back to article NASA picks its UFO-hunting – sorry – unidentified aerial phenomena-hunting team

NASA has announced the names of 16 individuals who will be a part of its unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) research group that begins work today. The study into UAP, which NASA defines as sky-based events that cannot be attributed to aircraft or natural phenomena, will take around nine months to complete. While most people …

  1. sabroni Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Unidentified Aerial Phenomena

    Since there's little evidence that physical objects are involved this is a much better name.

    1. Cuddles

      Re: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena

      Except that there's little evidence the majority of reports involve anything aerial. Some well known UFO reports involve things like fishing boats, oil platforms, a variety of stars, planets and the bloody Moon. Plenty of others are just blurs on a picture or a scratched lens, or just outright faked or invented from nothing. If you're going to come up with a new name for UFOs because they don't necessarily involve flying objects, making the new name just as wrong doesn't really help matters.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena

        Yeahbut, everything you just described are identified, not unidentified.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "there may be, on average, one civilization out there in existence per galaxy"

    Prof. Cox seems a sensible chap - has he given any indication as to where this one civilization might be?

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: "there may be, on average, one civilization out there in existence per galaxy"

      No trace of it on this planet, that's for sure. That's probably also why we haven't made contact with any of those civilizations. I mean, why would you try to communicate with a bunch of monkeys?

      1. Plest Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: "there may be, on average, one civilization out there in existence per galaxy"

        We're 150,000 years down the line and we still fight over areas of dirt, dirty black goop we suck out of the ground and most people think the height of tech is being able to see tits on their mobile phone!

        I'm pretty sure that if there's intelligent life out there, then there's probably an invisible sign post around our solar system saying, "Care in the Community Programme in progress. Enter at your own risk! Lowering of intelligence likely to occur if you encounter humankind.".

    2. Fr. Ted Crilly Silver badge

      Re: "there may be, on average, one civilization out there in existence per galaxy"

      'Cos there's bugger all down here on Earth'....... you mean :-D

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: "there may be, on average, one civilization out there in existence per galaxy"

        Hmm, wasn't that Stephen Hawking's line, not Brian's? As The Hawk mowed Prof. Cox down.

    3. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: "there may be, on average, one civilization out there in existence per galaxy"

      Reminds me of Ghandi's (apocryphal?),

      Q: What do you think of Western civilization?

      A: I think it would be a good idea!

  3. imanidiot Silver badge

    "sky-based events that cannot be attributed to aircraft or natural phenomena"

    Minor correction that cannot currently be attributed to aircraft or natural phenomena yet

  4. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Alien

    physicist Sean Carroll's prediction of zero

    intelligent civilisations in a galaxy...

    Well based on observable evidence in this one, that seems reasonable.

  5. lglethal Silver badge
    Go

    I have always found it an interesting phenomenon, that since the advent of pretty much everyone now carrying mobile phone cameras with high resolution, the number of reports of alien visitations, has dropped off a cliff.

    Either the Aliens are camera shy or the fact that people can demand proof with a high expectation that said person would have had their phone with them, means that braggards move on to other easier claims to fake ("You should have seen the fish I caught it was this big!!!").

    Still it's also a shame that we're past the point that experimental aircraft can look so weird and awesome, and actually need to be built in order to test. All the testing is now done with computers these days... *grumble, grumble, grumble*...

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Absolutely agree.

      In the 80s, when one person in a million had a camera and was able to take a shot, the UFO phenomenon was enormous.

      Now that 99% of the population has the ability to take a pic whenever they feel like it, suddenly UFO pics are no longer a thing.

      Wierd, isn't it ?

      1. Howard Sway Silver badge

        Not really, once the aliens got hold of a smartphone they were so amazed by it they all zoomed off back home to show it to their friends.

      2. Jaybus

        Obviously, the aliens implement mind control through social media on mobiles?

      3. Alumoi Silver badge
        Joke

        Did you ever watch a person preparing to take a picture? Pick up the phone, unlock it, chase camera app, touch at least 3 or 5 options to get that perfect picture, center the phone on the subject, wait for the image to stabilize, take the picture. Say 1 to 2 minutes. Do you think the UFO will hold for that long?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm one

      You haven't noticed that most social media posts are made by aliens (*of questionable intelligence)? Why does everyone carry a cell phone with them at all times now, if not to beam up?

    3. that one in the corner Silver badge

      Film worked better than digital

      The Aliens are cleverer than we are - they hide from us now by taking advantage of the flaws in all these digital cameras. Moving in time with the Rolling Shutter. You know all those odd bits that They are telling you are "just JPEG artifacts"?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Film worked better than digital

        Thank you. You've just inspired my Halloween costume... I'll wear some square patterned transparent gauze around me, so I look like a lossy JPG of myself. Or I could light myself from wrong angle, and go as an amateur Photoshop of myself.

    4. Dave 126 Silver badge

      > everyone now carrying mobile phone cameras with high resolution, the number of reports of alien visitations, has dropped off a cliff.

      Aha! That's because the aliens can easily avoid anyone with a mobile phone - the phone's signal can be used to triangulate our location. There are just as many aliens on earth now as in the 1970s, but now we're walking around lit up like EMF lighthouses!

      / I'm not actually a UFO believer, but I enjoyed this logic!

    5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "I have always found it an interesting phenomenon, that since the advent of pretty much everyone now carrying mobile phone cameras with high resolution, the number of reports of alien visitations, has dropped off a cliff."

      If anything, there are many more "sightings". The problem is that the people holding the cameras have no fucking idea how to take photos or video! Back in the days of film cameras, I'd suggest that they were more expensive to buy and very much more expensive to use, so people tended to at least learn the basics of how to use them. Wasted shots cost money! Modern people with modern "point and click" phones expect the phone to do all the work for them. Hell, most of them have no idea you can rotate the phone 90o to take in a wider shot! And most of them swing the phone around wildly like they're dancing the Pogo on steroids. Billions more cameras out there and far fewer useful images.

    6. ravenviz Silver badge

      “number of reports of alien visitations, has dropped off a cliff” mainly because people are staring at their mobile phones instead of looking around!

  6. CrackedNoggin Bronze badge

    The could be thousands or millions of short lived civilizations (like ours?) that are spread out enough in space and time that they can never contact each other.

    Yet all powered by DNA.

  7. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Just what we need

    > unidentified aerial phenomena

    Good! We've been looking for someone to fix our TV reception. So far none of the engineers have been able to say what was wrong.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “unidentified aerial phenomena”

    Around here, that’s simply a question of “who farted”?

  9. breakfast Silver badge
    Alien

    The evidence of something is very strong

    There seems to be a decent amount of evidence for something that moves very rapidly through the air and changes direction very quickly and I would not be at all surprised if we get some really interesting and weird science out of this. Not aliens, sure, but _something_ interesting and novel or some weird long-theorised phenomenon that nobody thought would behave in this way.

    1. that one in the corner Silver badge

      Re: The evidence of something is very strong

      Well, we did find finally realise that Atmospheric Sprites are real, after pooh-pooing the reports.

  10. xyz Silver badge

    This'll makes their CVs look good

    2022 - 2023 Spent 9 months looking for flying saucers. They won't even be able to get a McJob with that on their CVs.

  11. Plest Silver badge

    Still all oddballs staring at the moon but...

    I still think UFOs are a load of hoohey but having seen some interesting docs on NetFlix like the Unsolved Mysteries series, where credible people see something interesting, shrug their shoulders and say "No idea what it was but it was something different!", I'm little more intrigued in the less easily explainable sightings.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Still all oddballs staring at the moon but...

      Agreed. If you watch those shows through the eyes of a sceptic, there are some interesting photos and videos from otherwise credible witnesses. Some seem fairly obvious, but the talking heads and narrator will big up the UFO angle as much as possible. Some are less obvious, and while still not agreeing with the show that it's aliens, there is something strange or odd. In the case of video evidence, I find many of those shows only show the bit of the film that supports their claim. They will probably tell you, if challenged, that they only have so long per episode so can't show everything in it's entirety. But they do have the time to show the shortened clip multiple time while cutting to and from talking heads. I remember one in particular where they claimed "alien orbs" and I thought "insects really close to the camera". They cut the video short right at the point where we would be able to see if the "alien orb" passed in front of or behind the bush that was about 2-3 metres away.

  12. Tom 38

    Nadia Drake is Frank Drake's daughter

    Its not mentioned in the article at all, but I thought it's interesting. Frank Drake was the founder of modern SETI experiments, developed the Drake equation for estimating the number of intelligent lifeforms we can discover, and designer of the Pioneer plaque and the Discovery record.

    1. that one in the corner Silver badge

      Re: Nadia Drake is Frank Drake's daughter

      Frank Drake was part of the team on the Pioneer Plaque and the Voyager Golden Disc, but the credit really goes to Carl Sagan, as the originator of the plaque and project director on the disc.

      Jim Moray tells the tale: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RPxCN8pNxWM

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Haldeen Conspiracy

    ...posits a plausible explanation for why the US and government agencies are coming out with the whole 'UAPs are real' narrative now. If nothing else, it's an entertaining read which tries to explain much that is happening in the world today.

  14. Jaybus

    It's a bit disappointing that Mulder and Scully were left off of the team.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      With a budget of only $100,000

      There's no way they could afford David Duchovny or Gillian Andersen, let alone both!

  15. Binraider Silver badge

    Time for a replay of the good entries in the XCOM series perhaps?

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