Nope: Could UFOs really exist and how would they fly?

Think of an alien spaceship and it’s likely that the first image to come to your mind is a flying saucer, possibly darting across the sky in grainy footage, or abducting a farmer in the interests of little green men.

It is such an enduring idea, in fact, that it has survived all the way until Nope, the new film from Jordan Peele, which is set around a ranch that is being terrorised by a UFO. But how feasible are the existence of flying saucers? And even if they did exist, would they be able to fly?

“There have been attempts to develop ships that looked like flying saucers,” says astronomer Colin Stuart, author of books such as How To Live in Space. “In the 1950s, the US Air Force were working with a [now defunct] Canadian company called Avro to build the VZ-9 Avrocar. The point…

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