- NASA released its first report on Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAPs), aka UFOs, on Thursday.
- NASA also created a new position to lead UAP research, but officials won’t say who they appointed.
- NASA officials cited harassment concerns but said they might share the new UAP chief’s name someday.
NASA created a new position to lead research on UFOs, but won’t say who got the job.
On Thursday, the agency published a report on Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP) — mysterious zipping objects in the sky that Navy pilots have seen, unidentified lights, or sometimes just balloons — more commonly referred to as UFOs.
The report asserts that there is no evidence that UAP have extraterrestrial origins.
This conclusion comes after nearly a year of assessing these mysterious aerial sightings by an independent study team NASA formed to take a science-based approach to UAPs.
The report gives recommendations for further study, such as using AI to sift through haystacks of data for the tiny needle of an unusual occurrence.
As part of its new plan to tackle mysterious phenomena, NASA created a new officer position: Director of UAP Research.
“We don’t know what these UAP are. That’s why I’m announcing that NASA has appointed a NASA Director of UAP Research,” Bill Nelson, NASA’s administrator, said in a press briefing on Thursday.
Someone has been serving as the director for “awhile” now, according to Nicola Fox, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
NASA officials in the briefing repeatedly emphasized their commitment to transparency in the ongoing study of UAPs. But when reporters asked who the new director is, Fox responded: “We will not give his name out.”
Later on, officials explained that online harassment is part of the reason they’re keeping the role of Director of UAP Research anonymous.
“Some of the threats and the harassment have been beyond the pale, quite frankly, towards some of our panelists,” said Daniel Evans, assistant deputy associate administrator for research at NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “It’s important that science be free as part of that process.”
The new report includes a brief job description for the Director of UAP Research, saying they will “centralize communications and leverage NASA’s extensive resources and expertise to actively engage in the whole-of-government UAP initiative. This individual will also ensure that the agency’s vast analytical capabilities, including its proficiency in data management, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, are contributed to the government’s unified UAP effort.”
When Evans was asked if NASA will ever disclose the director’s identity, he answered “Potentially, yes.”
This post has been updated. It was originally published on September 14, 2023.