NASA assembles team of scientists to study UFOs despite being at ‘reputational risk’ US News
NASA has announced plans to assemble a team of scientists to study “unidentified aerial phenomena,” aka UFOs, despite concerns about risking their reputation.
The US space agency said the focus will be on identifying available data to learn more about mysterious sightings in the sky.
NASA’s scientific mission director, Thomas Zurbuchen, acknowledged that the traditional scientific community might have concerns about researching UAPs.
However, he said: “We do not shy away from reputational risk.
“We strongly believe that the main challenge with these phenomena is that it is a data-poor field.”
He later added, “We’re looking at the earth in a new way, and we’re also looking the other way, at the sky, in a new way.
“What we’re really trying to do here is launch an investigation with no outcome in mind.”
David Spergel, formerly head of the astrophysics department at Princeton University, will lead the science team, and Daniel Evans, a senior researcher in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, will also orchestrate the study.
A team of independent scientists is due to be convened by the fall, where they will then spend about nine months preparing a public report of their findings.
NASA will spend “between a few tens of thousands of dollars” and no more than $100,000 on the effort, Mr. Evans added.
“Unidentified Phenomena in the Atmosphere Are of National Security Interest”
The announcement comes a year after the U.S. government issued a report prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in conjunction with a Navy-led task force, containing observations by mostly Navy personnel about “unidentified aerial phenomena,” or UAPs .
According to the report, US defense and intelligence analysts lacked enough data to determine the nature of the UAPs observed by military pilots, including whether they were advanced terrestrial technologies, atmospheric or extraterrestrial in origin.
Pentagon officials also acknowledged last month that many observations are beyond the government’s ability to explain them.
NASA said in a statement: “Unidentified phenomena in the atmosphere are of interest to both national security and aviation safety.
“Determining which events are natural is an important first step in identifying or mitigating such phenomena, which aligns with one of NASA’s goals of keeping aircraft safe.”