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    The mega ‘alien hunt’ is ON! NASA team to gather data on ‘Unidentified Aerial Phenomena’ – What’s next?

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    A year later now, NASA has breathed life into the conversation once again as it has announced to put together a team that will scientifically study the unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs), commonly known as unidentified flying objects (UFOs).

    Aliens and UFOs have always been a fascinating subject and a ticket for successful movie plots. For decades, many have assumed aliens to be mythical creatures, while there are also people who claimed to have seen them and met them. There have been many alleged UFO sightings as is seen in a number of documentaries around the same subject, but there was never any concrete proof/ confirmation from the government or an official source. However, the conversation around the ‘life outside earth’ topic became real in 2021, when the Pentagon released three Navy videos of unknown objects flying in the sky.

    A year later now, NASA has breathed life into the conversation once again as it has announced to put together a team that will scientifically study the unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs), commonly known as unidentified flying objects (UFOs). In the first such study, an independent team of researchers and scientists will focus on identifying the already available data on UAPs, and how that data can be used to gain a more scientific understanding of the UAPs.  

    According to NASA’s website, this team will be led by astrophysicist David Spergel, who was previously the chair of the astrophysics department at Princeton University in New Jersey. Daniel Evans, who is the assistant deputy associate administrator for research at NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, will serve as NASA’s official responsible for orchestrating the study.

    Spergel has stressed that the first task for NASA is to just gather the most robust set of data that they can find. This data will be collected from all kinds of sources including the civilians, government, non-profits, companies etc. The team will then focus on the best way to analyse all the collected data.  The study will probably take about nine months to complete. The exciting part of the news is that this data will be up for everyone to see.

    Consistent with the space agency’s principles of openness, transparency, and scientific integrity, Evans revealed that this report will be made public as all of NASA’s data is available to the public and they take that obligation seriously. He said that NASA will make it easily accessible for anyone to see or study.

    According to media reports, Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s science mission chief, has acknowledged the fact that the traditional scientific community may see the space agency as “kind of selling out” by venturing into the controversial topic. Zurbuchen has said that NASA is trying to start an investigation without an outcome in mind, reported Reuters. During a National Academy of Sciences webcast, Zurbuchen said that NASA is not shying away from reputational risk and their strong belief is that the biggest challenge of these phenomena is that it’s a data-poor field.

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