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NASA Joins the Hunt for UFOs



By: Henry Wang


With the announcement that NASA would start a search for UFOs, a space agency official also said that they would be constructing a team to analyze any events that couldn’t be recognized as any sort of aircraft or natural phenomenon.

With the Pentagon and intelligence agencies doing research of their own, the space agency will deliver a bit more scientific context onto previous investigations. NASA’s head of science mission directorate Thomas Zurbuchen gave a speech in front of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. He explained to them that it was “high-risk, high-impact” research that the space agency shouldn’t avoid, even if it is – in a way - a controversial thing to study.

An announcement came weeks after a “rare and historic” hearing before Congress on claims of what the Defense Department titles Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, or otherwise called UFOs, and a report written last year by the director of national intelligence states there were 140 flying objects that even officials couldn’t identify.

However, the 9-page long report was very vague of details and didn’t give any definitive or logical conclusions on what the flying objects even were. Officials also didn’t find any evidence to suggest that the flying objects were an advanced aerospace technology developed by any other nation.

The small amount of sightings of any UAPs or UFOs makes it difficult “to draw scientific conclusions about the nature of such events,” NASA states. The agency says that it’s not just concerned about national security but also flight safety. They also say that “There is no evidence UAPs are extra-terrestrial in origin.”

NASA said it wants to add scientific rigor to a frustrating problem that has been around for a long time. Studies into UAPs fits into the agency’s mission of looking for life that is beyond Earth, from analyzing water on Mars to searching the moons of Saturn and Jupiter, the agency said.

“NASA believes that the tools of scientific discovery are powerful and apply here also,” Zurbuchen says. “We have the tools and team who can help us improve our understanding of the unknown. That’s the very definition of what science is. That’s what we do.”

After the speech, Zurbuchen said he wanted to drive NASA into taking more treacherous projects, even if they aren’t in the mainstream of the science community.

“It’s clear that in a traditional type of science environment, talking about some of these issues may be considered a kind of selling out, or kind of talking about things that are not actual science,” he said. “I just really vehemently oppose that. I really believe that the quality of science is not only measured by the outputs that come behind it, but also the questions we’re willing to tackle with science.”

NASA’s work will be headed by David Spergel and Daniel Evans. Spergel is the president of the Simons Foundation and was a professor for astronomy at Princeton University. Evans on the other hand was the assistant deputy associate administrator for research at NASA’s headquarters. The study will begin in the fall and will last about 9 months and should cost NASA no more than $100,000. Zurbuchen also adds that it will be independent from the studies done by the Pentagon.

“There are potential national security and counterintelligence [impacts], that that’s not what we do for a living. And we’re not going to get into that at NASA,” Zurbuchen states. However, the agency does investigate the atmosphere and aeronautics, he says, and there is a worry that “the airspace is increasingly crowded with many different types of air vehicles.”

Spergel said that there isn’t a good hypothesis that could possibly explain the UAPs. “I would say the only preconceived notion I have coming into this is that you should be open to the idea that we’re looking at several different phenomena,” he said. “There’s a wide range of what may be accounting for these events.”

He also stated: “This is a phenomenon we don’t understand. And we want to collect more data on the phenomenon.”

The document released by the director of national intelligence discovered that “some UAP appeared to remain stationary in winds aloft, move against the wind, maneuver abruptly, or move at considerable speed, without discernible means of propulsion,” the report figured out. “In a small number of cases, military aircraft systems processed radio frequency (RF) energy associated with UAP sightings.”

Ronald S. Moultrie, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security, said that the Pentagon is gathering eyewitness accounts of mysterious objects flying in the air that “defy the laws of physics.”

“We know that our service members have encountered unidentified aerial phenomena,” he stated to the bipartisan panel. “We are committed to an effort to determine their origins.”


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