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Why NASA Will Not Study UFOs for Just $100,000

There has been so much confusion over NASA's announcement to spend just $100,000 into a nine month study of UFOs.

Podcasters have all been scoffing at such a paltry sum for such an enormous subject - even George Knapp and Colm Kelleher on That UFO Podcast made a similar point.

But the truth seems to be that the hundred grand will be spent on determining exactly what and how to study UFOs as just a preliminary enquiry....not for the full research study which will follow.

The matter was raised at NASA's teleconference which followed its announcement to get into the UFO business.

I've tried using Google's autoscript to transcribe the relevant section of the press conference which is on this link:

Answering questions were:

Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the agency’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) - Daniel Evans, SMD assistant deputy associate administrator for research - David Spergel, study lead and president of the Simons Foundation

But it wasn't always obvious in my transcribing exactly which NASA spokesman said what. So far NASA hasn't released an official transcript.

“Given the paucity of observations, our first task is simply to gather the most robust set of data that we can,” said David Spergel. “We will be identifying what data – from civilians, government, non-profits, companies – exists, what else we should try to collect, and how to best analyse it.”

The study is expected to take about nine months to complete. It will secure the counsel of experts in the scientific, aeronautics, and data analytics communities to focus on how best to collect new data and improve observations of UAPs.

“Consistent with NASA’s principles of openness, transparency, and scientific integrity, this report will be shared publicly,” said Daniel Evans


NASA has tens of thousands of hours of video of spacecraft, the international space station, it can be argued that NASA's got more access to the public data looking up and looking down than any other public organization in the world. So are we to understand that that you will be reviewing all that's accessible publicly within NASA as well as other public videos or signals intelligence or whatever that may be and putting it in a study for a hundred thousand dollars or less?

ANSWER from one of the NASA officials "Okay I can answer. This is no different to any scientific investigation that we would undertake and the first step in any of those investigations is to figure out what data is at hand that's step one. THIS IS ALL THIS STUDY IS DOING IS TO FIGURE OUT WHAT DATA ONE MIGHT USE TO INTERROGATE BETTER. Okay we're not actually going to be within that budget analysing those data directly. This is just step one, what data out there that could be brought to bear upon the problem."

QUESTIONER COMES BACK.... "Just to clarify, so there will be no determination on whether this is prosaic or something else... it'll just be basically what we've kind of seen from the DOD which is, we have you know 200 and some cases or such and such many cases of unexplained phenomenon, is that what the the final product or the final first product may look like at the end of this study?

THOMAS ZURBUCHEN What I expect the final product to look like is to really address the questions that relate to what are the data we should be looking at? How should we doing that? Are there data we should get that that are not currently there? So it's much more kind of that the output from this particular study is not to sift through all the data and do all this research, it's to kind of make a proposal for a research program that we can then implement, based on the inputs and the principles that are there. Dave I'll kick it to you

DAVID SPERGAL Just to reinforce what Thomas said I think we will end up probably saying, look here's the data we have usually. When you do that you then reach the conclusion that while the data we have is okay but if only we took the data differently... you know observed from above and below a certain region of the sky at the same time, for example, I mean without having done the analysis, I don't know what it'll look like, but ways of observing the future that might give much more insight, ways of analysis in the future. You know Thomas mentioned AI and MI (?) - we now have a lot of methodologies that are effective at finding anomalous events, finding fast moving objects, finding objects that move anomalously. I'm imagining we will end up pointing it perhaps in future directions, that NASA may want to consider future stuff. You know we will hopefully at least, lay out some of the roadmap of how we might make progress in the future."

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