Why The French State Has A Team Of UFO Hunters

Thousands of UFO sightings are reported every year but not many countries are willing to spend money investigating them, there is just one dedicated state-run team left in Europe. Is France onto something?



You don't need a time machine when you visit the French Space Centre headquarters in Toulouse it's already a throwback to the 1970s. Green lawns sweep on to wide boulevards with stout long rectangular office blocks on either side.

It's almost Soviet-style in the heart of southern France. There are few signs of life even though 1,500 people, most of them civil servants, work in boxy offices along narrow unappealing corridors.

France has the biggest space agency in Europe, the result of the 1960s space race and President Charles de Gaulle's grand determination to keep France independent of the US by building its own satellites, rocket launchers and providing elite space research.

An offshoot of all that, France is the only country in Europe to maintain a full-time state-run UFO (unidentified flying objects) department.

There used to be one in the UK and another in Denmark but they closed down years ago due to budget cuts.

France's UFO unit consists of four staff, and about a dozen volunteers who get their expenses paid to go on site and look into reports of strange sightings in the skies.

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