NASA has published its first-ever study into hundreds of UFO sightings in recent decades and concluded there is ‘no reason’ to believe any cases are aliens – yet.

The unprecedented report – which comes as UFO fever reaches a tipping point in the US – analyzed more than 800 cases across three decades.

The panel concluded: ‘To date, in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, there is no conclusive evidence suggesting an extraterrestrial origin for UAP [UFOs].’

However, NASA’s panel of experts had been primarily tasked with the goal of recommending future investigative avenues for UFO research. They noted that most sightings are recorded with equipment intended for nonscientific purposes under ‘serendipitous’ or accidental circumstances.

‘Coupled with incomplete data archiving and curation,’ NASA’s panel wrote, ‘this means that the origin of numerous UAP remain uncertain.’ 

The US space agency announced last year that it would review evidence regarding unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAPs), more commonly known as unidentified flying objects (UFOs), with the goal of advising how NASA tools could aid the search. 

The panel defined UAP as sightings ‘that cannot be identified as aircraft or known natural phenomena from a scientific perspective.’

But NASA’s team elaborated their scientific view that the bar for proof of extraterrestrial visitors to Earth must be kept high.

‘In the search for life beyond Earth, extraterrestrial life itself must be the hypothesis of last resort,’ the panel wrote, ‘the answer we turn to only after ruling out all other possibilities.’ 

‘As Sherlock Holmes said, ‘Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

In May, NASA’s independent study team shared their preliminary observations — that up to 98 per cent of reported UAP sightings can be explained away.

Just 2 to 5 per cent are considered ‘possibly really anomalous’, the panel added, but a lack of high-quality data is hampering researchers’ ability to apply ‘rigorous scientific scrutiny’ to the mystery-solving.

These genuinely unexplained UAPs are defined as ‘anything that is not readily understandable by the operator or the sensor,’ or ‘something that is doing something weird,’ said team member Nadia Drake earlier this year.

It is unlikely that today’s report will provide any ground-breaking new information that wasn’t revealed at the first public meeting in May, but it could eventually usher in the start of a new mission for the US space agency.

While NASA’s probes and rovers currently scour the solar system for any signs of alien life, its historic posture has been to ‘debunk’ sightings on our home planet.

However, the US government has started to take UAPs more seriously in recent years, partly because of concerns that some could be related to foreign surveillance.

The Pentagon has received 350 reports of UFOs in the past two years, and 171 of them remain unexplained. 

NASA’s study is separate to the Pentagon’s investigation into UAPs, which saw US lawmakers hear first-hand accounts of UFO sightings from former members of the military earlier this year.

The US space agency’s panel is leading the civilian, unclassified side of the effort, while the US Department of Defense has convened a government body to examine UAPs in co-ordination with the intelligence and military communities. 

NASA put together an independent team of 16 scientific, aeronautic, and data analytic experts with the aim of analyzing sightings of UAPs from a logical and scientific perspective.

‘We have access to a broad range of observations of Earth from space – and that is the lifeblood of scientific inquiry,’ the space agency’s Thomas Zurbuchen said last year before the study began.

‘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.’

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