NASA has kicked off a study to help scientists learn more about unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) or UFOs (unidentified flying objects).
Over the course of nine months, the independent study team with 16 members will lay the groundwork for future study on the nature of UAPs for NASA and other organisations, the space agency said in a statement.
The team includes leading scientists, data and AI practitioners, aerospace safety experts, and other experts in their respective fields.
The study will focus solely on unclassified data. A full report containing the team’s findings will be released to the public in mid-2023.
“Exploring the unknown in space and the atmosphere is at the heart of who we are at NASA,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC.
“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,” he said.
Unidentified aerial phenomena are of interest for both national security and air safety and the study aligns with one of NASA’s goals to ensure the safety of aircraft.
Without access to an extensive set of data, it is nearly impossible 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.
“NASA has brought together some of the world’s leading scientists, data and artificial intelligence practitioners, aerospace safety experts, all with a specific charge, which is to tell us how to apply the full focus of science and data to UAP,” said Daniel Evans, the assistant deputy associate administrator for research at NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
The findings will be released to the public in conjunction with NASA’s principles of transparency, openness, and scientific integrity.