A year after conducting research into unexplained sightings, NASA has held its first public meeting on UFOs.
The space agency televised the four-hour-long hearing on Wednesday, with an independent panel of experts at NASA headquarters in Washington and remote participation from the public.
The team included 16 scientists and other experts selected by NASA, including retired astronaut Scott Kelly, the first American to spend nearly a year in space.
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Panel chair David Spergel said the panel looked at the available unclassified information on the subject and how much more information was needed to understand what was happening in the skies.
No secret military data such as anything around the suspect spy balloon Planes from China, which were spotted flying over the U.S. earlier this year, are also included.
However, the team said they have seen a spike in reported sightings since then, with the DoD’s Domain-Wide Anomaly Resolution Office — which is also separately investigating NASA — receiving about 800 sightings to date events, but only a fraction of them contain signals that could be considered “abnormal”.
During the meeting, experts were asked about a range of topics, including why they called them UAPs and not UFOs, and what they would do if NASA did find aliens.
Assistant Deputy Administrator for Research Dr. Daniel Evans said they no longer use the term UFO (Unidentified Flying Object) because of the stigma attached to the term.
Instead, they chose to use the term unidentified anomalous phenomenon (UAP) because the subject was “serious business,” he said.
On what they would do if extraterrestrial life was found, astrobiologist Dr. David Greenspoon said NASA would be “highly motivated” to share the evidence.
He cited an example from 1996, when NASA scientists thought they had found signs of possible life on Mars in a meteorite.
That set off a big presidential press conference involving the space agency, and if something like that happened during the study, “that would have happened,” he said.
“If we find something, we’ll try to make sure we’re right, and then we’ll let the public know loudly and proudly.”
To make the discovery, Dr Spergel said NASA was “looking for any form of life”.
“Finding life is a very important thing. We haven’t found life beyond Earth,” he said. “But we’re looking.”
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However, Dr Evans said firmly: “I want to stress this point loud and proud: there is absolutely no convincing evidence that extraterrestrial life is associated with unidentified objects, which dashes our hopes of getting any closer to first contact.” .”
He went on to lament that several committee members have been subjected to “cyber abuse” for serving on the team, which is detrimental to the scientific process.
He said NASA security is working on the matter.
“It’s this rigorous, evidence-based approach that allows people to separate fact from fiction,” Dr Evans said.
A final report is expected to be released by the end of July, followed by a meeting to discuss its findings.