of debris in New Mexico was from Air Force tests of covert weather balloons is one of many records being brought online.
Tens of thousands of government UFO records are expected to be available online by 2024.
“So when we identified this project this year, the first step was to identify the records in our holdings that relate to UFOs. And to determine the scope. And with that, to begin the digitization of the records that were not already digitized from our holdings. And based on that analysis, our goal is to have those records digitized by the end of this year,” Naylor said.
The documents already online can be viewed by searching “UFO” in the National Archives online catalog.
This is just a small sample of the government’s UFO reports. The ones in recent years have been collected and investigated by the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office, a department inside the Pentagon.
It’s unclear how many UFO reports are still classified.