Photo: Logo of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

“Going In With An Open Mind”: NASA Begins Study On Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP)

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is commissioning an independent study on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP), which it described as “observations of events in the sky that cannot be identified as aircraft or known natural phenomena – from a scientific perspective.”

The 16-member study team will focus on “identifying available data, how best to collect future data, and how NASA can use that data to move the scientific understanding of UAPs forward.”

According to NASA, “there is no evidence UAPs are extra-terrestrial in origin”. But the agency said it remains difficult to draw scientific conclusions about them because of the lack of reliable information:

“The limited number of observations of UAPs currently makes it difficult to draw scientific conclusions about the nature of such events. Unidentified phenomena in the atmosphere are of interest for both national security and air safety. Establishing which events are natural provides a key first step to identifying or mitigating such phenomena, which aligns with one of NASA’s goals to ensure the safety of aircraft. There is no evidence UAPs are extra-terrestrial in origin.”

The study team will be led by astrophysicist David Spergel, who is president of the Simons Foundation in New York City.

“Given the paucity of observations, our first task is simply to gather the most robust set of data that we can,” said Spergel. “We will be identifying what data – from civilians, government, non-profits, companies – exists, what else we should try to collect, and how to best analyze it.”

Image from video footage “Gimball” provided by the US Department of Defense from 2015. An unexplained object is seen at center as it soars among the clouds, traveling against the wind. “There’s a whole fleet of them,” one naval aviator tells another, though only one indistinct object is shown. “It’s rotating.”

The study is expected to take about nine months to complete, and will focus solely on unclassified data, including data gathered by civilian government entities, commercial data, and data from other sources.

A report on the team’s findings will be released to the public in mid-2023. 
“Exploring the unknown in space and the atmosphere is at the heart of who we are at NASA,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

“Understanding the data we have surrounding unidentified aerial phenomena is critical to helping us draw scientific conclusions about what is happening in our skies. Data is the language of scientists and makes the unexplainable, explainable.”

 “NASA is going in with an open mind,” the space agency wrote in a Frequently Asked Questions page on UAPs.

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