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These newer observations live within a historical context. For more than 50 years, global time series data gathered by NASA (with partners including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA]) have allowed researchers to examine trends within and across components of Earth's systems. Such long-term data sets help scientists better understand the evolving Earth, while also identifying natural and anthropogenic variability in the Earth system. Knowing that baseline allows researchers to detect and examine Earth's environment for anomalies. Examples of naturally occurring anomalies include events such as harmful algal blooms, hurricanes and typhoons, changes in the jet stream, drought and fire conditions, and bioluminescence in the ocean. Understanding the origins of such large-scale phenomena is at the heart of NASA's Earth science mission.

NASA has a long and successful record of partnering with other Federal agencies. In the study of UAP, the establishment of a NASA/AARO liaison will be an important step towards enabling interagency cooperation.

In addition to the Agency's Earth science research programs, NASA also supports programs in astrobiology. Some of these programs investigate life in extreme environments on Earth—with the hypothesis that such organisms and conditions could be analogs for habitable environments elsewhere in the universe. Other programs investigate the possibility that extraterrestrial life exists.

In astrophysics and space sciences, NASA is focused on understanding the universe. Looking for anomalies in both air and space will likely lead to novel discoveries; some might reveal entirely new physics, while others will be interesting and important even if their explanations lie in conventional physics. In time-domain astrophysics, researchers are increasingly interested in identifying unusual, transient events. At radio wavelengths, this includes the recent discovery of fast radio bursts, which astronomers are still struggling to understand. Recently, most innovation has been accomplished by combining information from multiple observatories that operate at different electromagnetic wavelengths, from radio and optical telescopes on the ground to ultraviolet and gamma-ray telescopes in space, and even with different messengers: neutrinos and gravitational waves. Observatories with extensive sky coverage and dense time coverage are ideal for spotting near-Earth objects with large proper motions and phenomena with anomalous time evolution. For example, the NASA Planetary Defense Coordination program is dedicated to leveraging NASA and partner astrophysical research assets to identify and classify near-Earth objects—such as asteroids—that move rapidly across the sky.

In addition to its extensive Federal and international partnerships, NASA is also uniquely capable of leveraging public and private partnerships—for example, working with commercial partners in Earth-observing satellite data. These collaborations could result in new technologies that may be useful in observing and understanding UAP. Partners, including other Federal agencies such as NOAA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), may collect data that could help to understand UAP. Moreover, NASA has a strong record of international collaboration, which could be beneficial, as the study of these phenomena would benefit from global cooperation and data sharing. Given NASA's experience with long-term scientific projects and missions, the Agency is well equipped to handle the extensive and ongoing study that UAP investigation likely requires.

Many scientists and aviators consider the study of UAP to be "fringe" at best. The panel heard a first-hand account of the type of stigma that may come from reporting UAP, which almost certainly leads to attrition in reporting.

Recently, the DoD began encouraging military aviators to disclose anomalies they encountered, which resulted in a significant increase in UAP reports: Between March 5, 2021, and August 30, 2022, DoD received a total of 247 new UAP reports, according to an analysis published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in 2022. In contrast, 263 reports had been filed in the 17 years prior to March 2021. Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick reported at this panel's public meeting that AARO has now collected more than 800 reported events. This includes the addition of data from the FAA. AARO and ODNI assess that the observed increase in the reporting rate is partially due to a