NASA announced that the agency is commissioning a new independent study of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, also known as UFOs. In their statement, NASA states that "there is no evidence UAPs are extra-terrestrial in origin."
Led by David Spergel, former chair of the Princeton University astrophysics department and president of the Simons Foundation, the study is slated to start in the fall and last around nine months. The agency promises that the final report will be shared publicly.
The study will focus on identifying available data, how best to collect future data, and how NASA can use that data to move the scientific understanding of UAPs forward.
"NASA believes that the tools of scientific discovery are powerful and apply here also," said Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate administrator for science at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "We have access to a broad range of observations of Earth from space – and that is the lifeblood of scientific inquiry. 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."
The agency is not part of the Department of Defense's Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force or its successor, the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group. NASA has, however, coordinated widely across the government regarding how to apply the tools of science to shed light on the nature and origin of unidentified aerial phenomena.