By: April Carson
NASA plans to join forces with the SETI Institute in an effort to find out more about unidentified flying objects (UFOs). The two organizations will work together to study data related to potential UFO sightings, in the hopes of better understanding these events.
NASA has formed a team to investigate the existence of "unidentified aerial phenomena" — commonly known as UFOs. The agency says it will also look into possible ways to protect aircraft from encounters with the unexplained objects.
The move comes after a series of incidents in which US Navy pilots reported seeing strange objects in the sky. In one case, two pilots said they saw a "huge cylindrical object" hovering above them.
UFOs are unidentified flying objects that cannot be categorized as aircraft or explained by natural occurrences. Because UFOs imply a link to alien spacecraft, it's best avoided in this context. NASA is looking for any data that may be out there. "There is no evidence that any of these sightings are extraterrestrial spacecraft," says NASA.
The agency says it will also investigate reports of "aircraft/unexplained aerial phenomena" in order to "ensure the safety of our personnel and assets."
This comes after a series of incidents in which US Navy pilots reported seeing strange objects in the sky. In one case, two pilots said they saw a "huge cylindrical object" hovering above them.
“When you're seeking for life on Mars, the first thing you do is come up with a hypothesis to test,” astrophysicist David Spergel explained during today's press conference. “We don't understand this and want to gather more information on it.”
Spergel says the sightings could be explained by natural phenomena, but that more data is needed.
“We want to take this seriously and collect as much information as we can,” he said. “Maybe there's a completely innocent explanation, but we want to make sure.”
The project will begin in the early fall and take nine months to complete, costing no more than $100,000, according to Daniel Evans, the assistant deputy associate administrator for research at NASA's Science Mission Directorate. It will mostly be based on open data, with a comprehensive report being published and NASA holding meetings to discuss its findings with the general public.
The project will use data from a variety of sources, including NASA’s own Kepler spacecraft, which has discovered thousands of planets beyond our solar system. By analyzing the light emitted by these planets, astronomers can learn about their atmospheres and potential habitability.
The recent study by NASA builds on a growing interest in debunking UFO sightings, which have been stigmatized for decades. Since the 1960s, Congress has held the first hearing into unidentified flying objects since its creation. At that hearing, Pentagon and intelligence officials called on the general public to report UFO sightings as a matter of national security. Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate administrator for science at NASA, remarked that while this research is not part of the Department of Defense's task force set up in 2021 and charged with detecting and addressing UAPs, the group felt compelled to begin gathering data now due to the scientific interest and aviation safety concerns. Zurbuchen said the team will use a variety of techniques to study the data, including using artificial intelligence.
The goal is not to prove or disprove the existence of extraterrestrial life, but rather to understand what these objects are and where they come from.
For years, the government has been tight-lipped about its UFO research, but this new initiative signals a change in that policy. Zurbuchen said the team will be sharing its findings with the public on a regular basis, in an effort to be as transparent as possible.
Zurbuchen stated that the study would not imply whether life exists elsewhere in the universe, but it will assist scientists in their quest for knowledge.
“At this point in time, given the evidence we currently have, finding irrefutable proof of an event being one or the other would be difficult,” he added. “I do believe that it says very little about the events themselves; rather, it speaks to the amount of data available, which is exactly why we're conducting this study."
"There's a lot we still don't know about the universe, and this study is an important step in the search for answers," said SETI Institute astronomer Seth Shostak. "We may not find anything, but it's important to keep looking."
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
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