NASA to form a scientific team to study UFOs

Workers wash NASA’s logo on the Vehicle Assembly Building under high pressure before SpaceX will send two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station aboard its Falcon 9 rocket, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, US, May 19 2020. REUTERS/ Joe Schipper

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WASHINGTON, June 9 (Reuters) – NASA said Thursday it plans to assemble a team of scientists to investigate “unidentified aerial phenomena” — commonly called UFOs — in the latest sign of the seriousness with which the U.S. government is addressing the issue. conceives.

The US space agency said the focus will be on identifying available data, the best ways to collect future data, and how it can use that information to advance scientific understanding of the problem. NASA tapped David Spergel, who previously led Princeton University’s department of astrophysics, to lead the science team and Daniel Evans, a senior researcher at NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, to orchestrate the research.

A team of scientists will be convened by the fall and will then spend about nine months developing a public report on the findings, Evans said. NASA will spend “anywhere from a few tens of thousands of dollars” to no more than $100,000 on the effort, Evans added.

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The announcement comes a year after the U.S. government released a report, prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in conjunction with a Navy-led task force, detailing observations, primarily by naval personnel of “unidentified aerial phenomenon,” or UAPs. Two Pentagon officials testified on May 17 at the first congressional hearing on UFOs in half a century.

“We’re looking at the Earth in new ways, and we’re also looking the other way, at the sky, in new ways,” Thomas Zurbuchen, the head of NASA’s science unit, told reporters during a conference call. “What we’re really trying to do here is start an investigation without a result in mind.”

US officials have described UAPs as a national security problem, NASA echoed.

“Unidentified phenomena in the atmosphere are important to both national and air security. Determining which events are natural is an important first step in identifying or mitigating such phenomena, which aligns with one of NASA’s goals to aircraft safety,” NASA said in a press release.

Last year’s report said U.S. defense and intelligence analysts had insufficient data to determine the nature of UAPs observed by military pilots, including whether they were advanced terrestrial technologies, atmospheric, or alien in origin. The two Pentagon officials admitted last month that many observations are beyond the government’s ability to explain.

NASA said in a press release: “There is no evidence that UAPs are of extraterrestrial origin.”

The agency’s involvement is focused on providing more data, with the goal of leveraging NASA’s scientific talent, satellites and sensors otherwise tasked with monitoring Earth’s climate or observing atmospheric conditions, Zurbuchen said.

“The first step is to find out what data is available,” Evans said.

NASA’s involvement in the Pentagon’s efforts to characterize UAPs has been previously acknowledged by US officials.

The Pentagon has released a video of puzzling objects that are faster and more maneuverable than known aviation technology and without visible propulsion devices or flight control surfaces.

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Reporting by Joey Roulette; Editing by Will Dunham

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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