Identifying flying objects

That one person in every friend group who’s secretly (or vocally) obsessed with aliens could soon be vindicated as NASA takes a fresh look into the unknown entities flying in our skies. 

Driving the news: On Monday, NASA’s new team dedicated to researching unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs, formerly known as UFOs) will begin its sci-fi-sounding work.  

  • The 16-member squad will work for nine months analyzing government data and previous UAP experiences to craft a report to be released to the public next year. 

NASA says this initial project is a ‘brainstorm’ that won’t come up with any conclusions as to what UAPs are but instead figure out how to collect and analyze data about them. 

Why it matters: You mean, besides the fact that aliens could be an exciting new trade partner? 

Ever since the Pentagon reported 144 UAP sightings last year, bigwigs have taken them more seriously, given the implications they might have for science and national security

  • NASA is not the only US government body trying to get a handle on flying saucers. The Pentagon has also opened an entire department dedicated to UAPs. 

“Understanding the data we have surrounding [UAPs] is critical to helping us draw scientific conclusions about what is happening in our skies,” one NASA admin said in a press release.

Zoom out: This also comes at a time when public interest in space has seen a resurgence, thanks to groundbreaking initiatives like the James Webb Telescope and Artemis rockets

Bottom line: To quote the pre-eminent expert on alien life, Special Agent Fox Mulder from The X-Files, “the truth is out there.” Here’s hoping we find out where it’s hiding.