NASA finally gets serious about UFO’s, launches a full blown investigation

As part of a new drive toward high-risk, high-impact science, NASA has announced that it will launch a study of UFOs, a topic that has long piqued the public’s interest.

On Thursday, NASA announced that an independent team would investigate unidentified flying objects (UFOs) or unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs), with a focus on identifying available data, gathering more data, and analysing the findings to increase scientific understanding of the sightings.

Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s science mission commander, acknowledged that the traditional scientific community may view NASA’s involvement in the contentious topic as “sort of selling out,” but he strongly disagrees.

“We are not afraid of reputational damage,” Zurbuchen stated during a webcast hosted by the National Academy of Sciences. “We are convinced that the most difficult aspect of these phenomena is the lack of data.”

While NASA’s probes and rovers scan the solar system for ancient microbial fossils and astronomers search for “technosignatures” on faraway planets for hints of sophisticated civilisations, this is the first time the agency will look into inexplicable events in Earth’s skies.

“NASA has answered the call to solve some of the most intriguing riddles we know of throughout the decades, and this is no different,” Daniel Evans, the NASA scientist in charge of the study, told reporters over the phone.

The announcement comes at a time when UFO research, which was formerly viewed as a fringe field, is garnering increasing mainstream attention.

Last month, Congress convened a public hearing on UFOs, and a US intelligence assessment released last year listed 144 sightings as unexplainable. It didn’t rule out the possibility of an extraterrestrial origin.

Although NASA’s research would be separate from the Pentagon’s Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group, the space agency said in a statement that it “has coordinated widely throughout the government over how to utilise the tools of science.”

The investigation will last nine months and cost no more than $100,000. There will be no classified military data used, and it will be completely transparent.