Famed British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, the pope's astronomer, a high-ranking Italian politician and even the late Winston Churchill (according to recently unearthed documents) helped keep UFOs in the news.
And sightings of unexplained flying objects came in from all over the world.
Let's take a look back at some of the more interesting, strange and funny stories involving UFOs and the possibilities of contact with ETs that appeared on our pages.
It's always good to approach a subject like UFOs from an academic perspective, like this New York state anthropology professor who insisted that, not only should UFOs be taken seriously, but they belong in the college curriculum.
The longstanding debate over whether or not we should try to make contact with space aliens reared its head during 2010. Astrophysicist Hawking cautioned that any communication with extraterrestrials might pose a huge risk for earthlings.
But with many people hoping that alien disclosure is just around the corner, word came out of the Czech Republic that astronomers had created new guidelines for how we should handle eventual contact with ETs.
Then there was Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the governor of Russia's Buddhist republic, Kalmykia, who claimed to have made friends with aliens after they first allegedly abducted him from his Moscow apartment.
Making friends with otherworldly visitors is one thing, but when Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmagno announced he'd like to baptize aliens, it gave new meaning to the idea of reaching out and touching them.
Not all political leaders feel the need to keep alien information secret. Case in point: Italian Northern League party leader Mario Borghezio's crusade this year to convince European Union member nations to release all of their hidden UFO documents.
While Americans sweltered in the summer heat, UFOs "invaded" China. It's still not clear whether it was something truly unidentified or a secret military aircraft that was seen. Whatever it was, it resulted in the shutdown of the Xiaoshan Airport for an hour.
The media made such a fuss over several China UFO sightings, even "Late Show" host David Letterman couldn't resist talking about it:
"When I turn on my computer, I get this AOL thing. They have the morning news rundown ... there have been UFOs over China. Think how exciting that would be if it happened here. It would be tremendous, wouldn't it?
"So, I would like to now make a plea to other life forms and forces in other galaxies in the universe. Please come do that for us. Because you can't buy that kind of coverage. Please come to the United States, come pay us a visit here in New York City!"
At first, seeming to ignore Letterman's ET invite, the UFOs decided they weren't through disrupting airports in China, arriving and halting operations at the Baotou Airport in the Inner Mongolia province.
But not wanting to miss out on all that the Big Apple has to offer, strange objects showed up in the sky above Manhattan in the middle of an afternoon. The city was in a frenzy over the reports until it became apparent that these UFOs may have been more helium than alien.
Hot on the heels of China and New York, UFOs turned up to take in the sights over Texas and Virginia.
We also saw a new version of the well-known fire drills that most young students experience in school. In the United Kingdom, several "UFO drills" were staged as a way to teach 8- to 10-year-old pupils how to respond to a possible UFO crash, including the gathering of any wreckage.
Some people want so badly to meet extraterrestrials that they'll offer the visitors a place to park, as in the case of the small town of Ares, France.
Along the way this past year, some serious-minded UFO items came to our attention.
In Great Britain, newly published secret documents alleged that former Prime Minister Churchill believed some UFOs were unearthly and he was concerned that such news would create a public panic.
No-nonsense, credible military officers stepped forward and broke their silence at a Washington, D.C., press conference to describe their firsthand encounters with UFOs that they claim had tampered with American nuclear weapons sites.
We learned about Elvis Presley's reported interest in UFOs and collection of New Age and UFO books that he brought with him on tour in big luggage trunks.
Did you make it to the Interplanetary Conclave of Light? Or maybe you somehow missed that particular holiday supposedly celebrated on 33 planets across the galaxy and organized in San Diego by the Unarius Academy of Science.
For citizens of Denver, the November election offered a chance to vote for an initiative that, if passed, would have created an ET affairs commission.
And while triangular, fast-moving Dorito-shaped UFOs were reported in the English countryside, Scottish computer geek Gary McKinnon awaited his fate for hacking into nearly 100 military and NASA computers a decade ago. All he was trying to do was find secret UFO files.
Rounding out this UFO year, the latest entry in the which-country-will-be-next-to-release-UFO-files competition, it's close encounters of the Kiwi kind. New Zealand made more than 2,000 pages of formerly classified documents public just before Christmas -- reports spanning nearly 60 years.
Yes, it was an amazing year of UFO tales, and we hope whoever's piloting these sophisticated machines -- assuming they are machines -- fully appreciates all the press we've given them.
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