NASA astrobiologist recommends search for alien ‘artifacts’ in our solar system.
Back in 2022, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) arranged for a team of scientists to spend nine months evaluating unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAPs (also known as UFOs/Unidentified Flying Objects).
The panel just held its first public meeting to discuss its findings.
The main takeaway from the meeting was that we simply don’t have enough data to identify and explain UAPs. “The current data collection efforts about UAPs are unsystematic and fragmented across various agencies, often using instruments uncalibrated for scientific data collection,” said David Spergel, who leads the group.
Historically, UAPs have rarely been studied with rigour, and all the data has never been gathered in one place before. Now that the group has gathered the data, researchers can begin to take a closer look and try to figure out what UAPs are.
The events the team has managed to look into in detail are traceable back to mundane sources – commercial aircraft, balloons, even radiation from microwave ovens. So far, there is no evidence that any UAP has anything to do with anything extraterrestrial, several of the team members emphasised.
It is being reported that several panelists were subjected to unspecified “online abuse” and harassment since beginning their work in June of last year.
“It is really disheartening to hear of the harassment that our panelists have faced online because they’re studying this topic,” NASA’s science chief, Nicola Fox, said in her opening remarks. “Harassment only leads to further stigmatization.”
The greatest challenge panel members cited, however, was a dearth of scientifically reliable methods for documenting UFOs, typically sightings of what appear as objects moving in ways that defy the bounds of known technologies and laws of nature.
The underlying problem, they said, is that the phenomena in question are generally being detected and recorded with cameras, sensors and other equipment not designed or calibrated to accurately observe and measure such peculiarities.
Perhaps the most interesting discussion focused on the metallic orbs the U.S. military is tracking all over the world.
This is a typical example of the thing that we see most of,’ Kirkpatrick told NASA’s UAP panel. ‘We see these all over the world.’
‘And we see these making very interesting apparent maneuvers,’ Kirkpatrick added. ‘This one in particular, however, I would point out, demonstrated no enigmatic technical capabilities and was no threat to airborne safety.
‘Being able to come to some conclusion is going to take time,’ he said, ‘until we can get better resolved data on similar objects that we can then do a larger analysis on.’
Kirkpatrick also told the panel that AARO is receiving, on average, about 50 to 100 reports of UAPs per month — a figure which means that roughly one truly weird, inexplicable case is arriving on their desks each week.
He also noted that there were occasional spikes in sightings, coinciding with events like Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite launches or the frenzy over China’s spy balloon this past February.
Interestingly, one of the panelists wants NASA to expand its interest in the subject far beyond Earth’s atmosphere.
One member of the panel, astrobiologist David Grinspoon, an advisor to NASA on space exploration strategy, offered much more cosmic recommendations than his peers during today’s public meeting.
Grinspoon noted that he and his colleagues’ search for ‘biosignatures’ and ‘technosignatures’ of extraterrestrial life out in the wider universe could play a significant role by assisting and collaborating with the investigation of local UAP.
‘While at present there is no evidence suggesting an extraterrestrial source for UAPs,’ Grinspoon said, ‘these existing NASA programs are relevant to the question.’
Grinspoon told the panel that it would be ‘plausible’ to find ‘extraterrestrial artifacts’ made by an alien civilization in our solar system. NASA, he said, should include attempts to search and identify any such artifacts in future planetary exploration missions.
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