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NASA and UFOs: Space agency to take closer look

NASA and UFOs

NASA and UFOs might (or might not) sound like an odd combination. But the space agency now intends to take a closer look at the phenomenon. That’s according to Bill Nelson, who was sworn in as the new NASA Administrator as recently as May 3, 2021. Nelson, a former Florida senator and spaceflight veteran, told CNN’s Rachel Crane on June 3 that he doesn’t know – and no one knows — the identity of the high-speed objects that have been observed by Navy pilots. These objects, called UAPs (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) by the Navy, are the subject of yet another pending report, this one by the U.S. Pentagon. That report – called the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF) report – is to be submitted to Congress by June 25.

UFOs have been in the news a lot in recent weeks.

The New York Times provided a brief preview of the UAPTF report on June 3. It focuses on the now-famous sightings by U.S. Navy pilots and even militaries from other countries. The U.S. Navy and Pentagon both have verified that the sightings are real. However, as of now, they are still unexplained.

In the past few years, at least since this story first broke in the New York Times on December 16, 2017, the momentum has been building for continued investigation. Officials have spoken publicly about unclassified aspects of the sightings. Several senators, both Democrat and Republican, have acknowledged being given classified briefings.

Now, NASA has entered the conversation. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson himself told CNN on June 3 that he has directed NASA scientists to become more involved. Nelson wants NASA researchers to explore new lines of questioning regarding UAPs.

It’s an unusual position for NASA, but many welcome it.

Bill Nelson supports NASA investigation

Nelson said that since it isn’t known what these objects are, they should be investigated. He said he thinks he “would know if these things were extraterrestrial in origin,” but also that it is premature to rule out that possibility. Why did he say “he would know?” According to CNN, five sources familiar with preliminary results of the Pentagon’s ongoing investigation said US intelligence officials found no evidence that the UFOs are alien spacecraft. But, they said, investigators also have not reached a definitive assessment as to what these mysterious objects might be.

The June 3 New York Times article said something similar. It’s the same statement that scientists have been making for years on the subject of UFOs. That is, while an ET origin hasn’t been proven, it can’t be ruled out, either. Nelson stated that:

We don’t know if it’s extraterrestrial. We don’t know if it’s an enemy. We don’t know if it’s an optical phenomenon. We don’t think [it’s an optical phenomenon] because of the characteristics that those Navy jet pilots described … And so the bottom line is, we want to know.

Black oval shape with gray clouds in background and white text.
Still frame from the Gimbal infrared (FLIR) video, taken by a Navy fighter pilot in 2015 off the coast of Florida/Georgia. Image via Department of Defense/ NBC News.
Dark oblong object on gray background with white text.
Still frame from the Nimitz infrared (FLIR) video, taken by a fighter pilot off the coast of California in 2004. The multiple objects seen were described as looking like “tic-tacs.” Image via Department of Defense/ US Navy/ Space.com.

We all want to know

NASA press secretary Jackie McGuinness also said:

There’s not really a lot of data and … scientists should be free to follow these leads, and it shouldn’t be stigmatized. This is a really interesting phenomenon and Americans are clearly interested in it [so if] the scientists want to investigate, they should.

On a related note, former astronaut and now senator Mark Kelly also said that he is interested in reading the UAPTF report when it comes out.

Smiling man in suit and tie with American flag behind him.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson says that he wants the space agency to take a closer look at UFO reports. Image via NASA/ Bill Ingalls.

Tic-tacs and ‘cubes-in-spheres’

The Navy reports include the FLIR1 “tic-tac” objects seen in 2004 near the Nimitz and Princeton warships during training off the coast of California. Oblong and smooth white objects about 40 feet long, with no visible wings, tails, rotors or engines. Pilots said they were making erratic maneuvers “like a bouncing ping-pong ball.” Multiple objects were tracked on radar and other sensors descending from 80,000 feet to sea level in only a couple of seconds or less.

Read a detailed forensic analysis of the incident at the Scientific Coalition for Ufology.

In 2014 and 2015, Navy pilots reported many unusual incidents off the U.S. east coast, to the point it became a safety hazard. These incidents reportedly continued for a couple of years. They include the ones that the famous Gimbal and Go Fast video snippets are from. In one incident, an object described as a “dark cube inside a translucent sphere” was seen passing between two F-18 fighter planes only a couple of hundred feet or so apart. It reportedly did not show up on radar, making it a possible safety hazard.

What might have been the same kind of objects were also tracked on radar, hovering, then sometimes suddenly descending or accelerating to supersonic speeds. They would move in “racetrack”-like patterns, all day long, according to the pilots.

The U.S. Department of Defense had previously authenticated these three initial videos: FLIR1, Gimbal and Go Fast. They were officially released on April 27, 2020. The original video files are on the Naval Air Systems Command website.

You can watch an interview with three of the Navy pilots on 60 Minutes for May 16, 2021.

NASA and UFOs, former astronaut Mark Kelly.
Former astronaut and now senator Mark Kelly wants to read the upcoming UAPTF report. Image via Nick Oza/ The Republic/ Azcentral.

So, what are they?

Most people tend to automatically think of aliens when they hear the term UFO or UAP. But the key letter in those acronyms is “U.” They are truly just unidentified. Most sightings can be explained as misperceptions of mundane phenomena. Some are hoaxes. But others defy those explanations. Some of the more bizarre Navy cases make up some of those so-far-unexplained reports.

The UAPTF report will focus on sightings by Navy and other military witnesses during the past 20 years. It will cover at least 120 such incidents where these unidentified craft have repeatedly entered restricted military airspace. Is it secret US technology being tested, adversarial technology from Russia or China or “someone else?” For the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Navy, it is primarily a national security issue.

In other words, the reports describe aerial technology that appears to be far in advance of any currently known. Is it possible that Russia or China have leap-frogged the US? Or do these objects come from somewhere else? Similar reports, from both the military and civilians, go back to at least the late 1940s.

The most recent NYT story indicated that the secret US technology theory is unsupported, at least for the vast majority of cases. In some instances, foreign drones or balloons seem likely, given the increasing use of such technology by countries to spy on each other. But other cases are still more difficult to explain.

Maybe NASA can help find some answers.

Four flying saucers with Chinese flag in background.
On June 4, 2021, China also announced that it has its own task force to investigate UFOs, using artificial intelligence. Image via Shutterstock/ South China Morning Post.

Bottom line: In the public’s mind, NASA and UFOs go hand-in-hand. But there’s been no true connection, until now. Now NASA Administrator Bill Nelson wants the space agency to start taking a closer look at UFO reports, such as the ones coming from Navy pilots in recent years.

Read more: US Pentagon UFO report due in June

Via CNN

Via YouTube

Via New York Times

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