The truth is out there and AI may find it. Artificial intelligence will play a key role in finding alien intelligence, if it exists, suggests a NASA report.
The NASA report, a 33-page document examining UFO sightings, or unidentified anomalous phenomenon (UAP) as such events are now called, also cited the need to bring high tech such as space satellites and machine learning into the picture. The plan, according to NASA administrator Bill Nelson, is to turn the discussion about UAPs “from sensationalism to science.”
The 16-member panel of independent space luminaries behind the $100,000 report found nothing pointing toward the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence as the source of UAP sightings. Critics were quick to note that the study only examined unclassified UAP accounts. The panel did not examine top-secret documents that may have provided a more terrestrial explanation of some unexplained sightings that may have involved, for example, test aircraft flown by the U.S Air Force “black” programs or aviation prototypes built by military contractors such as Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works facility. Another possible explanation for UAP’s may involve drones flown by foreign actors, a concern brought to public attention with the flyover of the U.S. by a Chinese “spy” balloon that was eventually shot down in February, 2023. At the same time, the report acknowledged the possibility for “potential unknown alien technology operating in Earth’s atmosphere.”
From NASA’s perspective, the main problem with UAP sightings is the lack of high quality data for analysis. “UAP’s are one of our planet’s greatest mysteries,” said Nicola Fox, associate administrator for NASA’s space mission directorate, but noted that there typically isn’t enough data that “can be used to make definitive scientific conclusions about the nature and origin of UAP.” NASA is using the UAP classification to remove the stigma associated with the UFO designation.
“At present, the detection of UAP is often serendipitous, captured by sensors that were not designed or calibrated for this purpose and which lack comprehensive metadata,” notes the report. “Coupled with incomplete data archiving and curation, this means the origin of many UAPs remains uncertain.”
NASA said it hopes to use space satellites and space telescopes to gather high quality observational information, although NASA’s fleet of space satellites typically lack the spatial resolution to detect relatively small objects. To compensate, NASA hopes to leverage commercial space Earth-observing satellite networks that offer high resolution imaging.
NASA also said it plans to develop a uniform terrestrial reporting procedure that would include pilot reports to create a database that could be analyzed using machine learning and artificial intelligence tools. Another potential approach is to use crowdsourcing techniques using open-source smartphone apps and other smartphone metadata in a new citizen science style initiative. There is currently no standard system for handling civilian UAP reports so UAP data tends to be sparse and incomplete. Another area of analysis would be the examination of UAP reports and environmental conditions to see if there is a link.
NASA has appointed Mark McInerney as the new director of UAP research to oversee this new transparent approach to data gathering and analysis. McInerney, whose identity was initially delayed due to security concerns, was formerly a liaison between the space agency and the Department of Defense. NASA’s new high-profile role in UAP reports comes after a Congressional committee complained about a lack of transparency from the Pentagon regarding UAP sightings. NASA will conduct its UAP research within the framework of a new government-wide All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) created for UAP data collection.