North Dakota Law

Updates from the University of North Dakota School of Law.

Professor Michael Dodge on UAP hearings and the search for life

Michael Dodge is an associate professor of space studies at UND and teaches space law as an affiliated faculty member for the School of Law


GRAND FORKS, N.D. (KVRR) — A University of North Dakota professor specializing in space studies says the push for answers about Unidentified Aerial Phenomena is a driving force for organizations like NASA to search for life’s origins around the solar system.

UND professor Michael Dodge says the next hearing may examine what we already know from the previous hearings and what everyday people have seen.

“To paraphrase Fox Mulder here, ‘I want to believe’, but whether I do or not is another thing. “I have not seen any evidence that gives me sufficient justification to believe that there’s any kind of life outside that we know of already and its presence on the Earth but that doesn’t mean isn’t any. So, I’m trying to keep an open mind and I think a lot of my colleagues and others in this world of space exploration try to keep an open mind as well.”

It comes weeks after a former U.S. intel official handed over classified evidence to Congress that government investigators are covering up retrieved debris from unidentified spacecraft.

“It’s impossible to know at this stage what will be asked at the hearings but I think they will probably be looking into the concept of what is known by the government? What can be shared with the public? What have people seen? What do they think they have seen? These sorts of things is what will be coming up at that kind of hearing.”

Dodge says the focus has always been on finding life’s origins and distribution in space.

“A lot of this, however, does seem to center around the concept of finding microbial life forms. I think this is the likelier scenario that if we were to discover life within our own solar system it would probably be that life form, the non-intelligent life form. I think there are a lot of people who do believe that other entities exist. Perhaps, even intelligent entities exist but there’s just a lack of general evidence.”

Last year, the Secretary of Defense formed the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office which investigates UAP’s to categorize reported sightings.

“That office has explanations for, or they believe they will have explanations for nearly any of these UAP’s that have been reported to date. Even though there are several that they don’t have explanations for quite yet, a lot of them kind of fall into these various buckets or bins that they believe are things like aerial phenomena, atmospheric phenomena that are natural or aerial clutter or UAS, those sorts of things. But, they do have sort of a catch-all bin not yet explained. Having an open mind is important for both the public and the government as they assess these UAP’s,” Dodge said.

Congress is expected to hold its next hearing on the subject in the next few weeks.

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