Many Americans were disappointed by the recent Pentagon report and congressional hearings on unidentified flying objects, which failed to actually identify any of the strange things seen over U.S. airspace. Among the frustrated appear to be experts at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration who are now conducting their own report on UFOs to get a better sense of the truth that may or may not be out there.
On Friday, NASA announced plans to launch a study of reported UFO sightings this fall to improve aircraft safety amid semi-frequent reports of what the government calls unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAPs. “Unidentified phenomena in the atmosphere are of interest for many reasons,” NASA’s associate administrator for science missions Thomas Zurbuchen said in a press conference. “Frankly, I think there’s new science to be discovered. And there’s been many times where something that looked almost magical turned out to be a new scientific effect.” The agency estimates the inquiry will take nine months and burn up a meager $100,000 of its $25 billion budget.
NASA’s decision to launch its own study comes on the heels of a House hearing last month in which Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray said UFO sightings are “frequent and continuing.” While last year’s report from the Pentagon stated that military pilots had claimed 144 encounters with unknown fliers in recent years, Bray upped that number to over 400; there was no evidence that the UFOs were “non-terrestrial in origin,” he added, or that they demonstrated advanced technology from another nation. Unlike the House hearing, which involved a classified session following the open hearing, the NASA inquiry will be made entirely open to the public and will not use classified military data.