At an unusual public meeting in Washington, a panel of experts commissioned by NASA to look into the delicate issue of UFOs hammered Wednesday the need to collect more data to be able to explain these phenomena in the future. "Existing data and witness accounts are insufficient to provide conclusive evidence about the nature and origin of each event," said David Spergel, astrophysicist in charge of chairing this work. “We need high quality data. »
A report should be published during the summer, which should detail how to get there. NASA announced the launch of this work on unidentified flying objects last year, and in October appointed no less than 16 experts to carry it out. Among them, eminent scientists, but also officials from the American civil aviation regulator (FAA), or even former astronaut Scott Kelly.
Their purpose is not to review one by one the events observed in the past in an attempt to explain them. It is to make recommendations to NASA on how to study them rigorously in the future. The subject is very serious, underlined the American space agency: it concerns both national security and that of air traffic. But it also arouses a strong interest because of the word UFO, very connoted. The official term has also been replaced by "unidentified anomalous phenomena".
"At present, we have no explicit data to suggest there is a connection between unidentified anomalous phenomena and extraterrestrial life," said David Grinspoon, one of the panel scientists. For David Spergel, the difficulty of tackling this question lies in the fact that some "are convinced of the existence of UFOs", while at the opposite extreme, others find the subject "ridiculous". Nicola Fox, associate administrator at NASA, opened the session by condemning the online harassment of panel members.
Some 800 unidentified aerial phenomena have been collected, said Wednesday Sean Kirkpatrick, director of the office dedicated to this question within the Ministry of Defense (AARO). But only “maybe between 2% and 5%” are “truly abnormal,” he said. He screened two videos. A first showed a spherical object seen in the Middle East in 2022, still unexplained to this day. A second video showed three dots appearing to move back and forth in an enigmatic fashion. They were actually planes in an air corridor, whose back and forth movements were caused by oscillations of the sensor itself, he explained.
The meeting, which lasted several hours on Wednesday, was broadcast live on the Internet, and a portion was dedicated to questions from the public. This transparency is highlighted by the US space agency, which emphasizes the need to "de-stigmatize" the subject. The panel's work is based solely on public data, so that it can be freely discussed and accessible to all, said Daniel Evans, in charge of coordinating the study for NASA.