NASA says UFOs are not of extraterrestrial origins, so far

By Mayank Chhaya-

A NASA study says it does not know what all the various unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAP), better known as UFOs, are but it also says there is no reason to conclude that they are of extraterrestrial origins.

“At this point there is no reason to conclude that existing UAP reports have an extraterrestrial source. However, if we acknowledge that as one possibility, then those objects must have traveled through our solar system to get here. Just as the galaxy does not stop at the outskirts of the solar system, the solar system also includes Earth and its environs. Thus, there is an intellectual continuum between extrasolar technosignatures, solar system SETI, and potential unknown alien technology operating in Earth’s atmosphere. If we recognize the plausibility of any of these, then we should recognize that all are at least plausible,” the 36-page UFO study report says.

NASA administrator Bill Nelson while citing the findings of the report told a news conference today, “But we don’t know what these UAP are.”

The tone of the news conference was predictably rational and scientific without ruling in or out anything based on facts as they have them so far. Nelson, however, said a few times in his personal capacity that given the vastness of the universe he believes there could be alien life.

Nicola Fox, the associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said: “UAP are one of our planet’s greatest mysteries” mainly because of the lack of high-quality data. She said there was not yet enough data “to make definitive scientific conclusions about the nature and origin of UAP.”

“The top takeaway from the study is that there is a lot more to learn,” Nelson said, adding, “The NASA independent study team did not find any evidence that UAP have an extraterrestrial origin, but we don’t know what these UAP are.”

NASA has appointed its first director of UAP research, essentially someone in charge of UFO studies but for now has refrained from making public the person’s name considering the kind of often explosive and threatening social media trolling that occurs on the subject.

It is a curious construct to say on the one hand that so far aliens do not exist, but they might. However, that is the very nature of finding definitive evidence of alien visitations. As part of NASA’s efforts to destigmatize the sightings of UPA by people across the world, the agency is taking the lead on the matter with Nelson saying it will focus on science rather than sensationalism.

The goal is to “shift the conversation about UAP from sensationalism to science” Nelson said.

“There is a mindset. We all are entertained by Indiana Jones in the Amazon, and finding the Crystal Skull, so there’s a lot of folklore out there. That’s why we entered the arena, to try to get into this from a science point of view,” he said.

The report is a result of a nine-month-long study by 16 experts. In the aftermath of its release among the things NASA proposes to do is to crowdsource with opensource phone apps that can be used to “gather imaging data and other smartphone sensor data from multiple citizen observers as part of a wider effort to more systematically gather public UAP reports.”

David Spergel, president of Simons Foundation, who headed the panel, said most UAP had a logical scientific explanation.

“It is essential to clarify, based on current findings and methodology, that we find no evidence to suggest that UAP are extraterrestrial in origin,” he said.

“Most events are explainable as planes, balloons, drones, weather phenomenon and instrument features. In any search for interesting anomalies the first step is to eliminate the chaff of conventional events before moving on to identify novel phenomena. In this, the public’s role cannot be overstated,” he said.

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