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Business News/ Science / News/  UFOs mystery to remain unresolved without high-quality unclassified data: NASA expert team

The first public meeting of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) panel studying “unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP)," commonly known as UFOs, started Wednesday . The panel set up last year has been looking at data on unidentified anomalous phenomena.

The panel, which has $100,00 in funding was formed last June to examine unclassified UFO sightings, and other data collected from civilian government and commercial sectors.

The 16 member expert team selected by NASA includes former astronaut Scott Kelly and 15 other from a wide variety of fields including astronomy, oceanography and even journalism. 

The panel chairman David Spergel said the group is looking at what unclassified information is available on the subject and how much more is needed to understand what's going on in the sky. David Spergel is astrophysicist  and runs the Simons Foundation.

Spergel said the focus of today's public session was to hold "final deliberations" before the panel publishes a report, which is planned for release by late July.

Spergel stressed that the biggest roadblock in terms of understanding these unidentified phenomena is a lack of data.

NASA scientist Daniel Evans said because public interest in unidentified aerial phenomena is at a seeming all-time high, it is our  responsibility to give the topic the "rigorous scientific scrutiny" it deserves. 

"First and foremost, it provides an opportunity for us to expand our understanding of the world around us," Evans added. "This work is in our DNA."

Evans further said the study is first and foremost about gaining a larger understanding of what is in the air and making the skies safer.            

Nicki Fox, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate said UAP expert team was commissioned "to create a roadmap on how to use the tools of science to evaluate and categorize the nature of UAPs going forward. This roadmap, of course, will help the federal government obtain usable data to explain the nature of future UAPs."

However, Fox noted that accessing high-quality data is difficult because the sensor platforms used to capture data are often classified. 

"If a fighter jet took a picture of the Statue of Liberty, then that image would be classified not because of the subject in the picture, but because of the sensors on the plane," Fox added                              

Fox stressed the need for high-quality unclassified data, which "make it possible for the team to communicate openly to advance our understanding of UAP not only with each other, but across the scientific community and to the public."

Panel chairman Spergel too said that the current data collection efforts about UAPs are unsystematic and fragmented across various agencies, often using instruments uncalibrated for scientific data collection

Nasa's study is separate from the Pentagon's investigation into unidentified aerial phenomena, which has been studied by US intelligence officials.

Agreeing with Spergel and fox, another UAP member Sean Kirkpatrick said while most UAP reports the office reviewed are easily explained, some do still remain unresolved "primarily due to a lack of data associated with those cases."

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Updated: 01 Jun 2023, 12:53 AM IST
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