The study of flying saucers, UFOs and claims alien spaceships are visiting the earth has long been the preserve of mavericks and the unhinged.
But yesterday, NASA said it wanted to dispel the ‘negative perception’ surrounding Unidentified Flying Objects and make it a scientifically respectable field of study.
As part of the effort to put the study of UFOs onto a more scientific footing, it said it preferred to call them UAPs – ‘unidentified anomalous phenomena’.
A NASA panel, comprising 16 experts in scientific fields and ranging from physics to astrobiology have compiled a report into UAPs which it called ‘one of our planet’s greatest mysteries.’
The report said: ‘Observations of objects in our skies that cannot be identified as balloons, aircraft or natural known phenomena have been spotted worldwide, yet there are limited high-quality observations.
‘The nature of science is to explore the unknown, and data is the language scientists use to discover our universe’s secrets,’ the report said.
‘Despite numerous accounts and visuals, the absence of consistent, detailed, and curated observations means we do not presently have the body of data needed to make definitive, scientific conclusions about UAP,’ it added.
The report said there is ‘no reason’ to conclude existing UAP reports have an extraterrestrial source.
But it said if it is plausible that there are extra-terrestrial life forms in the galaxy, it is also plausible that there is ‘potential unknown alien technology operating in Earth’s atmosphere’.
The report was not a review of previous UFO incidents but a ‘road map’ of how to scientifically study and evaluate UAPs in the future.
It also only referred to unclassified reports – with the report’s authors acknowledging that the US Military also has secret images and reports of UAPs not available to the public.
NASA said it would make a ‘concerted effort’ to scientifically study UAPs, using its satellites, as well as commercial satellites, as well as using artificial intelligence to analyse data.
The public could help too, using smartphone apps to take pictures of potential UFOs.
NASA said it had appointed a new director of UAP research – who it is not naming – who will be in charge of creating a ‘robust database’ for evaluation of future UAP.’
The director will not be named as members of the panel had received ‘harassment’ and ‘threats’ while working on the report, NASA officials said.