Documents acquired by Vice through a public records request have revealed details of a secret government program that investigated highly speculative and often outlandish theories and technologies, including the development of invisibility cloaks and the feasibility of building a tunnel. across the moon using nuclear blasts.

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These documents (which are available here) provide an overview of the research conducted by the Advanced Aerospace Weapons Systems Application Program (AAWSAP), a program that often overlaps with the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) . Both were funded by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), a division of the Department of Defense (DOD). AAWSAP and AATIP research has focused on the potential long-term use of technologies in military and defense contexts. While AATIP "was the name of the general program," AAWSAP "was the name of the contract that the DIA awarded for the production of technical reports," according to a DIA spokesperson.

(It officially disbanded in 2012, but various reports say it survived in some form.) Although the existence of the AAWSAP and AATIP has been known for years, the newly released details of their investigation are proving to be as far-fetched as the UFO fodder of yesteryear. “None of these technologies appear to have ever come close to being a reality, to our knowledge,” says Vice. Instead, the aspects of this program that are now emerging are reports, assessments, and memorandums revealing truly bizarre, publicly funded research, out of public view.

An article, titled "Invisibility Cloaking: Theory and Experiments," explores "camouflage, transparency, and concealment" and "honestly discusses the technological challenges of making a practical invisibility cloak," according to a DIA memo. Illustrations chosen by the concept report related to invisibility include the novel by H.G. Wells The Invisible Man, Jellyfish, and the Invisible Woman, a character from the Fantastic Four comic series. "It is not yet entirely clear whether invisibility in the visible range of the spectrum will become a reality," the paper concludes.

Another report deals with negative mass propulsion and the possibility of exploiting negative mass wells for space travel. "The center of the moon turns out to be a potential sinkhole," says the article's abstract. "Tunneling through the moon, provided there is a good reserve of negative mass, could revolutionize interstellar spaceflight." There is a long discussion about the processes "required to break down rocks to tunnel from the center of the moon... to its surface", suggesting "nuclear explosions".

The Defense Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2008 included $10 million for AATIP and the Defense Appropriations Act of 2010 appropriated $12 million, or $22 million over five years.

How much of that money was spent on UFO research and how much was spent on invisibility cloaks is unclear, as how the money was used has been kept secret.One of the key figures defending this secrecy was former Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who was behind the creation of the research program. Reid pushed for high levels of classification, writing that "continued study of these issues will likely lead to technological advances that, immediately in the near term, will require extraordinary protection." In a 2009 letter to then-Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn, Reid argued that the insights and innovations resulting from the research "would enable the United States to maintain its pre-eminence as a world leader."