NASA has assembled a team of 16 researchers who will study unexplained aerial phenomena (UAP), otherwise known as UFOs.
The group includes former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly who spent nearly a year in space. Kelly and the team will spend the next nine months combing through unclassified data on UFOs.
The independent study, which begins today, will look at UAPs that cannot be identified as aircraft or natural phenomena and present their findings to the public in mid-2023.
It follows the first U.S. congressional hearings in 50 years that looked through 144 UAP videos witnessed by military personnel.
Astronaut Kelly will be joined by scientists, data and artificial intelligence specialists, and aerospace safety experts who will attempt to lay the groundwork for future studies by providing a roadmap on how to analyze data.
“Exploring the unknown in space and the atmosphere is at the heart of who we are at NASA,” says 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.”
The space agency says that UAPs are of interest for both national security and air safety. NASA wants to ensure the safety of aircraft and without access to an extensive set of data, it is difficult to verify or explain any observation.
“Thus the focus of the study is to inform NASA what possible data could be collected in the future to scientifically discern the nature of UAP,” it adds in a press release.
The Truth is Out There
NASA has previously said there is no current evidence that UAP sightings are extraterrestrial in origin and existing data does not indicate there is alien life.
High-profile videos captured by U.S. military personnel showing a UFO moving in ways that seemed unearthly have become the “poster child” footage for proof that aliens do exist.
While the Pentagon found no evidence that the videos are definitive proof of extraterrestrials, they also could not eliminate the possibility either fuelling theories about the existence of aliens.
“We have access to a broad range of observations of Earth from space — and that is the lifeblood of scientific inquiry,” adds Zurbuchen.
“We have the tools and team who can help us improve our understanding of the unknown. That’s the very definition of what science is. That’s what we do.”