A trove of newly released NASA documents about unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs) reveals some of the agency’s internal discussions about these mysterious sightings, according to the Black Vault, which obtained the materials via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and published them on Tuesday.
The documents showed that a meeting about a UAP—which are also sometimes referred to as unidentified flying objects (UFOs)—was put on NASA administrator Bill Nelson’s calendar in March. An email sent in May 2021, and marked “Internal Distribution Only,” provided guidelines for responding to interview questions on a range of topics associated with space research, including a subsection entitled, “Search for Life, Technosignatures, and UAP/UFOs.”
“Public and media interest in the topic of Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon/Unidentified Flying Objects (UAP/UFOs) has seen an uptick in recent weeks following reports about the Department of Defense’s release of three unclassified Navy videos,” the NASA guidelines said. “Likewise, the 2021 Intelligence Authorization Act, signed in December 2020, stipulated the government had 180 days to gather and analyze data from disparate agencies.”
“Below is our response to the public and media who call for NASA comment,” the materials continued. “One of NASA’s key goals is the search for life in the universe. To date, NASA has yet to find any credible evidence of extraterrestrial life, however, NASA is exploring the solar system and beyond to help us answer fundamental questions, including whether we are alone in the universe. We stand ready to support the rest of the government in the search for life in the universe, be it close to home, on the planets or moons of our solar system, or deeper into space.”
The new FOIA drop also contains an invite to a virtual event entitled “Extreme Acceleration by UAPs,” scheduled for October 6, 2020, that was forwarded between NASA employees. The invite said the presentation would be delivered by Robert Powell, Executive Board member of the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies (SCU), with an introduction from Chris Mellon, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence.
“During our session, Robert will be discussing ‘Extreme Acceleration by UAPs and Sensors for Detection,’” according to the invite. “He will also be exploring a few relevant cases, including Stephenville and Puerto Rico. Robert has been an important leader, for some years now, among those seeking to bring serious scientific expertise and processes to bear on the UAP phenomenon.”
Though it’s intriguing to read through these documents, it’s not surprising that NASA discusses UAPs internally, given that the agency has also held public briefings on these unexplained observations on many occasions. Last month, for instance, NASA officials held a teleconference on new work that aims to “examine UAPs—observations of events in the sky that cannot be identified as aircraft or known natural phenomena—from a scientific perspective,” according to a statement.
“Unidentified phenomena in the atmosphere are of interest for both national security and air safety. Establishing which events are natural provides a key first step to identifying or mitigating such phenomena, which aligns with one of NASA’s goals to ensure the safety of aircraft,” the statement read. “There is no evidence UAPs are extraterrestrial in origin.”
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