NASA's science panel to investigate UFOs will start work this fall using AI

It's about time.
Brad Bergan
NASA's logo on a space telescope (left), and a computer generated image of UFOs (right).1, 2

NASA is going to hunt UFOs with artificial intelligence.

We live in an era where the rapid advance of cutting-edge technology can help answer questions that have gone unanswered for decades.

This is why NASA commissioned a team of scientists to investigate unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) — also known as UFOs. But crucially, once the investigation begins this fall, the scientific community will look for ways to apply artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to tackle the UFO conundrum, according to comments from Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's associate administrator for the Science Mission DIrectorate, spoken in a meeting of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine's Space Studies Board, on a live broadcast from the agency.

NASA's new science panel on UFOs is 'cleanly and solidly high risk, high impact'

There is a wide spectrum of questions surrounding the litany of UFO sightings to be explored. And some will analyze the existing data to decide which datasets could be explored with AI. There was also a news conference at 1:00 PM EDT that was broadcast on the agency's live stream.

"Imagine a grad student somewhere who's standing up looking at their data and all of a sudden, they find that whatever they find in their data opposes some of the leaders in the field," said Zurbuchen, during the broadcast. "It's very hard to support those grad students to go publish it, and I want you to know that's what we want to have happen, because it's better for science than somehow taking a circle around that."

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For Zurbuchen, the new science panel's work is "cleanly and solidly in high risk, high impact research". David Spergel, an astrophysicist from Princeton University, will lead the panel. Assisting him will be Daniel Evans, assistant deputy associate administrator for research with NASA.

"NASA believes that the tools of scientific discovery are powerful and apply here also," said Zurbuchen in a blog post from NASA accompanying the initial remarks on the science panel. "We have access to a broad range of observations of Earth from space — and that is the lifeblood of scientific inquiry. We have the tools and team who can help us improve our understanding of the unknown. That's the very definition of what science is. That's what we do."

The US government is finally getting serious about UFOs

This comes less than a month after a U.S. House panel held the first public hearing  on UFOs in half a century, which found that it was time to end the atmosphere of "excessive secrecy" around sightings of UAPs.

And it makes sense — if we're agreed that UFOs are a real happening in the real world, then whatever they really are, we'll need to find ways of implementing today's most advanced technology like artificial intelligence to confront the challenge. Here's hoping we get definitive and concrete answers within our lifetime.

This was developing news about NASA's latest and forthcoming efforts to analyze UFOs using artificial intelligence and was regularly updated as new information became available.

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