Nasa will undertake a nine month study of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, or UAPs, the space agency announced Thursday, but agency officials don’t expect to make any determinations about what UAPs actually are. At the very least not yet.
In a media teleconference Thursday afternoon, Nasa officials laid out their plan for the study that may launch within the early fall and help establish “road map” for investigating UAPs, the brand new term for what were once dubbed UFOS. A team chosen by the Nasa Science Mission Directorate and led by astrophysicist David Spergel will pour over telescope, satellite, and atmospheric data to see what publically available data Nasa might pull together to research UAPs.
“Step one in any investigation is to work out what data is at hand; that’s all this study is doing,” assistant deputy associate administrator for research in Nasa’s Science Mission Directorate Daniel Evans said. “That is just the 1st step. What data are on the market that may be delivered to bear?”
The Nasa announcement comes just weeks after the US Congress held the primary hearings on the subject of UFOs/UAPs in many years, where intelligence officials briefed lawmakers on an ongoing Pentagon investigation into UAPs, and showed video of unexplained UAP encounters with military aviators. The hearing offered no conclusions, and lawmakers and intelligence officials needed to retreat to a closed session to debate further details because of the classified nature of much of the info.
Nasa’s research program, against this, will remain fully transparent and open to the general public, in keeping with Dr Evans, but will even subsequently rely solely on unclassified material.
“The complete report will likely be made available to the general public and we expect to carry a public meeting to debate our findings,” he said.
Dr Evans added that the study may have a budget between “a number of tens of 1000’s of dollars” and $100,000.
Speaking concerning the scope of the study he’ll lead, Dr Sperger noted that “We even have a wealth of information about our atmosphere. We observe it each from above and below. Whether it’s air traffic management data, astronomers looking up, satellites looking down,” he said. “We would like to start out by synthesizing the info we now have.”
Dr Evans, in addition to Dr Thomas Zurbuchen, associate director of Nasa’s Science Mission Directorate, noted that they were unaware of any previous attempts by Nasa to collate such data with the intent of shedding light on the character of UAPs.
Dr Sperger, like the opposite officials who spoke Thursday, didn’t explicitly cite the likelihood that UAPs might represent a type of intelligent extraterrestrial life, as a substitute saying that “the one preconceived notion I even have coming into that is we should always be open to the thought we’re taking a look at several different phenomena,” relatively than a singular form of event.
“Probably the most exciting things in science are things we don’t understand,” he added.
The brand new study was instigated by Dr Zurbuchen, who while he mentioned Nasa’s ongoing efforts to look for signatures of alien civilizations on distant exoplanets, also avoided directly addressing the hypothesis that UAPs are a type of extraterrestrial technology. But, he added, “the science process is a sound process for any and all problems, including that one.”