On Thursday, NASA formally joined the quest to investigate unidentified flying objects (UFOs). However, due to the lingering stigma surrounding this field, the US space agency initially withheld the identity of the individual leading the new program focused on tracking these enigmatic aerial phenomena.
This appointment stems from a comprehensive year-long NASA inquiry into what it terms “unidentified anomalous phenomena” or UAPs. Bill Nelson, the head of the agency, expressed NASA’s inherent curiosity, stating, “At NASA, exploration and the pursuit of understanding are ingrained in our DNA.”
In a report compiled by an independent team of 16 researchers, it was concluded that the exploration of UAPs necessitates a meticulous, evidence-based methodology. NASA, with its advanced satellite capabilities and technical resources, is strategically positioned to assume a prominent role in this endeavor. Nonetheless, NASA emphasized in its report that any notions of potential extraterrestrial origins should only be considered as a last resort, after all other possibilities have been exhaustively explored. Nelson emphasized, “We aim to shift the discourse on UAPs from sensationalism to science.”
Although NASA initially kept the identity of the program’s leader under wraps, it later disclosed that Mark McInerney had been appointed as the Director of UAP Research. McInerney has held government positions since 1996 and has served as NASA’s liaison to the Pentagon on UAP matters.
While NASA has a rich history of exploring the cosmos, the investigation into the source, nature, and purpose of an increasing number of unexplained flying objects on Earth presents unique challenges. Both military and civilian pilots have reported numerous perplexing sightings. However, decades of alien-themed movies and science fiction literature have led the public to largely dismiss the subject as the domain of fringe enthusiasts. This atmosphere elucidates NASA’s initial decision to keep the lead UAP official’s identity confidential.
Daniel Evans, a contributor to NASA’s report leading to this announcement, stressed the importance of ensuring that scientific processes and methodologies remain unfettered, citing instances of threats and harassment that have gone beyond acceptable bounds.
Over the past 27 years, more than 800 “events” have been documented, of which an estimated two to five percent are considered potentially anomalous, as defined by team member Nadia Drake—events that defy easy comprehension by operators or sensors or that exhibit unusual behavior.
The US government has increasingly taken UAP matters seriously, partly out of concerns that they might be related to foreign surveillance. A recent example of an unexplained phenomenon involved a metallic orb observed by an MQ-9 drone in the Middle East; footage of this UAP was presented to Congress in April.
NASA’s efforts, based on unclassified information, are separate from a concurrent Pentagon investigation, although both entities are collaborating on applying scientific methodologies and tools.
In July, a former US intelligence officer captured headlines by affirming to a congressional committee that he “absolutely” believes the government possesses evidence of unidentified anomalous phenomena and even remains of their extraterrestrial operators. David Grusch, the ex-intelligence officer, asserted that his testimony was grounded in information provided by credible sources with a long history of service to the nation, along with photographic evidence, official documentation, and classified oral testimony.
Recently, during a congressional hearing in Mexico, alleged remains of two “non-human” entities were presented. These claims stirred a mixture of astonishment, skepticism, and mockery on social media. The purported mummified remains, resembling grayish, human-like figures, were introduced by Jaime Maussan, a controversial Mexican journalist and researcher, who claimed to have discovered them in Peru in 2017.