Nasa briefs public on UFO study before releasing final report

Several people on 16-member team have been subjected to 'online abuse'

A sign directs travellers to the start of the '1947 UFO Crash Site Tours' in Roswell, New Mexico. AP
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A panel formed by Nasa last year to study “unidentified anomalous phenomena”, popularly known as UFOs, briefed the public on Wednesday ahead of a report that will be published in July.

Several people on the 16-member team have been subjected to "online abuse" due to the subject of the study, which Nasa's Dan Evans said detracts from the scientific process.

“It’s precisely this rigorous, evidence-based approach that allows one to separate the fact from fiction," Mr Evans said.

The panel was formed in June 2022 to examine UFOs after the US Defence Department released videos of UFOs during a congressional hearing on the mysterious objects.

“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,” Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate administrator for science at Nasa headquarters in Washington, said when the panel was formed.

The term UFO has since been replaced with UAP by the US to determine unidentified objects. The new designation suggests that sightings other than those that were airborne may be included.

Nasa also warned the public to not jump to any conclusions about aliens in space.

“There is no evidence UAPs are extraterrestrial in origin,” the agency said.

Nasa defines a UAP as “observations of events in the sky that cannot be identified as aircraft or known natural phenomena from a scientific perspective”.

Nasa said collecting more data on UAPs can be used to align with the agency's goals of ensuring the safety of aircraft.

Reuters contributed to this report

Updated: May 31, 2023, 4:31 PM