Prior to their invasion of Earth, the aliens launched hundreds of reconnaissance flights to observe the human race and monitor our level of technology along with defensive capabilities. The information gathered allowed the aliens to identify priority targets based on population density and military deployments. These missions would continue until at least 1986, in which they conducted human abductions. Many of these missions were recorded by human observers, but were usually dismissed as hoaxes.
In 1947, one such scouting mission occurred over the American southwest, which was a center of atomic bomb testing. The ship had been delivered to Earth by a carrier vessel and was moments away from completing its mission when the parent ship jumped away from the planet, as it was on the verge of being detected by human tracking stations. Suddenly isolated, the alien scout ship lost power and suffered a catastrophic engine failure before crashing outside the town of Roswell, New Mexico. Two of the three alien scouts initially survived, but one was attacked by coyotes while trying to get away. All three aliens and the ship were recovered by the United States military and kept at a top-secret base called Area 51.
The incident was covered up in which the U.S. military reported the crash was a weather balloon. Regardless, the incident was a popular subject among conspiracy theorists and enthusiasts. By the advent of the War of 1996, the truth of the Roswell incident was brought forth to the public.