NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The search for extraterrestrial activity is getting some credibility.
Notable scientists are getting behind a push to make contact with whatever might be out there.
"It was between a half mile and a mile away… it was big and quiet… moving very slowly," UFO witness Robert Strong said.
Did the Hudson Valley resident really see a UFO?
"Military pilots, army personnel… the U.S. Navy now… all of them have reported different types of sightings," Christopher Deperno of MUFON said.
Even NASA is conceding it's possible the universe contains different life forms.
"We do know that the phenomenon is real," Sam Falvo of MUFON added.
Experts say the race is heating up to find answers as to who they are, where they're from, and what they may want from us.
Deperno and Falvo investigate unidentified flying objects for the New York chapter of the Mutual UFO Network, a global organization established in 1969.
"Most of them… 95 percent or so can be identified… it's those five or six percent that really stir your interest," Falvo said.
What they do has long been considered a fringe field of science, but today, this search for answers has gone mainstream. Prestigious universities including Harvard and Penn State are dedicating some of their brightest minds to this as a new field of study.
"We believe the search for extraterrestrial intelligence needs a permanent academic home," Penn State's Jason Wright said.
Then there's the private sector, funding everything from digital, interstellar communication, to a dish that emits radio waves.
These attempts to communicate with the extraterrestrial worlds are a bit more high tech than the recording of unique sounds scientists played from two space probes in the 1970's.
Author and researcher Linda Zimmermann has investigated some 500 eyewitness accounts of UFO's in the Hudson Valley.
"There is the possibility that they are drawn to the water here… the rivers, the lakes, and reservoirs, but also this area has a very unique magnetic field and gravitational field," Zimmermann said.
Zimmermann and Falvo's organizations have now formed a joint venture called Project Aries – with the hope of collecting as much human intelligence and data as possible, with your help.
"We need you to come forward and tell us of your experiences," Zimmermann added.
There will be a town hall meeting in early June for Hudson Valley residents to find out more about the sightings in their region.
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