NASA held the first ever public UFO meeting. As noted by the speakers, high-quality data is needed to delve deeper into this topic. A special report summarizing the meeting is to be prepared in the coming weeks.
On Wednesday, the US space agency NASA held the first-ever public meeting and press conference on the “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” (UAP), which until recently was known as the more popular abbreviation UFO (Unidentified Flying Objects). In 2022, NASA appointed a special team to deal with this topic.
– We are just beginning to study UFOs scientifically and it took courage to overcome resistance – said before the conference Professor Abraham Loeb, head of the Galileo Project, a team of scientists studying UFOs and looking for traces of extraterrestrial technologies at Harvard University.
‘If I had to sum up what I think we’ve learned in one sentence, it’s that we need high-quality data,’ said panel chair David Spergel.
As indicated by NASA, the purpose of this four-hour public session at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., was to conduct “final deliberations” before the publication of the UFO report. As Dan Evans, a senior researcher at NASA, noted, scientists now face “several months of work”.
‘Current data collection efforts on the UAP are unsystematic and fragmented across agencies, often using uncalibrated instruments to collect scientific data,’ said Spergel.
The study of extraterrestrial objects
In 2017, the work of the then classified UAP team at the Pentagon was reported by the New York Times and published declassified recordings of mysterious phenomena encountered by pilots, which began the path of the UFO topic to the mainstream. While the article was criticized by experts as sensationalist, and later the recordings turned out to have mundane explanations, today the Pentagon team – expanded and with a larger budget – operates publicly, publishing periodic reports and appearing before Congress. “The only reason it hasn’t been done in the past is because no one has had the courage to say, let’s look at it, let’s do it scientifically,” Loeb said. As he argued, it was he who persuaded the deputy head of NASA, Thomas Zurbuchen, to draw attention to these phenomena. The agency’s response, he claimed, was disappointing. – They formed a committee to decide whether and how to investigate these phenomena. I just started doing it,’ noted the scientist. As part of the project, a whole observatory was created at the university from the beginning with a series of instruments to monitor the sky over the entire planet in order to collect detailed and diverse data on unexplained phenomena.
According to Loeb, this will solve the main problem with UAP observations – the lack of adequate data and measurements.
– My research differs from the Pentagon’s in that they look back and study phenomena that have already been recorded. Only they cannot go back in time and investigate these observations more thoroughly. We monitor the sky, trying to record it in real time, with the help of artificial intelligence algorithms – added Loeb.
The public is interested in it
The researcher claimed to be “agnostic” about the possibility of finding signs of extraterrestrial technology, but believes that research on this matter is needed, among other things, because of the huge public interest. – Research shows that 60 percent of Americans believe in the existence of intelligent life forms beyond Earth. This is more than people who believe in God, the scientist noted. He added that rich people from all over the world are even more interested in funding his research with multi-million amounts. Despite his UFO-agnosticism, Loeb has caused a stir and controversy in the scientific community on several occasions, mainly because of his theories about the mysterious extrasolar object Oumuamua that passed through the solar system. According to the researcher, the unusual shape, trajectory and acceleration of the object may indicate that it is an artificially created probe belonging to an alien civilization, moving using solar sails. He presented this hypothesis first in a scientific work, and then in the best-selling book “Extraterrestrial”. Such a hypothesis was also put forward in a paper written jointly with the head of the Pentagon’s UAP Office (AARO), Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick, in which he stated that Oumuamua could be one of hundreds of probes sent by the “mothership” of an alien – and perhaps already extinct – civilization to explore galaxies.
These publications evoked mixed reviews in the scientific community (his critics say there are other potential explanations for the Oumuamuy phenomenon), but they encouraged him to do more research. To this end, scientists from his team are to, among other things, comb the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, where fragments of a meteorite fell in 2014, which also revealed unusual properties and – according to Loeb – could be an artificially created object. So far, however, the results of the Pentagon’s analyzes and research on the UAP have not given any grounds to attribute these phenomena to extraterrestrial technologies. As Dr. Kirkpatrick testified in the US Senate, about half of the 650 sightings recorded so far have turned out to have mundane explanations (most are balloons), and only a few percent of them potentially betrayed advanced technical abilities. However, he put forward a hypothesis that they could be technological objects from China. As Loeb said, the analysis of the current data collected by the observatory at Harvard is still ongoing and their results will be published soon. However, he admitted that he personally had not seen any objects in the sky that betrayed an artificial extraterrestrial origin. Mick West, an author of books and a researcher who has been critically analyzing UFO cases for years, doubted that the search by a team from Harvard, NASA or the Pentagon would result in finding traces of alien civilizations. “Loeb would definitely like it to be aliens, but I expect we’ll get more aerial images and sightings of birds, balloons and stuff like that.” He explained that the cases of “mysterious” phenomena that had been solved so far turned out to owe their mystery to illusions and distortions of cameras and sensors. However, he added that initiatives such as NASA and the Pentagon could be useful in adding scientific rigor to these observations. In his opinion, although it all started with sensational narratives and speculations about aliens, these investigations matter for other reasons. – The Chinese spy balloon case showed that there are real national security problems with the UFO issue. We know that there is also a problem not only with balloons, but also with drones and other technologies that can penetrate our airspace – said West. “So even though it’s all mixed up with UFOs and aliens, it’s really serious stuff,” he added.
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