NASA’s independent study to delve into the mysteries surrounding unidentified aerial phenomena kicked off today. CNN reports: The group will include experts across numerous disciplines — including astrobiology, data science, oceanography, genetics, policy and planetary science — as well as retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, a former fighter pilot and test pilot and retired US Navy captain. The space agency, which first announced it was forming the group in June, previously revealed that the team would be led by astrophysicist David Spergel, who is president of the Simons Foundation in New York City.

The new group won’t necessarily seek to determine exactly what the UAPs, which have been seen moving through restricted military airspace over the past several decades, are. Rather, the team will look to hash out exactly how it’s best for NASA to approach further study of the phenomenon. The space agency has already noted that the limited number of observations of UAPs has made it difficult to draw scientific conclusions about the nature of such events. “Without access to an extensive set of data, it is nearly impossible to verify or explain any observation, thus the focus of the study is to inform NASA what possible data could be collected in the future to scientifically discern the nature of UAP,” according to a NASA news release.

This study, expected to last about nine months, will also be entirely unclassified and within the public domain. “Exploring the unknown in space and the atmosphere is at the heart of who we are at NASA,” Zurbuchen said in a Friday statement. “Understanding the data we have surrounding unidentified aerial phenomena is critical to helping us draw scientific conclusions about what is happening in our skies. Data is the language of scientists and makes the unexplainable, explainable.” Specifically, the team will look for data on “events in the sky that cannot be identified as aircraft or known natural phenomena — from a scientific perspective,” the agency said. Unidentified aerial phenomena are of interest, NASA said, from a security and safety perspective. There was no evidence UAPs are extraterrestrial in origin, NASA emphasized during the initial announcement in June.

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