NASA has named a new director of research into what the government calls “unidentified anomalous phenomenon,” or UAP, while the U.S. space agency’s chief said an expert panel that urged more fact-finding on the matter found no evidence of an extraterrestrial origin for these objects.
NASA commissioned the independent study to better understand how the agency can contribute to ongoing government efforts to further the study of observations of events in the sky that cannot be identified as balloons, aircraft, or known natural phenomena from a scientific perspective.
“At NASA, it’s in our DNA to explore – and to ask why things are the way they are. I want to thank the Independent Study Team for providing insight on how NASA can better study and analyze UAP in the future,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “NASA’s new Director of UAP Research will develop and oversee the implementation of NASA’s scientific vision for UAP research, including using NASA’s expertise to work with other agencies to analyze UAP and applying artificial intelligence and machine learning to search the skies for anomalies. NASA will do this work transparently for the benefit of humanity.”
The report contains the external study team’s findings and recommendations which aim to inform NASA on what possible data is available to be collected and how the agency can help shed light on the origin and nature of future UAP. The report is not a review or assessment of previous UAP incidents.
While NASA is still evaluating the report and assessing the independent study team’s findings and recommendations, the agency is committed to contributing to the federal government’s unified UAP effort by appointing a director of UAP research.
A NASA liaison to the Department of Defense previously covered limited UAP activities for the agency, and the director role will centralize communications, resources, and data analytical capabilities to establish a robust database for the evaluation of future UAP. The director also will leverage NASA’s expertise in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and space-based observation tools to support and enhance the broader government initiative on UAP.
The independent study team’s overall recommendation for NASA from its report is that the agency can play a prominent role in the government’s effort to understand UAP by furthering the study and data collection of UAP. The external study recommends that NASA use its open-source resources, extensive technological expertise, data analysis techniques, federal and commercial partnerships, and Earth-observing assets to curate a better and more robust dataset for understanding future UAP.
NASA also will advance citizen reporting by engaging with the public and commercial pilots to build a broader, more reliable UAP dataset to use to identify future UAP incidents as well as destigmatize the study of UAP.
“Data is the critical lifeblood needed to advance scientific exploration, and we thank the independent study team members for lending NASA their expertise towards identifying what available data is possible to understand the nature and origin of future UAP,” said Nicola Fox, associate administrator, Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
“The director of UAP Research is a pivotal addition to NASA’s team and will provide leadership, guidance, and operational coordination for the agency and the federal government to use as a pipeline to help identify the seemingly unidentifiable.”
The independent study team set up outside of NASA, used unclassified data from civilian government entities, commercial data, and data from other sources to inform their findings and recommendations in the report. There are currently a limited number of high-quality observations of UAP, which currently makes it impossible to draw firm scientific conclusions about their nature.
“Using unclassified data was essential for our team’s fact-finding, open-communication collaboration, and for upholding scientific rigor to produce this report for NASA,” said David Spergel, president of the Simons Foundation and chair of the UAP independent study team. “The team wrote the report in conjunction with NASA’s pillars of transparency, openness, and scientific integrity to help the agency shed light on the nature of future UAP incidents. We found that NASA can help the whole-of-government UAP effort through systematic data calibration, multiple measurements, and ensuring thorough sensor metadata to create a data set that is both reliable and extensive for future UAP study.”