NASA Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Independent Study
On June 9, 2022,
that the agency is commissioning a study team to examine unidentified
aerial phenomena (UAPs) – that is, observations of events in the sky
that cannot be identified as aircraft or known natural phenomena – from a
scientific perspective. The study will focus on identifying available data, how
best to collect future data, and how NASA can use that data to move the
scientific understanding of UAPs forward. This webpage is designed as a resource
to provide updates on the UAP Independent Study.
Public Briefings and Presentations
On June 9, 2022, Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen presented an update on NASA’s Science
Program to a joint meeting of the National Academies Space Studies Board and
Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, which included an outline of NASA’s
UAP Independent Study.
The UAP Independent Study shall report on the following questions:
NASA leads the world in exploration and is committed to rigorous scientific
inquiry. Consistent with NASA’s principles of openness, transparency, and
scientific integrity, NASA is establishing the UAP Independent Study as a
means to secure the counsel of community experts across diverse areas on
matters relevant to potential methods of study of unidentified aerial
phenomena. The UAP Independent Study serves as a community-based,
interdisciplinary forum for soliciting and coordinating community analysis and
input and providing advice.
1). What types of scientific data currently collected and archived by
NASA or other civilian government entities should be synthesized and
analyzed to potentially shed light on the nature and origins of
Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP)?
2). What types of scientific data currently collected and held by
non-profits and companies should be synthesized and analyzed to
potentially shed light on the nature and origins of UAP?
3). What other types of scientific data should be collected by NASA to
enhance the potential for developing an understanding of the nature and
origins of UAP?
4). Which scientific analysis techniques currently in production could be
employed to assess the nature and origins of UAP? Which types of analysis
techniques should be developed?
5). In considering the factors above, what basic physical constraints can
be placed on the nature and origins of UAP?
6). What civilian airspace data related to UAPs have been collected by
government agencies and are available for analysis to a) inform efforts to
better understand the nature and origins of UAPs, and b) determine the
risk of UAPs to the National Air Space (NAS)?
7). What current reporting protocols and air traffic management (ATM) data
acquisition systems can be modified to acquire additional data on past and
8). What potential enhancements to future ATM development efforts can be
recommended to acquire data concerning future reported UAPs to assist in
the effort to better understand the nature and origin of the UAPs?
NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, in consultation with NASA’s Aeronautics
Research Mission Directorate, will appoint the Chair and members of the UAP
Independent Study for terms of up to one year. Diversity of thought shall be a
factor in determining the composition of the UAP Independent Study. The UAP
Independent Study will have approximately eight to twelve members chosen with
an appropriately broad range of expertise; experience; employer types and
sizes; and individual demographics. The membership will consist of experts
drawn from U.S. academic, independent, and commercial institutions. Members of
the UAP Independent Study who are not Regular Government Employees (RGE) will
be designated Special Government Employees (SGE) or Representatives. A NASA
civil servant will be appointed as the Designated Federal Officer and
Executive Secretary of the UAP Independent Study.