Sunday, September 17, 2023

NASA's UAP Independent Study Team produces its report

Establishment

UAP | Science Mission Directorate (nasa.gov)


On 9 June 2022, a NASA media release announced that an independent study team, was to be set up to examine UAP. Since then, the study team led by astrophysicist David Spergel has been looking at the broad question of:

 "...identifying available data, how to best collect future data and how NASA can use this data to move the scientific understanding of UAP's forward."

It was made clear, right from the start, that this study was not going to be examining current or past individual sightings.

NASA Media Advisory

NASA Media Advisory M23-115, dated 12 September 2023, was titled "NASA to release, discuss Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena report."

It advised that there would be a media briefing at 10 am EDT on Thursday 14th September 2023 to discuss the findings of the study team's report. An online copy of the report would be made available about a half hour prior to the briefing.

Briefing participants

* NASA Administrator Bill Nelson

* Nicola Fox, associate administrator Science Mission Directorate

* Dan Evans, assistant deputy associate administrator for research, Science Mission Directorate

* David Spergel, President Simons Foundation and Chair of the study team.

A video of the full briefing may be viewed here

What is in the report?

The report is 34 pages in length and is divided into the following seven sections:

1. Executive summary.

2. Foreword.

3. Introduction.

4. Response to statement of task.

5. Overall conclusions and recommendations.

6. Acknowledgements.

7. Work products: discussion.

Response to statement of task

The core of the report is the section "Response to statement of task." Here we find the eight questions posed to the Independent Study Team: their "Findings" and a rationale for those findings. 

Q1. What types of scientific data currently collected and archived by NASA or other civilian government entities should be synthesized and analyzed to potentially shed light on the nature and origins of Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP)?

FINDING:  NASA'S fleet of earth-observing satellites should play a powerful supporting role to determine the environmental conditions that coincide with UAP

FINDING:  It is essential to note the pivotal role that structured data curation plays in a rigorous and evidence-based framework to better understand UAP

Q2. What types of scientific data currently collected and held by non-profits and companies should be synthesized and analyzed to potentially shed light on the nature and origins of UAP?

FINDING:  The U.S. commercial remote-sensing industry offers a potent mix of Earth observing sensors that have the collective potential to directly resolve UAP events

FINDING:  The standardization of collected information via well-crafted calibration will make it possible to carry out a rigorous scientific investigation into UAP. NASA's experience in this area will be vital.

Q3. What other types of scientific data should be collected by NASA to enhance the potential for developing an understanding of the nature and origins of UAP?

FINDING:  NASA should leverage its considerable expertise in this domain to potentially utilize multispectral or hyperspectral data as part of a rigorous campaign

FINDING:  NASA’s expertise should be comprehensively leveraged as part of a robust and systematic data strategy within the whole-of-government framework

Q4. Which scientific analysis techniques currently in production could be employed to assess the nature and origins of UAP? Which types of analysis techniques should be developed?

FINDING:  AI and ML, combined with NASA's extensive expertise, should be utilized to investigate the nature and origins of UAP

FINDING:  NASA, with its expertise in data calibration, management, and advanced analysis is well-positioned to take a central role in these efforts.

Q5. In considering the factors above, what basic physical constraints can be placed on the nature and origins of UAP?

FINDING:  The panel regards placing physical constraints on UAP, together with the suite of plausible natures and origins, as being within reach

Q6. What civilian airspace data related to UAPs have been collected by government agencies and are available for analysis to a) inform efforts to better understand the nature and origins of UAPs, and b) determine the risk of UAPs to the National Air Space (NAS)?

FINDING:  With its world-leading expertise in data curation and organization, NASA is well-positioned to advise on the best methodologies for establishing repositories of civilian airspace data

Q7. What current reporting protocols and air traffic management (ATM) data acquisition systems can be modified to acquire additional data on past and future UAPs?

FINDING:  Leveraging the Aviation Safety Reporting System for commercial pilot UAP reporting would provide a critical database.

Q8. What potential enhancements to future ATM development efforts can be recommended to acquire data concerning future reported UAPs to assist in the effort to better understand the nature and origin of the UAPs

FINDING:  NASA’s strong partnership with the FAA will be pivotal to designing future air traffic management systems to acquire UAP data.

Director of UAP Research

So, what next? NASA now has to digest the findings, and recommendations of the Independent Study Team. One immediate action stated in the report advised that NASA "is appointing a Director of UAP Research." An updated NASA media release dated 14 September 2023, named the Director as Mark McInerney. The media release advised that:

"McInerney previously served as NASA’s liaison to the Department of Defense covering limited UAP activities for the agency. In the director role, he will centralize communications, resources, and data analytical capabilities to establish a robust database for the evaluation of future UAP. He also will leverage NASA’s expertise in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and space-based observation tools to support and enhance the broader government initiative on UAP. Since 1996, he has served various positions at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and the National Hurricane Center."

Comments:

1. NASA's Independent Study Team on UAP was a big step forward for the scientific study of UAP; while the report acknowledged that NASA's civilian efforts fall under the broader whole of government UAP role performed by AARO. 

2. Historically, NASA has been loath to touch the topic of UAP, despite the fact that several NASA employees have been active in UAP research over the years. Therefore, the immediate action of appointing a NASA Director of UAP Research is also recognition of the seriousness with which the agency is now taking UAP study.

3. For some, these steps of the Study Team; a production of their report; and the naming of a NASA Director of UAP Research, will not be sufficient. There is an element of the UAP community which has always felt that NASA has failed to disclose what it truly knows about UAP; namely that UAP are extraterrestrial spacecraft and have been observed in space and on the moon. 

4. In answering question 5 of the statement of task, there is a paragraph in the report which reads:

"If the whole-of-government framework to understanding UAP – with NASA playing a crucial role – were to implement the preponderance of steps prescribed above, then the panel regards placing physical constraints on UAP, together with the suite of plausible natures and origins, as being within reach." 

A very interesting statement. Give us the resources we ask for and we will give you the natures and origins of UAP. Does that include the possibility of an extraterrestrial origin? On page 25 we find:

"To date, in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, there is no conclusive evidence suggesting an extraterrestrial origin for UAP."

Again, on page 25 there is:

"That includes the question of whether UAP have an extraterrestrial origin. There is an intellectual continuum between hypothesizing that faraway extraterrestrial civilizations might produce detectable technologies, and looking for those technologies closer to home. But in the search for life beyond Earth, extraterrestrial life itself must be the hypothesis of last resort—the answer we turn to only after ruling out all other possibilities. As Sherlock Holmes said, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

 5. I look forward to seeing what the new NASA Director of UAP Research produces.

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