NASA has announced plans to begin studying UFOs in a scientifically rigorous way before publishing the results in a public report.
The experts involved in the study will extract relevant data from sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP); understand how to best register such UAPs in the future; and determine how NASA can use the new information to improve scientific understanding of the mysterious objects.
The announcement of the new initiative, which is expected to begin in early fall and take about nine months to complete, comes just over three weeks after a historic Congressional hearing in which lawmakers grilled two senior intelligence and defense experts on multiple reports from UAP military pilots, as previously reported by Live Science. The hearing was concentrated a June 2021 Pentagon report out of 144 documented UAP sightings by US Navy pilots since 2004, most of which the department concluded that they “likely represent physical objects.”
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Of the 144 UAP sightings, 18 reportedly exhibited extremely unusual flight behaviors, with the unidentified objects appearing to “stand still with the wind up, move against the wind, maneuver abruptly, or move at considerable speed, with no discernible means of propulsion,” according to the report. The video clips released, along with eyewitness accounts of Navy pilots, also indicate at least some of these apparently non-propelled aircraft moving at hypersonic speeds, Live Science previously reported; a video clip, captured by the United States Navy, appeared to show a spherical UFO hovering in midair as it bounced from side to side, before diving into the ocean.
NASA’s new study – which according to the agency is not part of the Pentagon’s Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group (AOIMSG) or its predecessor, the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF) – will be led by astrophysicist David Spergel. and orchestrated by Assistant Deputy Associate Administrator for Research at NASA Science Mission Directorate Daniel Evans.
“Given the scarcity of observations, our first task is to simply collect the strongest possible dataset,” Spergel said in a statement. “We will identify what data – from civilians, government, nonprofits, corporations – exists, what else we should try to collect and how to best analyze it.”
The last time a large government investigation of UAPs (the preferred official term for unidentified flying objects, commonly called UFOs) took place in 1969, when a U.S. Air Force investigation called Blue book project concluded by believing that no unexplained flying objects had been verified and that none had ever been judged a threat to national security.
Then, nearly 50 years later, in 2017, Politico and the New York Times published a series of whistleblower reports on the Pentagon’s secret UFO research bureau. Those reports concerned testimonies from Navy pilots and radar crew who had encountered the strange aerial objects almost “every day”.
In the wake of these reports, President Donald Trump included a requirement in the December 2020 Covid Relief Bill that required the National Intelligence Director and Secretary of Defense to produce a report on what the government knew about UAPs. Subsequently, President Joe Biden also placed a requirement in the new National Defense Authorization Act, this time requiring the military to create a new office to investigate UAPs, as well as produce an annual report and biannual briefings to Congress.
The subsequent nine-page report from 2021 and last month’s public hearing were clear in detail. Neither inferred any inferences from the “largely inconclusive” UAP reports and the report could only explain one of the sightings (which turned out to be a large deflating balloon), stating that “currently there is a lack of data to indicate that any UAP it is part of a foreign collection program or indicative of an important technological advance by a potential adversary “. The 2021 report also denied that the sightings were in any way linked to clandestine testing by the US military.
NASA officials pointed out that there is no evidence that UAPs are of extraterrestrial origin, although they are of interest to the US government for national and aviation security reasons. Defense expert testimony at the May hearing described how UAPs were involved in 11 near-collisions with US military aircraft. The subcommittee also heard that some encounters are said to have occurred over sensitive nuclear facilities, such as an alleged incident at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana that saw 10 nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) rendered inoperable after a bright red sphere has been seen above.
Originally published in Live Science.