NASA creates a group of scientists to study unidentified aerial phenomena

Scott Bray, deputy director of US Naval Intelligence, shows video of an unidentified aerial phenomenon on Capitol Hill. / Eph

Science | Space

"There is no evidence that they are of extraterrestrial origin," the agency said in a statement.

NASA is commissioning an independent team of scientists to study unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP). The group, led by astrophysicist David Spergel, a professor at Princeton University, will start work in early fall and their research is expected to last nine months.

“Unidentified phenomena in the atmosphere are of interest to both national security and aviation safety. Establishing which events are natural provides a key first step in identifying or mitigating such phenomena, which aligns with one of NASA's goals to ensure aircraft safety," the agency said in a statement. And he added: “There is no evidence that the UAPs are of extraterrestrial origin.”

UAP is what the Pentagon has been calling for a few years what it used to call unidentified flying objects or UFOs. The name change responds to the interest in decoupling the observations of strange aerial objects from the myth of extraterrestrial visits. What worries those responsible for Defense in Washington is that espionage activities are hidden behind the UAPs, which have been detected in military airspace and during maneuvers. It is the same thing that led the US military to investigate the visions of flying saucers in the middle of the last century.

in military airspace

The Pentagon's interest in UAPs jumped into the media in 2017, accompanied by three videos recorded by fighters in pursuit of such objects. In June of last year, the authors of a report commissioned by the Senate counted 144 cases of UAP seen by the military since 2004, of which they were only able to identify one, a deflating balloon. “Incursions into our training ranges and airspace pose flight and operational safety concerns, and may be a national security challenge,” the Pentagon warned at the time.

One of the UAPs captured by a US Navy fighter. /

Defense Department

The authors of last year's study admitted that the 143 then unidentified cases could have conventional explanations – weather phenomena, birds, planes... – and that 80 in which the UAPs seemed to make impossible maneuvers could be due to "sensor errors". , falsification or misperception of the observer'. In the report, there was no mention of aliens.

Last month, Ronald Moultrie, US Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security, and Scott Bray, Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence, appeared before a House intelligence subcommittee and claimed that since 2004 there have been 400 cases of UAP since 2004. “We know that our military has encountered unidentified aerial phenomena, and since they pose a potential risk to aviation safety and security in general, we are committed to a focused effort to determine their origins,” said the first .

The new team of experts sponsored by the space agency "is not part of the DoD's Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force or its successor, the Aerial Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group."

understand the unknown

"NASA believes that the tools of science are powerful and apply here as well," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate. “We have access to a wide range of Earth observations from space, and that is the lifeblood of scientific research. We have the tools and equipment that can help us improve our understanding of the unknown. That is the very definition of what science is. That's what we do".

"Given the paucity of observations, our first task is simply to gather the strongest data set we can. We will identify what data – from civilians, from government, from nonprofits, from businesses – exists, what else we should try to collect, and how best to analyze it,” Spergel said. His team will be advised by scientists and aeronautical experts, and their conclusions, as well as the data on which they are based, will be published on the NASA website.

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