NASA Announces New Study of Unidentified Air Phenomena

NASA Announces New Study of Unidentified Air Phenomena

NASA Announces New Study of Unidentified Air Phenomena

After some decades in the dark, in recent years, the US government has stepped up efforts to investigate an area of ​​investigation of the third track: unidentified aerial phenomena (also known as UFOs). On Thursday, June 9, NASA announced that it is also throwing in its hat. Importantly, NASA is currently positioning the study as prospective for a larger-scale study based on any initial findings.

The space agency will study existing data from its own airborne and ground observatories to look for anomalies that cannot be easily explained by existing scientific knowledge.

“The output of this particular study isn’t to sift through all the data and do all this research, it’s to propose a research program that we can then implement based on the influence of principles that are out there,” Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, said in a news conference on June 9.

What’s new – The announcement comes on the back of congressional hearings in a report published last year on UAP sightings documented by military personnel.

The research is led by David Spergel, Simons Foundation president and astrophysicist. NASA expects the investigation to take nine months to complete, highlighting archival research from both NASA and National Science Foundation observatories, but not addressing individual anomalies. Daniel Evans, assistant deputy assistant administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate for Research, said during the press conference that the agency will spend “no more than $100,000” on the initial research.

After all, this is just the basics.

Just don’t call it alien hunt

“Frankly, I think there’s new science to be discovered,” Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for the Science Missions Directorate, said at a news conference on June 9.

“It’s often happened that something that looked almost magical turned out to be a new scientific effect,” he adds.

Bill Nelson, a former United States senator turned NASA administrator under President Joe Biden, made comments in October 2021, indicating NASA was interested in investigating reports of these unidentified phenomena. Nothing official was announced at the time, but this study, according to NASA staff, will lay the groundwork for progress.

“What I expect the end product to look like is that it really answers the questions that pertain to, what data to look at, how to do that, (and) is there data we should get that’s currently out there.” not be,” Zurbuchen said.

“NASA is uniquely positioned to tackle UAP.”

Here’s the background — In case you haven’t heard, the once-weird idea of ​​UFOs roared back into the public consciousness. The trigger for the regular interest was a 2017 study by The New York Times which revealed the existence of a Pentagon-led reporting effort called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. The program was designed to look at reports from military personnel about objects in the sky that apparently cannot be explained.

A few military videos of these objects — nicknamed the Tic-Tac, Gimbal, and GOFAST videos — also surfaced. In turn, it was unclear whether these were classified leaks or not. (The Pentagon has maintained that this was not the case.)

In 2020, a bill for congressional appropriations included an amendment directing the Pentagon to investigate unidentified aerial phenomena, with a preliminary report due in mid-2021. After the report was retracted, Congress held hearings on UAPs this year.

Exploring the unknown

“NASA is uniquely positioned to tackle UAP because who else but us can harness the power of data and science to find out what’s happening in our skies,” Evans said.

“We have the tools and teams that can help us improve our understanding of the unknown,” Spergel said at the press conference.

“We’re willing to use these powerful scientific discovery tools in this case…with the same kind of approach we always use.”

Spergel’s ultimate ambition for the study?

“Take a field that contains relatively little data and make it a field that contains much more data and is therefore worthy of scientific research and analysis.”

Zurbuchen repeatedly alluded to natural but inexplicable phenomena in the press conference, but it’s worth noting that NASA is now on the hunt for intelligent life in the universe after years of delay. In the 1990s, Nevada Senator Richard Bryan canceled an extensive NASA search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) program. Only in recent years has NASA been open again to help in the hunt for techno signatures – signs of intelligent alien technology.

“We’re looking at different phenomena.”

The agency is also looking for life in the solar system, such as ancient alien microbes on Mars and possibly current life on icy moons like Europa and Titan (the subject of upcoming NASA missions). Another tempting target is Saturn’s small moon Enceladus, which harbors a vast ocean beneath its surface.

What’s next – Understanding the wide variety of phenomena in the sky — including the three-letter acronym that is almost a four-letter word — can help scientists better understand our own planet. We could be learning about new and exotic weather or energetic phenomena — these are the kinds of things NASA expects to find long before it even starts to suggest the idea of ​​”aliens.”

“Obviously, in a traditional scientific setting, talking about some of these issues could be considered out-of-print or talking about things that aren’t real science,” Zurbuchen says.

“I’m just really against that. I truly believe that the quality of science is measured not only by the outcomes that come from it, but also by the questions we want to tackle with science.”

As such, the Spergel keeps an open mind.

“The only preconceived idea I have about this is the idea that we’re looking at different phenomena,” Spergel says.

Spergel will begin work in the fall of 2022, once he has assembled a full team.