There are a lot of theories attempting to explain why visitors from another planet show up here. Some say they're scouting us for invasion, while others say they're probing us for scientific research. But according to newly released government documents, at least one U.K. official also thought it was possible that aliens are really visiting Earth just for the sake of visiting.
This month a slew of previously classified UFO files from the U.K.'s Ministry of Defence was published to the National Archives (you can browse the whole collection here). Among the more interesting tidbits from the collection is a briefing drafted by an MOD officer who argued that research into UFOs "needs to be established as a matter of priority."
Though the officer (who is not named) made it clear that he did not "talk to little green men every night," he did ask the ministry to accept that whether or not alien spacecraft exist was still very much an open question, and gave three primary reasons the craft may visit Earth, including simply to take a holiday.
"If they do exist, we do not know what they are, their purpose or if they pose a threat to the UK," he wrote. "If the sightings are of devices not of the earth then their purpose needs to be established as a matter of priority. There has been no apparent hostile intent and other possibilities are: 1) Military reconnaissance; 2) Scientific; 3) Tourism."
Though the briefing does acknowledge the possibility that mass hallucinations or atmospheric phenomenon could be the real cause of many UFO sightings, the officer argued that the sightings have been too frequent for too long to simply write off as people seeing things.
"Most people think that UFOs are a recent phenomena (sic) but they are not," he said. "There are reasonably reliable reports of strange objects in the skies dating back hundreds of years."
Though his theories might not have been met with enthusiasm by the British government, it's interesting to note that the official who penned the document was at least willing to make the theoretical leap. And who's to say that he's wrong? After all, we haven't been invaded yet. What if Earth really is the hottest vacation spot for beings from the next solar system over?