US Navy pilots and sailors won’t be considered crazy for reporting unidentified flying objects, under new rules meant to encourage them to keep track of what they see. Yet just a few years ago, the Pentagon reportedly shut down another official program that investigated UFO sightings. What has changed? Is the US military finally coming around to the idea that alien spacecraft are visiting our planet?

The answer to that question is almost certainly no. Humans’ misinterpretation of observations of natural phenomena are as old as time and include examples such as manatees being seen as mermaids and driftwood in a Scottish loch being interpreted as a monster.

A more recent and relevant example is the strange luminescent structure in the sky caused by a SpaceX rocket launch. In these types of cases, incorrect interpretations occur because people have incomplete information or misunderstand what they’re seeing.