In a May 28, 2017 interview with the CBS program 60 Minutes, Bigelow Aerospace founder Robert Bigelow publicly announced that he believes that Earth is being visited by extraterrestrials. While Bigelow has not made a secret of his paranormal interests — Bigelow Aerospace’s main building sports a logo in the form of a stylized Gray — stating his beliefs on a mainstream program broadcast by a major network is a bold step for this space pioneer.

Having made his fortune in the Las Vegas real estate market, Robert Bigelow founded Bigelow Aerospace in 1999, with the aim of developing NASA’s abandoned idea of using inflatable habitat modules to construct space stations. The company’s experimental Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) was successfully installed and deployed on the International Space Station last year, and will be used to test the viability of inflatable spacecraft technology in orbit.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg for Bigelow’s interest in space. During the interview, he was asked about his thoughts on the existence of extraterrestrial life:

Lara Logan: "Do you believe in aliens?"

Robert Bigelow: "I’m absolutely convinced. That’s all there is to it."

Lara Logan: "Do you also believe that UFOs have come to Earth?"

Robert Bigelow: "There has been and is an existing presence, an ET presence. And I spent millions and millions and millions — I probably spent more as an individual than anybody else in the United States has ever spent on this subject."

Bigelow recounted that his interest in the subject began with an encounter experienced by his grandparents: while they were driving one night, they spotted a UFO that "really sped up and came right into their face and filled up the entire windshield of the car. And it took off at a right angle and shot off into the distance".

Bigelow’s interest in paranormal subjects led him to found the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS) in 1995, and his purchase of the Skinwalker Ranch a year later, with the aim of studying the ranch’s long-standing history of strange phenomenon, including cattle mutilations and cryptid sightings.

Bigelow also founded Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS), an organization that, since 2010, has been fielding UFO reports sent to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and has partnered with the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) in its investigations.

While Bigelow’s discussion of his interest in UFOs on a widely-watched mainstream program like 60 Minutes may give his interests broader exposure, he’s not worried about what others might think of him:

Lara Logan: "Is it risky for you to say in public that you believe in UFOs and aliens?"

Robert Bigelow: "I don’t give a damn. I don’t care."

Lara Logan: "You don’t worry that some people will say, ‘Did you hear that guy, he sounds like he’s crazy’?"

Robert Bigelow: "I don’t care."

Lara Logan: "Why not?"

Robert Bigelow: "It’s not gonna make a difference. It’s not gonna change reality of what I know." 

Read Whitley’s Journal "The Mysterious Split in UFO Research" for more insight on this topic.