See something strange in the sky? The U.S. government wants to know about it. Earlier this year, Congress held a hearing on U.F.O.s (or what the Defense Department calls “U.A.P.s,” short for “unidentified aerial phenomena”). Pentagon officials told lawmakers that they want to remove the stigma around reporting sightings so they’ll be able to better investigate strange occurrences. For a long time, officials noted, people feared others would laugh at them for talking about U.F.O.s, but that may be changing: From 2004 to 2021, the Pentagon recorded 144 reported sightings, but as of May 2022, that number had shot up to more than 400. And officials promise to take those accounts seriously. “We want to know what’s out there as much as you want to know what’s out there,” testified Ronald Moultrie, a top Defense Department official. “Our goal is . . . to understand what may be out there, examine what it may mean for us.”