NASA is commissioning a study on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, known in common parlance as Unidentified Flying Objects or UFOs.
What Happened: The federal agency’s study team will begin examining the phenomena in early fall from a scientific perspective, according to a statement on Thursday.
NASA said that given the “limited number” of UFO sightings, it is difficult to draw scientific conclusions about their nature.
The team will be headed by astrophysicist David Spergel, a former chair of the astrophysics department at Princeton University, New Jersey.
Daniel Evans, the assistant deputy associate administrator for research at NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, will orchestrate the study.
“We will be identifying what data – from civilians, government, non-profits, companies – exists, what else we should try to collect, and how to best analyze it,” said Spergel.
The budget for the study would range from tens of thousands of dollars to $100,000, The Verge reported.
Why It Matters: The study on UFOs is expected to be completed in nine months and the findings will be shared with the public, according to the statement.
“All of NASA’s data is available to the public – we take that obligation seriously – and we make it easily accessible for anyone to see or study,” said Evans.
The agency said while it is not a part of the Department of Defense’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force or its successor, it has coordinated widely across government to embark on this scientific study.
Last month Tesla Inc TSLA and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said he had not seen any evidence of aliens.
“If we found aliens, probably SpaceX would get a ton more revenue,” Musk had said then.
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