NASA Launches UFO Study

On Monday, NASA launched a nine-month study of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) — commonly known as UFOs — led by 16 of the "world's leading scientists, data and artificial intelligence practitioners, [and] aerospace safety experts."

NASA Launches UFO Study
Image credit: Andy Holmes / Unsplash

Facts

  • On Monday, NASA launched a nine-month study of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) — commonly known as UFOs — led by 16 of the "world's leading scientists, data and artificial intelligence practitioners, [and] aerospace safety experts."
  • The panel — chaired by astrophysicist David Spergel — includes former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, biological oceanographer Paula Bontempi, and astrophysicist Shelley Wright.
  • NASA said the study would focus on unclassified data from civilian government entities and other sources to "potentially be analyzed to shed light on UAPs" and advance how the agency uses UAP data analysis in the future.
  • NASA has previously said that UAPs — which have been reported flying through restricted military space over the past few decades — are important to study from a security perspective and that there's no evidence that the objects are extraterrestrial.
  • Testifying before Congress five months ago, senior defense and intelligence officials said the list of UAP sightings had grown to 400, including Pentagon footage of mysterious airborne objects flying at speeds and with maneuverability beyond known aviation technology.
  • The group is expected to issue an unclassified report by mid-2023 and hold a publicly broadcasted meeting by late spring 2023.

Sources: Zdnet, Reuters, CBS, and CNN.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by KSL. NASA was created to uncover the previously unknown, and this team of researchers is the next step in a long history of world-changing explorations. Beyond the exciting potential for extraterrestrial findings, the national security implications are severe, given the possibility of these UFOs being foreign military aircraft.
  • Narrative B, as provided by Scientific American. While it's nice to see NASA providing researchers interested in UFOs a legitimate platform, NASA isn't actually looking for anything special, as evident from its exclusion of classified data. The small budget, mixed with the limited amount of material to study, shows this is NASA simply throwing a bone at the recently-intrigued public.

Predictions