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GEIPAN UAP investigation unit opens its files

26 March 2007
After 30 years of collating sightings and field investigations, GEIPAN*, the French unit responsible for researching and investigating unidentified aerospace phenomena (UAPs), is putting its archives on line. Making these records available to the public is the culmination of the new policy and focus the unit has adopted in the last few years.
Certain phenomena are easily confused with UAPs, like mist effects, aurora borealis or (as shown here) lightning-related phenomena.

Certain phenomena are easily confused with UAPs, like mist effects, aurora borealis or (as shown here) lightning-related phenomena.

In 1977, the CNES Director General set up a unit to record witness accounts of supposedly abnormal phenomena observed in the sky, commonly known as UFOs (unidentified flying objects).
In fact, there is a perfectly normal explanation for the vast majority of “sightings”, such as the Moon rising, unusual clouds or space debris re-entering the atmosphere. They are simply misinterpreted by those who see them.



Not all cases explained

However, some of the 1,600 reported sightings in GEIPAN’s files remain a mystery. These are what it calls “type D” aerospace phenomena, that is, they cannot be explained despite precise witness accounts and good-quality evidence recovered from the scene.

Classification of sightings. Crédits: CNES

Classification of sightings. Crédits: CNES

In putting its full archives on line today, GEIPAN is hoping to focus the attention of the scientific community on these unexplained phenomena, which could conceal truly revolutionary scientific discoveries. And there is plenty of material to study, since GEIPAN’s archives amount to the equivalent of 100,000 A4 pages.

30 years of investigations

Piled high, these 100,000 pages would easily stand as tall as a 3-storey building. This impressive mass of documents is the fruit of 30 years of investigations, including police and expert reports, witness sketches, video footage and audio recordings.
Investigating the so-called “Normand hole” case in 1989. Crédits : CNES

In a few months’ time, a total of 1,600 reported sightings from 3,000 reports covering 6,000 witness accounts will be posted on the dedicated Web portal.

For CNES, making the unit’s archives available on line also affirms that providing the public with clear information is now central to GEIPAN’s mission.



*Groupe d’Etudes et d’Information des Phénomènes Aérospatiaux Non identifiés

Some examples of sketches by UAP witnesses sent to GEIPAN. Crédits : CNES

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