50 Years Ago: Government Stops Investigating UFOs

  • 50 Years Ago: Government Stops Investigating UFOs
50 Years Ago: Government Stops Investigating UFOs

To mark the 50th anniversary of the end of Project Blue Book, the National Archives will display records from the Air Force’s unidentified flying objects (UFOs)  investigations.

Report of a “flying saucer” over U.S. airspace in 1947 caused a wave of “UFO hysteria” and sparked Federal investigation of unidentified flying objects. For more than 20 years, the U.S. Air Force analyzed UFO sightings and any security threat they posed; most notably through Project Blue Book, which launched in 1952.

After investigations found no evidence of any UFO that was extraterrestrial in nature or that threatened national security, the Air Force announced Project Blue Book’s termination on December 17, 1969. Of the 12,618 UFO sightings reported between 1947 and 1969, 701 remained “unidentified.” Project Blue Book concluded its investigation 50 years ago, but American fascination with UFOs endures.

Project Blue Book’s duration coincided with a tumultuous period in American history. Domestic unrest during the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War protests had spurred growing American distrust of the government. Aware of this mounting skepticism, the Air Force quickly declassified and transferred its UFO investigation records to the National Archives, where they are available for public examination. The records on display come from those files.

East Rotunda Gallery, December 5, 2019 through January 8, 2020.

> Learn more about Project Blue Book

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