During an extraordinary public meeting in Washington, a panel of experts appointed by NASA to investigate the delicate question of UFOs hammered home on Wednesday the need to collect more data to explain these phenomena in the future.
“Existing data and eyewitness accounts are insufficient to provide conclusive evidence about the nature and origin of each phenomenon,” said astrophysicist David Spergel, who is leading the mission. “We need high-quality data. »
A statement should be issued during the summer, detailing how to get there.
NASA announced last year that it would begin this work on unidentified flying objects, and in October hired no fewer than 16 experts to carry it out. Among them, famous scientists, but also officials of the US Civil Aviation Regulator (FAA) or former astronaut Scott Kelly.
Their aim is not to recapitulate the events observed in the past one by one, but to attempt to explain them. It is to make recommendations to NASA on how to rigorously study them in the future.
This matter is very serious, the US space agency underlines: it concerns both national security and aviation.
But it arouses a strong interest because of the word UFO. The official term has been replaced by “unidentified abnormal events”.
“At this time, we have no clear data to suggest a link between the unidentified anomalous events and extraterrestrial life,” said David Grinspoon, one of the scientists on the team.
According to David Spergel, the difficulty in dealing with this question is that some people “believe in the existence of UFOs”, while at the opposite end, others consider the matter “ridiculous”.
NASA Associate Administrator Nicola Fox opened the session by denouncing online harassment of crew members.
About 800 unidentified aerial incidents have been collected, Sean Kirkpatrick, director of the Office of Defense Intelligence (AARO), said Wednesday. But only “perhaps 2% to 5%” are “really unusual,” he said.
Screened two videos. 2022 first showed a spherical object seen in the Middle East, still unexplained.
A second video showed her three points presumably moving back and forth. He explained that they were actually planes on a runway, whose back-and-forth movements were caused by the sensor’s oscillations.
The meeting, which lasted several hours on Wednesday, was broadcast live on the Internet, and a segment was devoted to questions from the public.
This transparency is highlighted by the US space agency, which underscores the need to “de-stigmatize” the subject.
The team’s work is based solely on public data so that it can be freely discussed and accessible to everyone, said Daniel Evans, who is responsible for coordinating the study for NASA.
Astrophysicist David Spergel added that classified information – not taken into account here – is often not due to the observed object, but rather to not reveal certain characteristics of the image capturing devices (fighters …).
In the future, observations should be collected with specific, multiple and well-calibrated instruments, he said. However, he rejected the idea of a dedicated satellite.
However, there may be ways to better integrate public input into recommendations. The billions of cell phones on Earth can provide useful data, especially if multiple images are taken simultaneously.
Mike Gould, a former NASA official on the team, called for the creation of an office within the space agency dedicated to the question.
But in the end, what do we hope to find? Perhaps new physical phenomena, some experts argued.
According to David Grinspoon, “If NASA applies the same methodological rigor to the study of unusual and unidentified phenomena as possible alien life, whatever the final explanation, we’ll be in a position to learn something new and interesting.”