NASA Launches UFO Study

Photo: Shutterstock [via ZDNet]

The Facts

  • On Monday, NASA launched a nine-month study of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) — commonly known as UFOs — led by 16 of the "world's leading scientists, data and artificial intelligence practitioners, [and] aerospace safety experts."

  • The panel — chaired by astrophysicist David Spergel — includes former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, biological oceanographer Paula Bontempi, and astrophysicist Shelley Wright.

The Spin

Narrative A

NASA was created to uncover the previously unknown, and this team of researchers is the next step in a long history of world-changing explorations. Beyond the exciting potential for extraterrestrial findings, the national security implications are severe, given the possibility of these UFOs being foreign military aircraft.

Narrative B

While it's nice to see NASA providing researchers interested in UFOs a legitimate platform, NASA isn't actually looking for anything special, as evident from its exclusion of classified data. The small budget, mixed with the limited amount of material to study, shows this is NASA simply throwing a bone at the recently-intrigued public.

Nerd narrative

There's a 7% chance that alien technosignatures will be detected before 2050, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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