NASA announced that they will spend $100,000 on a 9-month study to better understand UFOs. The study will be conducted by astrophysicist David Spergel, former chair of the astrophysics department at Princeton University.
The second-in-command at NASA, Thomas Zurbuchen, justified the study:
“NASA believes that the tools of scientific discovery are powerful and apply here also. 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The term "UFOs," or unidentified flying objects, has been replaced by "UAPs," or unidentified aerial phenomena. UAPs certainly fit within NASA's scientific mission.
NASA defines UAPs as:
observations of events in the sky that cannot be identified as aircraft or known natural phenomena.
But don't get the wrong idea. NASA isn't looking for little green men peeking out of glass chambers set in the middle of metal disks, zipping through the sky.
NASA says there isn't evidence of "extraterrestrial origins" for UAPs. They don't rule out possible extraterrestrial origins, but they're more focused on trying to explain these previously unexplainable observations.
Studying UAPs, NASA says, will help to better understand the "natural phenomena" that aircraft pilots encounter, which will then help NASA understand how to mitigate any potential safety risks from those phenomena.
David Spergel's study will focus on gathering as many recorded observations and other data as possible, analyzing that data, and then deciding what type of data to gather in the future.
“Given the paucity of observations, our first task is simply to gather the most robust set of data that we can. We will be identifying what data – from civilians, government, non-profits, companies – exists, what else we should try to collect, and how to best analyze it.”
So, if you have a UFO sighting story, NASA might be interested in hearing it.