Weeks after the first public hearing about Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) in over half a century, Nasa is set to begin a scientific study of these mysterious sightings in the sky. The American space agency has announced plans to form a scientific team to explore high-risk, high-impact science.
The space agency maintained that they will aim to sort the available data, identify the best ways to gather future data, and how they can use that information to advance scientific understanding of the issue. The independent team will assess the publicly available data and try to assimilate how much is required to establish the validity of the mysterious sightings.
“We are not shying away from reputational risk. Our strong belief is that the biggest challenge of these phenomena is that it’s a data-poor field,” Nasa’s science mission chief, Thomas Zurbuchen, said during a National Academy of Sciences webcast, acknowledging that the traditional scientific community may see Nasa as a “kind of selling out” by venturing into the controversial topic, but he strongly disagrees.
Nasa considers this a first step in trying to explain mysterious sightings in the sky known as UAPs or unidentified aerial phenomena.
The team of scientists is due to be convened by the fall, they will spend roughly nine months developing a public report on its findings and the American space agency will spend "anywhere from a few tens of thousands of dollars" to no more than $100,000 on the effort.
NASA said the team will be led by astrophysicist David Spergel, president of the Simons Foundation for advancing scientific research. In a news conference, Spergel said the only preconceived notion going into the study is that the UAPs will likely have multiple explanations.
“We have to approach all these questions with a sense of humility. I spent most of my career as a cosmologist. I can tell you we don’t know what makes up 95% of the universe. So, there are things we don’t understand,” Spergel said.
Scott Bray, deputy director of Naval Intelligence, during the public briefing held on UFOs, last month, had said that they have seen an increasing number of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft or objects in military-controlled training areas and training ranges and other designated airspace since the early 2000s.
The US government issued a report last year that was compiled by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in conjunction with a Navy-led task force and detailed observations mostly by Navy personnel of "unidentified aerial phenomenon," or UAPs.
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