In 2021, there has been an upsurge in reported peculiar sightings, thanks to people with smartphones or other video equipment capturing these strange glows in the sky.
Could these Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) be satellites, technology deployed by foreign governments, falling space debris or possibly even special floating balloons or intentionally rigged unidentified flying objects (UFOs)?
Or could they be, well, aliens? what if Earth was the target of aliens from Alpha Centauri who ran out of brake fluid and crashed in New Mexico?
Many of these objects are eventually identified. Others, however, remain mysterious.
Nevertheless, in 2022, UAP will attract more attention from the scientific community and the federal government, experts told Space.com.
Related: 9 things we learned about aliens in 2021
In June 2021, the US military and intelligence community released a report on UAPs. It was followed by Congress urging to establish an official office to lead a “coordinated effort” on UAP-related collection and analysis.
“Our national security efforts rely on air supremacy, and these phenomena present a challenge to our dominance in the air. Staying ahead of UAP sightings is critical to maintaining our strategic advantage and keeping our nation safe. “Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said Dec. 21. 9, 2021, when announcing the inclusion of its UAP amendment in the $768.2 billion National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden on December 27.
Although the new office within the Pentagon, called the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group, does not focus explicitly on the search for extraterrestrial life, it will be responsible for providing a full range of information, as well as scientific and technical assessments, related to the NAP.
One of the responsibilities of the new UAP office will be to implement a plan to “test scientific theories related to UAP characteristics and performance,” Gillibrand said in a statement. declaration.
So what now?
On the one hand, there is a concerted effort to build UAP tracking equipment and to decide where it will be stationed. This year could be a turning point in the study of UAPs/UFOs.
Related: UFO watch: 8 times the government searched for flying saucers
A potential major development in 2022 will be UFO detection, according to Mark Rodeghier, scientific director of the Center for UFO Studies in Chicago.
“The effort to detect, track and measure the UFO phenomenon on the ground, in real time, has recently entered a new phase,” Rodeghier told Space.com. “Technology has improved, software tools have improved, and the current interest in UFOs has attracted new qualified professionals.
“While it cannot be predicted how soon we will acquire fundamental new knowledge about UAPs/UFOs, I believe that these efforts are very likely to succeed and place UFO research on a new database. reliable physics,” added Rodeghier. “And as a result, we will have even more evidence – as if it were necessary – that the UFO phenomenon is real and can be studied scientifically.”
An upcoming initiative, called Project Galileo, will search for extraterrestrial equipment near Earth. It has two branches. The first aims to identify the nature of interstellar objects that do not resemble comets or asteroids — such as ‘Oumuamua, the first known interstellar object to visit the solar system. The second branch targets UAPs, similar to those of interest to the US government.
“The data from the Galileo project will be open to the public and its scientific analysis will be transparent,” said Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb, who leads the project. “Related scientific discoveries would expand mankind’s knowledge, regardless of the borders between nations.”
The Galileo research team includes more than 100 scientists who plan to assemble the project’s first telescope system on the roof of the Harvard College Observatory in the spring of 2022.
“The system will continuously record video and audio from across the sky in the visible, infrared and radio bands, as well as tracking objects of interest,” Loeb said. “Artificial intelligence algorithms will distinguish birds from drones, planes or whatever. Once the first system works successfully, the Galileo Project will make copies and distribute them in many geographical locations.”
The truth is out there
An outlier in all of the UAP and UFO chatter – which nonetheless attracts some attention within the scientific community – is the possibility that UFOs are in fact human time travelers.
“The human time traveler model for explaining UFOs has gained traction over the past two years,” said Michael Masters, professor of anthropology at Montana Technological University.
Masters is the author of the 2019 book “Identified Flying Objects,” which examines the premise that UFOs and aliens might just be our distant human descendants using the anthropological tool of time travel to visit and study us, as members of their own hominin evolutionary past.
“I think people are starting to realize that it makes a lot of sense in the context of how these ships work, how they can achieve such incredible accelerations and decelerations if they’re manipulating space-time within their own framework. of reference in and around these craft, and whether we can take seriously the description of the beings seen in association with them, how ubiquitous they are described in human terms, regarding their behavior, technology and morphological form,” said Masters at Space.com.
Masters appreciates that the UFO/UAP subject is taken seriously by a wider group of professionals in various fields.
“The more we continue to reduce the stigma that has surrounded this subject for so long, the sooner we will begin to understand the nuances of this mysterious phenomenon,” he said. “Hopefully, further reducing stigma will also mean that more scientists and scholars will continue to participate in the conversation without fear of retaliation or shame on their existing research agenda, which can only help advance our knowledge further and faster.”
Thanks to the official acknowledgment of the reality of these objects, Masters said, “the conversation can now move from ‘Are they real? to ‘What are they, and where, or potentially when, do they come from?'”
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Lack of coordination
Currently, there is a lack of coordination among organizations involved with UAP detection equipment, but that could change this year, said Robert Powell, executive board member of the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies (SCU) in Austin, Texas. .
“I think it will get better as we move into 2022,” he said.
A number of SCU members are involved in the Galileo project, and the organization has partnered with several groups, including UFODATA, the UFO Data Acquisition Project (UFODAP), and UAPx.
“UFODAP already has a working model that has been sold in the market and is reasonably priced between $2,000 and $5,000, depending on the accessories you want,” Powell told Space.com. “This system has already been used by a group known as UAPx to collect data. Our goal is to coordinate these activities so that we can use a system with standardized equipment to collect data.”
But before that happens, Powell said, groups need to map out exactly what that piece of equipment is trying to measure and verify that the system can achieve that goal.
“These are exciting times, as there are a growing number of groups focused on detecting and studying UAPs,” said Kevin Knuth, associate professor of physics at the University of Albany and vice president of the ‘UAPx, which intends to integrate a network of distributed UAPs. sensors that interested parties can host locally to help spot UAPs.
Still, there are challenges related to the interaction of diverse groups, he said.
“While some coordination between groups can be beneficial, particularly in the context of efficiency, the fact that we currently know very little about NAPs implies that the potential for discovery is higher if groups start with working independently, trying out different equipment and procedures and observing in different locations,” Knuth told Space.com.
As lessons are learned and results are made public, different groups will begin to adopt equipment and procedures that have proven successful, he added.
“For that reason, it probably doesn’t make sense to coordinate groups at this time,” Knuth said. “Instead, as we learn more about how best to observe and study UAPs, communication between groups – facilitated by sharing data and publishing results – will lead to improvements in general. This is the advantage of independent scientific studies.”
Taking a broader view, Knuth said scientific groups plan to publish peer-reviewed scientific papers. The result will be a further advance in scientific studies of UAPs “while encouraging and compelling more scientists to get involved in the study of what could very well be one of the most important discoveries in the history of humanity,” he said.
Leonard David is the author of “Moon Rush: The New Space Race” (National Geographic, 2019). A longtime writer for Space.com, David has been reporting on the space industry for more than five decades.
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