NASA has joined the search for the Unidentified flying objects (UFOs).
The space agency unveiled new research on Thursday that will enlist the help of leading scientists to investigate unexplained aerial phenomena, a topic that has long piqued the public’s interest and has recently received high-level congressional attention.
The research will begin in the early fall and run about nine months, with the goal of discovering existing data, determining how to obtain more data in the future, and analyzing the findings to help NASA advance scientific understanding.
“Over the decades, NASA has answered the call to tackle some of the most perplexing mysteries we know of, and this is no different,” Daniel Evans, the NASA scientist in charge of the study, told reporters over the phone.
While NASA’s probes and rovers scan the solar system for ancient microbial fossils and astronomers search for “technosignatures” on faraway worlds for hints of intelligent civilizations, this is the first time the organization will look into strange events in Earth’s skies.
NASA is well-positioned to not just debunk UFOs and enhance scientific understanding, but also to develop measures to reduce the phenomenon, which is a crucial element of the agency’s mandate to protect aviation safety, according to NASA’s chief scientist, Thomas Zurbuchen.
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 alien 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 across the government regarding how to apply the tools of science,”
The scientific community is currently finding it difficult to form conclusions due to a scarcity of UFO sightings.
To read our blog on “A huge micrometeoroid strikes NASA’s newly launched telescope,” click here.