NASA scientists are soliciting the public’s experiences and reports on unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAP), often referred to as unidentified flying objects or UFOs. By encouraging more open dialogue on the topic, NASA aims to dismantle the existing stigma surrounding UAP sightings.
Nicola Fox, the Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate expressed this sentiment succinctly, stating that, “At NASA, we’re scientists, we love data. And if there is something that needs to be reported, we want people to feel they can report that.”
Recently, the space agency held a briefing to inform the public about a long-awaited report on UAP. The completion of this report, a global initiative that took a year to finish, signifies an attempt to demystify the enigma surrounding UAP.
Using unclassified scientific data, the report aims to establish an understanding of what these sightings could be, or whether there’s any credence to theories about their extraterrestrial origins. The report finds that the current evidence falls short of high-quality confirmation due to factors such as poor sensor calibration, inadequate measurement data, and lack of baseline data. This lack of solid evidence furthers the report’s conclusion that no peer-reviewed scientific literature has provided substantial evidence of an extraterrestrial origin for UAP.
Looking to enhance the UAP data, the report recommends leveraging existing sky-monitoring technology and even the creation of a UAP-dedicated smartphone app.
This approach would capitalize on modern crowdsourcing techniques, and could harness the global reach of smartphone users. The concept aims to gather imaging data and other sensor metadata to bolster a more extensive and reliable body of evidence.
Examining the public fascination with otherworldly life and UAP, the report discusses the cosmic folklore that fuels the intrigue. Bill Nelson, NASA’s Administrator, references the allure of fictional stories like ‘Indiana Jones’ and his findings of a ‘Crystal Skull’. This is why NASA is drawn to explore UAP phenomena from a scientific perspective.
Currently, UAP data is compiled through sky-monitoring technology and pilot reports, both civilian and military. Yet, NASA affirms that many sightings go unreported due to stigma, resulting in a meagre body of data for analysis. David Spergel, President of Simons Foundation and Chair of NASA’s UAP independent study team noted, “The current approach to UAP data collection has led to a limited sample of events and limited data. We know there’s missing data.”
NASA hopes to counteract this stigma by urging the public and pilots alike to report any anomalous sightings, including integrating UAP reporting into the general aviation system. The interest of NASA in the study of UAP gives the topic academic credibility, which Fox believes will prove instrumental in dispelling stigma associated with UAP reporting. According to Fox, NASA’s involvement “will play a vital role in reducing stigma, which almost certainly leads to data attrition at present.”
Thus, NASA’s credibility and public trust are key to de-stigmatizing UAP reporting and fostering a more inclusive environment where citizens are comfortable sharing their experiences with UAPs.