What are the implications of NASA’s public involvement in this issue?
NASA is officially joining the hunt for UFOs. The space agency on Thursday announced a new study that will recruit leading scientists to examine unidentified aerial phenomena—a subject that has long fascinated the public and recently gained high-level attention from Congress.
The project will begin early this fall and last around nine months, focusing on identifying available data, how to gather more data in future, and how NASA can analyze the findings to try to move the needle on 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 responsible for coordinating the study, told reporters on a call.
While NASA probes and rovers scour the solar system for the fossils of ancient microbes, and its astronomers look for so-called “technosignatures” on distant planets for signs of intelligent civilizations, this is the first time the agency will investigate unexplained phenomena in Earth’s skies.
The announcement comes as the field of UFO study, once a poorly-regarded research backwater, is gaining more mainstream traction.
“One of the things we tangentially hope to do as part of this study, simply by talking about it in the open, is to help to remove some of the stigma associated with it, and that will yield obviously, increased access to data, more reports, more sightings.”