NASA team is set to study mysterious unidentified flying objects

The ultimate purpose of the group will be to recommend a roadmap for potential UAP data analysis.
Loukia Papadopoulos

NASA has put together an independent study team on unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) that will begin its research on Monday, October 24, according to a statement by the Space Agency published on Friday. The assignment will run for nine months and will lay the groundwork for future study on the nature of UAPs.

Recommending a road map

The ultimate purpose of the group will be to recommend a roadmap for potential UAP data analysis by the agency going forward and will focus solely on unclassified data. Once the research has been completed, a full report will be released to the public in mid-2023.

“Exploring the unknown in space and the atmosphere is at the heart of who we are at NASA,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Understanding the data we have surrounding unidentified aerial phenomena is critical to helping us draw scientific conclusions about what is happening in our skies. Data is the language of scientists and makes the unexplainable, explainable.”

The NASA official responsible for leading the study is Daniel Evans, the assistant deputy associate administrator for research at NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. The independent study team will be further chaired by David Spergel, president of the Simons Foundation.

“NASA has brought together some of the world's leading scientists, data and artificial intelligence practitioners, aerospace safety experts, all with a specific charge, which is to tell us how to apply the full focus of science and data to UAP,” said Evans.

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The team

The members of NASA’s team are:

  • David Spergel will be the chair of NASA's independent study. He is the president of the Simons Foundation where he was the founding director of its Flatiron Institute for Computational Astrophysics.
  • Anamaria Berea is an associate professor of Computational and Data Science at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. She is a research affiliate with the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, and a research investigator with Blue Marble Space Institute of Science in Seattle.
  • Federica Bianco is a joint professor at the University of Delaware in the Department of Physics and Astrophysics, the Biden School of Public Policy and Administration and a Senior Scientist at the Multi-city Urban Observatory.
  • Paula Bontempi has been a biological oceanographer for more than 25 years.
  • Reggie Brothers is the operating partner at AE Industrial Partners in Boca Raton, Florida. He previously served as CEO and board member of in Columbia, Maryland.
  • Jen Buss is the CEO of the Potomac Institute of Policy Studies in Arlington, Virginia.
  • Nadia Drake is a freelance science journalist and contributing writer at National Geographic.
  • Mike Gold is the executive vice president of Civil Space and External Affairs at Redwire in Jacksonville, Florida.
  • David Grinspoon is a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tuscon, Arizona, and serves as a frequent advisor to NASA on space exploration.
  • Scott Kelly is a former NASA astronaut, test pilot, fighter pilot, and retired U.S. Navy captain.
  • Matt Mountain is the president of The Association of Universities for Research and Astronomy, known as AURA.
  • Warren Randolph is the deputy executive director of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Accident Investigation and Prevention for Aviation Safety department.
  • Walter Scott is the executive vice president and chief technology officer of Maxar in Westminster, Colorado, a space technology company that specializes in earth intelligence and space infrastructure.
  • Joshua Semeter is a professor of electrical and computer engineering as well as the director of the Center for Space Physics at Boston University.
  • Karlin Toner is the acting executive director of the FAA’s Office of Aviation Policy and Plans.
  • Shelley Wright is an associate professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego’s Center for Astrophysics and Space Studies.
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