This article was originally published in The Hill.

Roughly two-fifths of Americans now believe in UFOs, polls suggest, signaling a resurgence of popular-cultural interest in extraterrestrials possibly buzzing around us. 

Last week, Congress held an extraordinary (and predictably tabloid-y) hearing on “unidentified aerial phenomena,” a respectable rebranding of “unidentified flying objects,” a topic long associated with conspiracy theory and late-night talk shows. The hearing capped an epic quest to uncover a secret government UFO program, which came to light in 2017.