NASA UFO panel in first public meeting says better data needed

June 1, 2023 9:40 am

[Source: Reuters]

The first public meeting of a NASA panel studying what the government calls “unidentified aerial phenomena,” commonly known as UFOs, kicked off to discuss findings since its formation last year.

The 16-member body, assembling experts from fields ranging from physics to astrobiology, was formed last June to examine unclassified UFO sightings, which it refers to as UAPs, and other data collected from civilian government and commercial sectors.

NASA said the focus of Wednesday’s four-hour public session at the agency’s headquarters in Washington was to hold “final deliberations” before the team publishes a report, which Spergel said was planned for release by late July.

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The team has “several months of work ahead of them,” said Dan Evans, a senior research officer at NASA’s science unit, adding that panel members had been subjected to online abuse and harassment since they began their work.

The panel represents the first such inquiry ever conducted under the auspices of the U.S. space agency for a subject the government once consigned to the exclusive and secretive purview of military and national security officials.

The NASA study is separate from a newly formalized Pentagon-based investigation of unidentified aerial phenomena documented in recent years by military aviators and analyzed by U.S. defence and intelligence officials.

Panel officials on Wednesday, having relied on unclassified data sensors, indicated they have run into much of the same obstacles as their Pentagon counterparts in studying unidentified objects.

The parallel NASA and Pentagon efforts, both undertaken with some semblance of public scrutiny, highlight a turning point for the government after decades spent deflecting, debunking and discrediting sightings of unidentified flying objects – long associated with notions of flying saucers and aliens – dating back to the 1940s.

While NASA’s science mission was seen by some as promising a more open-minded approach to the topic, the U.S. space agency made it known from the start that it was not leaping to any conclusions.

U.S. defence officials have said the Pentagon’s recent push to investigate such sightings has led to hundreds of new reports now under examination, though most remain categorized as unexplained.

The head of the Pentagon’s newly formed All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office has said the existence of intelligent alien life has not been ruled out but that no sighting had produced evidence of extraterrestrial origins.