NASA UFO meeting: what has been announced by US space agency - and what is a UAP?
A panel of scientists are holding their first ever public meeting on their study into UFOs, ahead of their highly-anticipated full report
A team of NASA experts studying unclassified UFO sightings will hold their first public meeting, ahead of a report into their findings.
The sixteen-member panel was created in June 2022 to investigate unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAPs), the name given by NASA to what are commonly referred to as unidentified flying objects - or UFOs. The purpose of Wednesday’s (31 May) meeting, which can be watched live on the NASA YouTube channel, is to “hold final deliberations” before their highly-anticipated full report is released later this summer.
The NASA panel is separate from the Pentagon’s investigation into similar occurrences. It comes after the US Director of National Intelligence released a report in June 2021 stating that there was no explanation for at least a dozen incidents reported since 2004, with the potential their origins were extraterrestrial not ruled out.
At the beginning of the public NASA panel meeting, Dan Evans from NASA’s Science Mission Directorate said that the experts assembled as UAPs “raise concerns about the safety of our skies”. He added: "We have to determine if they pose any risks to air safety, to ensure our skies remain safe."
Mr Evans also noted the heightened public interest in the matter, but warned that the group’s purpose was to distinguish “fact from fiction”.
NASA has said that there has been around 800 UAP sighting reports made, with Sean Kirkpatrick, the director of the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office stating that they receive around "50 to 100-ish new reports each month". However, those which have been classed as "possibly really anomalous" are only two to five percent of the reports.
David Spergel, chair of UAPs panel, said that there was still a need to remove the stigma of reporting sightings. He said: “One of our goals is to remove the stigma because there is a need for high quality data to address important questions about UAPs.”
During a public questions session at the end of the meeting, experts fielded queries on the minds of enthusiasts and journalists. When asked if there is any suspicion that the unexplained UAP sightings could be extraterrestrial in origin, Mr Spergel confirmed that this is one of the biggest questions for the agency.
He said:"We now know that there are lots of planets out there, so there are lots of potential environments for life. We haven't found life beyond Earth yet, but we're looking".
At the close of the meeting, it was also confirmed that the panel would be publishing its full report in July.