Updated: April 25, 2012
MONSTERS PHOTO GALLERY #11
The belief that authorities are hiding evidence of alien life is not a new one. Many UFO proponents insist to this day that extraterrestrial vehicles crashed near Roswell, N.M., in 1947 and were sent for government study at the Area 51 Air Force base in Nevada.
Yet the government has consistently denied ever having encountered any UFO hardware or other evidence for extraterrestrials, and scientists say no credible proof of aliens has ever been made public.
That doesn't satisfy UFO conspiracy theorists, though.
"This Petition calls for the President to disclose to the American people the long withheld knowledge of government interactions with extraterrestrial beings and call for open Congressional hearings to allow the people to become aware of this subject through those whose voices have been silenced by unconstitutional secrecy oaths," reads one of the two recent petitions.
"The people have a right to know. The people can handle the truth," said the other.
Looking for E.T.
Though the official White House response did quash the idea that the government was hiding information on the subject, Larson openly acknowledged two government-supported efforts to search for signs of E.T.
NASA's Kepler space telescope, which was launched in 2009, is on a mission to search for Earth-like planets around other stars in the hopes that some might prove habitable to alien life. And NASA is gearing up to launch its new Mars rover Curiosity this month, which will investigate Martian geology for signs that the Red Planet may once have been hospitable to microorganisms.
Larson also cited the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) project, which began with public funding, that uses radio telescopes to scour the heavens for signals from alien species.
"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," Larson wrote. "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. But that's all statistics and speculation. The fact is we have no credible evidence of extraterrestrial presence here on Earth."