Why is it important: NASA is assembling an independent team to study Unidentified Air Phenomena (UAPs) from a scientific point of view. The effort will be led by astrophysicist David Spergel, who previously served as chair of the astrophysics department at Princeton University. The study is expected to take about nine months to complete and will involve experts in aeronautics, science and data analytics.
Spergel said they will review available data from governments, civilians, non-profits and companies, decide what other information they should try to collect, and determine how best to analyze it.
“In line with NASA’s principles of openness, transparency, and scientific credibility, this report will be released to the public.” said Daniel Evans, Assistant Associate Administrator for Research at NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
The community has largely moved away from the term unidentified flying objects (UFOs) partly due to the stigma it brings and the fact that some of these objects exhibit characteristics that are atypical for flight and beyond our understanding of physics.
Reports of unknown objects in the sky persisted for decades, even centuries, but did not receive media attention until The New York Times published an article. innovative part about it in December 2017.
In 2020 Ministry of Defense publicly released several UAP videos filmed Navy Pilots. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released a long-awaited report on the matter in June 2021. Of the 144 cases studied from US government sources, the report was able to identify only one with a high degree of certainty. No explanation was received for the remaining incidents.
ODNI stated that other potential categories for explanation include airborne disturbances such as balloons or applications, natural atmospheric phenomena such as ice crystals and temperature fluctuations, and an all-encompassing “other” trash can that may require further scientific knowledge to understand.
ODNI report said there was no evidence to suggest that the UAP studied was from a foreign adversary. They also failed to confirm that secret US government programs were responsible for any of the sightings.
Just last month, Congress held first public hearing on the subject for 50 years.
NASA said the unidentified atmospheric phenomena were of both aviation safety and national security interest, adding that there was no evidence of UAP’s extraterrestrial origin at this time. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has his own opinion on the matter.
It is impossible not to wonder about the timing of the study. NASA decided to announce this just a month before it plans to share the first full-color images with James Webb Space Telescope. Nelson formerly said he expects Webb to “discover the secrets of the universe that will be simply colossal, if not almost overwhelming.” Perhaps NASA is looking to reveal something truly revolutionary with Webb and wants to come forward?
The first images from Webb will be published on July 12th.
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