NASA study group set to release report on UAPs, or UFOs

Washington — An independent group of scientists and experts convened by NASA is set to release its report on efforts to track unidentified anomalous phenomena, or UAPs, amid growing calls for more transparency into the strange encounters.

UAPs, the government’s official name for what were formerly known as UFOs, have attracted enormous interest from the public, the military and lawmakers over the past several years as hundreds of pilots have reported their experiences with objects of unexplained origin.

NASA formed the group of 16 experts last year to examine how data about UAPs is collected across the government and private sector. Formally known as the Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena Independent Study, the group’s final report is set to be released publicly at 9:30 a.m. ET on Thursday. NASA officials will discuss the findings at a briefing beginning at 10 a.m., which will be streamed live in the player above.

The space agency defines UAPs as “observations of events in the sky that cannot be identified as aircraft or known natural phenomena from a scientific perspective.” The group was tasked with “identify[ing] how data gathered by civilian government entities, commercial data, and data from other sources can potentially be analyzed to shed light on UAPs,” NASA said when the study began. Thursday’s report, NASA noted, “is not a review or assessment of previous unidentifiable observations.”

Members held their first and only public meeting about their work in May and stressed the need for better data about UAPs across the board, including better photos and videos of the incidents. One scientist stressed that the group hadn’t seen “any evidence that indicates that UAPs have anything to do with extraterrestrial phenomena.” The experts did not have access to classified information.

The NASA group is separate from a military effort aimed at better understanding the objects. The Pentagon’s All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office said in May that it has collected roughly 800 reports of strange objects or other phenomena. Most end up having innocuous explanations, but many others remain explained.

Interest in UAPs spiked in July, when a former intelligence officer and two pilots testified before a House panel about their experiences. Lawmakers convened the hearing to pressure the executive branch to disclose more of what it knows about UAPs to Congress.

David Grusch, who served for 14 years as an intelligence officer in the Air Force and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, told a subcommittee of the House Oversight Committee that he had learned of a “multi-decade UAP crash retrieval and reverse-engineering program” during the course of his work. He claimed he had interviewed officials who had direct knowledge of aircraft with “nonhuman” origins, and that so-called “biologics” were recovered from some craft. 

A spokeswoman for AARO denied his claims, and said the office is “committed to timely and thorough reporting to Congress.”

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