NASA clears the air: No proof that UFOs are aliens

Storm clouds roll past NASA's VAB or Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in Houston.
Enlarge / NASA’s UAP examine workforce and newly appointed director of UAP analysis characterize rising efforts to check and declassify UFO-related knowledge.

NASA’s independent study team launched its extremely anticipated report on UFOs on September 14, 2023.

Partially to maneuver past the stigma often attached to UFOs, the place navy pilots concern ridicule or job sanctions in the event that they report them, UFOs are actually characterised by the US authorities as UAPs, or unidentified anomalous phenomena.

Backside line: The examine workforce discovered no proof that reported UAP observations are extraterrestrial.

I’m a professor of astronomy who has written extensively on astrobiology and the scientists who seek for life within the universe. I’ve lengthy been skeptical of the claim that UFOs characterize visits by aliens to Earth.

From sensationalism to science

Throughout a press briefing, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson famous that NASA has scientific applications to seek for traces of life on Mars and the imprints of biology within the atmospheres of exoplanets. He mentioned he wished to shift the UAP dialog from sensationalism to certainly one of science.

With this assertion, Nelson was alluding to a number of the extra outlandish claims about UAPs and UFOs. At a congressional hearing in July, former Pentagon intelligence officer David Grusch testified that the American authorities has been hiding proof of crashed UAPs and alien organic specimens. Sean Kirkpatrick, head of the Pentagon workplace charged with investigating UAPs, has denied these claims.

And the identical week NASA’s report got here out, Mexican lawmakers had been proven by journalist Jaime Maussan two tiny, 1,000-year-old our bodies that he claimed had been the stays of “non-human” beings. Scientists have known as this claim fraudulent and say the mummies could have been looted from gravesites in Peru.

Conclusions from the report

The NASA examine workforce report sheds little gentle on whether or not some UAPs are extraterrestrial. In his feedback, the chair of the examine workforce, astronomer David Spergel acknowledged that the workforce had seen “no proof to recommend that UAPs are extraterrestrial in origin.”

Of the greater than 800 unclassified sightings collected by the Division of Protection’s All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office and reported on the NASA panel’s first public meeting again in Could 2023, solely “a small handful can’t be instantly recognized as recognized human-made or pure phenomena,” based on the report.

Lots of the recent sightings could be attributed to climate balloons and airborne litter. Traditionally, most UFOs are astronomical objects corresponding to meteors, fireballs, and the planet Venus.

Some sightings characterize surveillance operations by international powers, which is why the US navy considers this a national security issue.

The report does provide suggestions to NASA on the best way to transfer these investigations ahead.

Many of the UAP knowledge thought of by the examine workforce comes from US navy plane. Evaluation of this knowledge is “hampered by poor sensor calibration, the dearth of a number of measurements, the dearth of sensor metadata, and the dearth of baseline knowledge.” The perfect set of measurements would come with optical imaging, infrared imaging, and radar knowledge, however only a few stories have all these.

The NASA examine workforce described within the report the sorts of knowledge that may shed extra gentle on UAPs. The authors notice the significance of decreasing the stigma that may trigger each navy and business pilots to really feel that they can’t freely report sightings. The stigma stems from a long time of conspiracy theories tied to UFOs.

The NASA examine workforce suggests gathering sightings by business pilots utilizing the Federal Aviation Administration and mixing these with labeled sightings not included within the report. Group members didn’t have safety clearance, so they may look solely on the subset of navy sightings that had been unclassified. For the time being, there isn’t any nameless nationwide UAP reporting mechanism for business pilots.

With entry to those labeled sightings and a structured mechanism for business pilots to report sightings, the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office—the navy workplace charged with main the evaluation effort—might have probably the most knowledge.

NASA also announced the appointment of a brand new director of analysis on UAPs. This place will oversee the creation of a database with assets to guage UAP sightings.

In search of a needle in a haystack

Components of the briefing resembled a primer on the scientific technique. Utilizing analogies, officers described the evaluation course of as in search of a needle in a haystack, or separating the wheat from the chaff. The officers mentioned they wanted a constant and rigorous methodology for characterizing sightings, as a method of homing in on one thing really anomalous.

Spergel mentioned the examine workforce’s aim was to characterize the hay—or the mundane phenomena— and subtract it to seek out the needle, or the possibly thrilling discovery. He famous that synthetic intelligence can assist researchers comb by way of huge datasets to seek out uncommon, anomalous phenomena. AI is already getting used this fashion in many areas of astronomy research.

The audio system famous the significance of transparency. Transparency is essential as a result of UFOs have lengthy been related to conspiracy theories and government cover-ups. Equally, a lot of the dialogue through the congressional UAP hearing in July targeted on a necessity for transparency. All scientific knowledge that NASA gathers is made public on numerous web sites, and officers mentioned they intend to do the identical with the nonclassified UAP knowledge.

On the beginning of the briefing, Nelson gave his opinion that there have been maybe a trillion cases of life past Earth. So, it’s believable that there’s clever life on the market. However the report says that on the subject of UAPs, extraterrestrial life should be the speculation of final resort. It quotes Thomas Jefferson: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” That proof doesn’t but exist.The Conversation

Chris Impey, college distinguished professor of Astronomy, University of Arizona. This text is republished from The Conversation below a Inventive Commons license. Learn the original article.