This month marks the 50th anniversary of humankind’s first historic steps on the moon. Not knowing what the astronauts might encounter, the lunar module carried a plaque that read, “We come in peace for all mankind,” as a gesture of good will.

As we watched from our vantage point Earth, the family huddled around the new television, which was the size of a MINI Cooper. We were transfixed watching the flickering screen with a grainy image of Neil Armstrong stepping down the ladder. As a 7-year-old, I was rooting for Marvin the Martian to jump out from behind a giant moon rock and say, “Greetings, earthlings!”

Ever since humans first tilted their heads upwards to gaze at the mysteries of the sky, people have imagined what it might be like to meet an extraterrestrial. Humans have long-speculated that these creatures would be little green men with malevolent intentions towards the inhabitants of planet Earth. Hollywood has shown us its version of how human and extraterrestrial encounters might unfold which run the gambit from H.G. Wells and Alien-terrifying to E.T. riding-in-a-bicycle-basket cuteness. In the movie “Arrival,” Amy Adams made pain-staking efforts to decipher the space visitor’s language to avert world war and global catastrophe.

Because communicating seems like a good first step in thwarting an intergalactic crisis.

For awhile, sci-fi movie enthusiasts and tin-foil-hat-wearing kooks at Roswell, New Mexico, and Area 51 provided the main source of interest in the spaceship flying aliens. But recently, credible UFO eye-witness reports have increased with alarming frequency. Between 2014 and 2015, Navy pilots reported observing what it called UFOs on an almost a daily basis.

Earlier this year, Navy pilots once again reported seeing whitish, oval-shaped UFOs joyriding at high speeds up and down the East Coast. Pilots stated that the space crafts had no visible engines and no exhaust plumes, but somehow reached hypersonic speeds. The velocity, maneuvers, and flight patterns of the aircraft seemed to defy a worldly explanation. One pilot who nearly collided with a mysterious flying object said, “Wow, what was that? Look at it fly!”

If most mere Earth mortals had just avoided an other-worldly collision with a fast-moving space craft, their high-pitched shrieks would have been heard across the galaxy and most likely been sprinkled with a smattering of choice expletives. Then they would have excused themselves to go change their Navy-issued briefs.

UFOs, it turns out, have remained on the government’s radar long after Area 51. The public was surprised to learn about a $22 million secret Pentagon intelligence program from 2007 that was dedicated to investigating UFO sightings and encounters. Even though that program has been shuttered, government interest continues today. Recently, members of Congress requested Pentagon briefings on the increasingly frequent Navy close encounters. It was later determined to be such a national security concern, that even the president was briefed.

However, 45 was underwhelmed by the information from multiple encounters experienced by well-trained fighter pilots. In an interview in June, the president said, “I’ve seen and I’ve read and I’ve heard, and I did have one very brief meeting on it. But people are saying they’re seeing UFOs. Do I believe it? Not particularly.”

Mmm, k.

When aliens finally do make an appearance on planet Earth, I hope they’ll embrace the spirit of Apollo 11 and come in peace. But if the extraterrestrials say, “Take me to your leader,” I hope someone steps in before they’re told “go back where you came from.” I’d hate for our guests to think there’s no intelligent life on this planet.

Denise Malloy still roots for Marvin the Martian to make an appearance. She can be reached at