Page:UAP Independent Study Team - Final Report.pdf/11

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Recently, many credible witnesses, often military aviators, have reported seeing objects they did not recognize over U.S. airspace. Most of these events have since been explained, but a small handful cannot be immediately identified as known human-made or natural phenomena. These events are now collectively referred to as Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena, or UAP[1].

A vital part of NASA's mission is exploring the unknown using the rigorous process of the scientific method. This means scrutinizing our assumptions and intuition; transparently and diligently collecting data; reproducing results; seeking independent evaluation; and finally, reaching a scientific consensus about the nature of an occurrence. The scientific method challenges us to solve problems by impartially evaluating our own ideas, by being willing to be wrong, and by following the data.

It is increasingly clear that the majority of UAP observations can be attributed to known phenomena or occurences. When it comes to studying such phenomena, our overarching challenge is that the data needed to explain these anomalous sightings often do not exist; this includes eyewitness reports, which on their own can be interesting and compelling, but are not reproducible and usually lack the information needed to make any definitive conclusions about a UAP's provenance. Thus, to understand UAP, a rigorous, evidence-based, data-driven scientific framework is essential.

This report offers a vision of how NASA could contribute to understanding the phenomena and how the agency's approach will complement the whole-of-government effort to understand UAP.

  1. At the time that this study was initiated, Congress defined UAP as Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. After this study began, the term UAP was redefined as Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena.