Peer-reviewed paper on UFOs. 80k feet to sea level in 0.79 sec (50,000+ mph!)

Discussion in 'UFOs, Ghosts and Monsters' started by SarahEllard, May 9, 2023.


Do you believe the US Navy?

  1. Yes

    0 vote(s)
  2. No

    0 vote(s)
  3. About what?

    1 vote(s)
  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member


    Just out of curiosity, do skeptics in general agree with this definition of UAPs? Seems to rule out mundane explanations from the outset.
    Last edited: May 13, 2023
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  3. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    No, I don't agree with it. Rather than "can not" I would rather define a UAP as something that "has not... " as this suggests the current state rather than the absolute state of "can not".

    "You can't do it" is a different claim than "You haven't done it", is it not?
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  5. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    So you think mundane causes for a UAP can never be completely ruled out? That someday in the future it will be shown to be an aircraft or a natural phenomena, hence always ruling out other worldly causes.?
    Last edited: May 14, 2023
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  7. billvon Valued Senior Member

    If you add the word "yet" to that definition - yes.
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Sure, they can be.
  9. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Of course they can be. An alien landing on the White House lawn and saying "That was us" would rule out mundane causes.
    Sure it's a hyperbole; the actual threshold will be well below that - the point is there is always that threshold - usually involving irrefutable extant facts - when there's a there there.

    We didn't suppose Coelacanths still survived after 66 million years until we captured a sample.
  10. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Those were NASA's words, not mine. I assume they were the words of the NASA PR person who wrote the press release, not carefully considered language from their Independent Study Team.

    I'm most definitely not a skeptic in the sense Sciforums uses that word. But I'd pretty much agree with Sarkus. (That's as scary for me as is it probably is for him. Next thing I'll be working alongside Wegs for Mick West.)

    I think that I would just add a single word to the press release, so that it reads (highlighting by me):

    "NASA defines UAP as observations of events in the sky that cannot currently be identified as aircraft or known natural phenomena from a scientific perspective".

    I don't think that they should define UAP to be observations that cannot in principle be identified as aircraft or known natural phenomena. How could they possibly know what future observations might reveal? I'd rather imagine that cases can move into and out of the UAP category as circumstances warrant. Cases that are UAP cases now might move out of the UAP file into the "mundane" file. All that would require is a plausible, convincing and evidenced identification as something "mundane" (however we choose to use that word).

    I'm a fallibilist (a "skeptic" in the more historical sense of the word). I accept the ever-present possibility of error. So whatever proposition we pop out with ("this sighting can't be identified as an aircraft or a natural phenomenon"), there will be some possibility (however small) that the proposition is false. In other words, absolute necessary truth is a cognitive ideal, not something attainable by humans (who lack the "gods-eye view" of reality).

    So no, we can't ever eliminate the possibility that a seeming UAP case might in the future be identified as "mundane" (whatever that means). What human beings can do is reduce the likelihood that will happen, by adding independent witnesses and a wider variety of instrumental modalities (radar, photographic, electromagnetic etc.)

    Perhaps we can rule out the possibility that we are wrong in a pragmatic sense, in the sense that we are willing to believe and act upon whatever it is. (That's my own definition of 'faith'.) But it will never rise to the level of absolute certainty.

    The Sciforums skeptics will always be there demanding 'What about this or that (very speculative) possibility??' And as I just argued, there will always be a logical space for them to do that (the residual possibility that the UAP ascription is mistaken). It's a useful role for them to play, I guess. Even if we recognize that nothing will ever convince some of them that the UAP category isn't just "woo", an empty set simply by definition, provided only that a suitably rigorous analysis is done in each purported case.

    Maybe they are right, maybe they aren't. None of us is currently in a position to know that.
    Last edited: May 14, 2023
  11. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Until the object is proven to be one thing or another, no possible (so as to distinguish from those that can be proven impossible) cause, whether mundane or exotic / non-mundane can be ever completely ruled out. Until something is proven then we are left with what we rationally accept it to be. And to me, that acceptance should always be held with the possibility that one is wrong, no matter how small a non-zero possibility.
    This doesn't follow from the first question. It doesn't follow that just because we can't rule out the possibility of it being mundane means that we believe it will be shown to be mundane. But if this was not an intended implication, okay. I think if you changed it to "That someday in the future it might be shown to be an aircraft or a natural phenomena...", and while it is unknown, we are again left with what we rationally accept, but never entirely ruling out one cause or the other, mundane or non-mundane, so I don't agree with the "hence always ruling out other-worldly causes."
    Now, as to how entrenched our acceptance of them being non-mundane is, even if not proven to be so, well, that's up to each individual, and on where their reasoning takes them. I, for one, think it highly unlikely that any UAP has ever been the result of intelligent other-worldly causes (so as to distinguish from meteors, venus

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    Last edited: May 15, 2023
  12. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    I've adjusted myself to calling any unidentified flying object a UAP in the sense that it doesn't have a mundane explanation. It's the sense in which UFO is used to refer to a non-mundane object or a flying saucer. The sense of the "UFO" section in the bookstore. UAPs are what we describe as 40 ft long tic tacs and metallic spheres and black triangles and flying cylinders. Hence when I ask if skeptics believe in UAPs, in my mind they do not because they still expect it to have a mundane explanation. For them the UAP doesn't have a non-mundane explanation, at least not a likely one.
    Last edited: May 19, 2023
  13. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    ... because belief is irrelevant; what matters to a skeptic is what can be defended.
  14. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I guess that the way I prefer to think of 'UAP's/UFO's' is that they are any observation of a seeming flying object whose nature is currently unknown. I use 'unknown nature' as opposed to 'unidentified' so as to exclude things like obvious balloons or drones whose owners and missions are unknown. I prefer not to use the word 'mundane' because its meaning is too ambiguous. I insert 'currently' so as not to prejudge what future investigation might reveal.

    Perhaps we might call these 'Type 1 UAP's'

    Yes, distinctions can be made within the 'UAP/UFO' category I guess. I think of this rather exotic one you seem to be referring to as a seeming flying object whose nature is not only currently unknown, but whose ultimate explanation fails to conform to our (who is 'us'?) current conceptual vocabulary or accepted worldview. (It's the possibility that we might learn something new and interesting, and expand our minds by studying these things.) The Fortean in me makes me want to defend the possibility of this one. (But just the possibility.)

    Perhaps this much stronger version might be called 'Type 2 UAP's'

    And that's why I think this current crop of 'UAPs' are so interesting. They appear to have multiple witnesses, radar and photographic confirmation, and at least appear to fall outside the limits of current aerospace technology. So they don't reduce all that easily to the familiar and the known. They are perhaps our best examples of cases that might arguably turn out to be Type 2 UAPs.

    Yes, that's where I differ most dramatically from the "skeptics", I guess. They and I both accept the existence of 'Type 1 UAP's' (things seen in the sky whose nature is currently unknown). But unlike them, I don't assume a-priori that the 'Type 2 UAP's' (things seen in the sky whose nature falls outside the currently known and accepted) must of some apodeictic or probabilisitic necessity just be an empty "woo" set.
    Last edited: May 20, 2023
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  15. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    NASA's UAP meeting is live. Some highlights as described by me:

    Their public report should be out by the end of July.

    Their observation dataset will be available online to everyone.

    They only consider unclassified data. This means they can share the data with other scientists.

    UAP aren't generally classified secret. But many military sensors are secret. If an F-35 photographs the Statue of Liberty, it will be classified not because the Statue of Liberty is classified, but because the sensors on the F-35 are classified.

    They say that some of their committee have suffered harassment.

    Stigma remains a major problem. Commercial airline pilots are particularly reluctant to report things that they see, for fear of career damage. But stigma is going down, particularly after the Navy cases became public. This is a good thing.

    Interesting stuff about camera artifacts. Most UAP data sensors and data collection situations aren't well enough characterized to rule them out. What were the technical details of the camera, what were the camera's settings, where were light sources located relative to the object photographed etc. Data needs to be better calibrated.

    Sean Kirkpatrick from the AARO says only a small percentage of observations display "anomalous characteristics". Perhaps 2% to 5% of the AARO data.

    Sean says many/most observations remain unidentified, largely due to poor quality of the data. They currently have more than 800 military reports. They get 50-100 reports a month.

    Sean says lots of collection bias in their data. Military reports are clustered in places where the military operates. Altitudes cluster around altitudes that military aircraft were operating.

    Most reports are from DOD sensors. DOD sensors are designed to detect known objects (enemy aircraft, missiles etc.) They are not scientific sensors.

    Efforts are underway to develop better calibrated sensors.

    They are trying to encourage crowd-sourcing of data collection. Foreign collaborations. Geographic location data is a "low hanging fruit".

    Cell-phone photos aren't generally very helpful, since their cameras are too uncalibrated. But they can provide other useful data such as location.

    Sean says that the US military and intelligence agencies already have the highest concentration and variety of well-understood calibrated detectors anywhere in the world. Their problem is figuring out where to point them.

    Sean says that the metallic sphere video from over the Middle East is typical of their "anomalous cases" and it is from an EO sensor that AARO understands very well. His opinion is "That is a real object." He played video showing it moving, passing above all kinds of stuff on the ground in the background.

    AARO thinks one of the benefits of bringing NASA on board is that they can collaborate more easily with foreign partners without secret classification problems. AARO is already in communication with "five eyes" countries (UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand).

    FAA representative says they have mission of safe and efficient control of US airspace. This is evolving with introduction of UAVs/drones. Millions of flights a year, tens of thousands a day. Today FAA concentrates on manned aircraft and drone operator's reponsibility is to stay out of their way. There are laws about what altitudes drones can operate at.

    Cooperative surveillance vs non-cooperative surveillance. Transponders vs no transponders. UAP cases are non-cooperative cases since they don't have transponders that "squawk" the aircraft's identity.

    Short and long range radars. Coverage varies by altitude. The higher the altitude, the further away aircraft can be detected. Coverage is much better for cooperative surveillance. Big gaps in western US for noncooperative surveillance.

    Drones are a big challenge. Estimated 880,000 of them. They are generally limited by law regarding altitude.

    FAA retain their radar data in processed form, for a period of months.

    FAA controllers submit three to five UAP reports a month. Very small percentage of total aircraft movements. But FAA mission is on air traffic control for known manned aircraft, particularly airliners. Controllers aren't concerned with spotting anomalies.

    (They are taking their lunch break, more still to come.)
    Last edited: May 31, 2023
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  16. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Thanks for this Yazata. I had it scheduled to tune in but got called away.
  17. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    (Meeting resuming.)

    Definition of UAP has changed. Was Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. It has changed to Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena, so as to include the space and undersea domains. But their emphasis is still on atmospheric sightings.

    NASA has a huge body of scientific data, all publicly available, that might prove relevant. Such as data on environmental conditions around various sightings.

    NASA would like to encourage collaboration with government agencies, the academic community, both of these internationally and not just in the US, plus citizen-scientists everywhere. NASA is uniquely positioned to do that.

    UAP data today is of very inconsistent quality. Much of citizen-science is anecdotal, which is fine but by its nature is hugely uncalibrated. This suggested the need for instrumental platforms that are well understood.

    Problem of detecting anomalies in very noisy and complex data. Requires a better understanding of data that is usual, with anomalies being what isn't consistent with what is believed to be normal.

    Research typically requires follow-up data, which is a problem with ephemeral events.

    Efforts are underway to standardize the data for AI machine learning analysis. There isn't enough good data to train an AI neural net. So possibility of using synthetic data to train the AI's is being considered, but this introduces possibilty of inbuilt bias.

    Citizen-science will be hard to standardize in the needed way. Reporting formats, cellphone apps stuff like that.

    NASA is currently searching for technological signatures elsewhere than Earth. They think that finding extraterrestial artifacts in our solar system is "plausible". But nothing has been discovered so far. There's an obvious problem of recognizing it when we see it. It isn't just radio messages as in SETI.

    The search for techno-signatures are a new thing for NASA and it's historically been subject to a great deal of stigma. That is changing and they applaud that change.

    One thing that's reducing stigma is the DOD encouraging reporting by military personnel. This stigma reduction needs to be extended to the civilian world. NASA needs to study the social-cultural barriers to reporting and studying UAPs and how NASA can leverage its reputation to reduce stigma around this subject.

    NASA needs a permanent UAP analysis office. It needn't be expensively funded, since the most costly data collection efforts are separetely funded.

    The need for synthesizing data from many sensors not optimized for UAP data collection. Military data, FAA data, private satellite companies etc.

    UFOlogists have big datasets, but their data quality is questionable and it will be hard to include in a consistent well-calibrated dataset that can be chewed on by a big-data pattern-recognition AI.

    There needs to be uniform data when searching for outliers. It's unrealistic to demand a single UAP detector with known characteristics. But every instrument has its own characteristics.

    Hard to look for anomalies when we don't know precisely what we are looking for. We won't find it if we aren't looking for it, so what should they look for? One way to address that might be to train an AI on range of normal expectations, with it tagging whatever data deviates from normal/ordinary in some way for further examination. Those exceptions might deviate in multiple different ways.

    (Moving into questions submitted.)

    Their purpose is to look at what kind of cases have been reported and which have and haven't been resolved. Then in light of that, what kind of future data will facilitate better understanding of UAP. It isn't to analyze particular sightings and produce conclusions about them.

    Lots of pushback to suggestions that NASA is hiding UAP evidence. Nope, they aren't going there. They are open, scientists aren't like that etc.

    NASA hopes to normalize the study of UAP and reduce the stigma associated with it.

    NASA is emphasizing international cooperation and has unique ability to do that.

    When asked if they have evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence, answer was rather evasive. First person answering said lots of stuff about "scientific method" and "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" etc. Second person produced a more definite statement that no evidence of extraterrestrial origin of UAPs currently exists.

    NASA currently has no evidence of extraterrestial life, but they take the possibility seriously and they are searching. NASA exobiologists are really into this, and if they acquire evidence of extraterrestrial life they will rush to announce it because it would be the biggest success of their careers!

    What should citizen-scientists do? Report what they see. Most UAP reports will turn out to be familiar objects, perhaps in unfamiliar circumstances. (But as the Chinese balloon showed, that might still be important.) But some reports will almost inevitably be unfamiliar physical phenomena.

    What is the big takeaway? We need better data!

    (Media teleconference at 3 PM EDT is next up)
    Last edited: May 31, 2023
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  18. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Excellent summation Yazata. Tks for doing that!

    I can go with Unidentified Anomalous Phenomenon. It seems to have the virtue of referring to a non-mundane event by its very definition as well as covering underwater anomalies historically referred to as USOs (Unidentified Submerged Objects):
    Last edited: May 31, 2023
  19. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I see the seeds for a killer app in there.

    Remember the SETI project that allowed citizen-scientists to look for ET?
    Remember the Covid contact app?

    What someone needs to do is develop a phone app that incorporates all the necessary metadata into a package for reporting UAPs. Geolocation, timing, acclerometry, magnetometry, coordination with nearby observers, local alerts, special camera processing software (for keeping object on-screen and in-focus!), etc.
    Last edited: May 31, 2023
  20. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    (Media Q&A is underway)

    They have not yet made their recommendations. They are still formulating them. The report should be out by the end of July and will be public.

    BBC asks if they have discussed what to do if they do discover UAPs are extraterrestrial. We know from events here on Earth what happens when more advanced cultures meet less advanced ones. They say that wasn't part of their mission, but many of them have discussed it privately. They say they will announce whatever they discover.

    AP asked about stigma and how NASA decided to do this. The NASA Administrator pushed for it. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2022 established the AARO and the NASA Administrator pushed for NASA's own involvement.

    A big hurdle is division between those who are totally convinced that UAPs are alien vehicles and those who are adamant that taking them seriously is totally stupid.

    If we are to allow science to proceed, it has to proceed freely. Harassment of those who take it seriously, doesn't serve science.

    Astrobiologist says that if he had to allocate astrobiology funding, he wouldn't allocate it to UAP research until some more convincing evidence of extraterrestial life is discovered.

    Reuters asked about a dedicated UAP research satellite. Problem is that satellites cover big areas at low resolution, or small areas at high resolution. They think that crowd-sourcing citizen-science will cover the planet better, provided that quality of citizen-science can be improved.

    They emphasize that they had no access to classified data.

    Quartz asks if they think NASA needs a permanent UAP office. They say that too many blue-ribbon reports sit on the shelf and gather dust. A NASA UAP office needn't be expensive. asks how transient phenomena lend themselves to scientific repeatability. They mention Fast Radio Bursts. Many of these proved to be associated with leaky nearby microwave ovens! But some proved to be real astrophysical phenomena.

    Defense Scoop asks if they aren't getting everything that DoD and CIA has, how can NASA be sure that they are getting the real complete picture. Answer is to repeat that not using classified data means they can collaborate internationally and communicate with the public.

    They say they are still considering how to use cell-phones. There are billions of them around the world. They not only take pictures, but they can measure all kinds of physical variables like magnetic and gravatitional fields, GPS data etc. The problems with cellphones is that they are uncalibrated. Researchers also need metadata, data about the data. They still haven't finished their recommendations, but are thinking of a NASA app.

    The FAA does not mandate civilian pilots to report UAP. There are no plans to require it. There are voluntary reporting procedures.

    (Teleconference wrapping up, that's it for today.)
    Last edited: May 31, 2023
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  21. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    They say that they are actively considering that. They still want to figure out what kind of data they need etc (including metadata about the phone's settings etc.). Then they might conceivably have some software firm create a NASA cell-phone app and put it out worldwide.
  22. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Damn that would be cool.
  23. foghorn Valued Senior Member

    The NASA meeting today.
    If anyone is interested in what was said about the "Go fast" uap, see time mark 2:28:25

    NASA meeting

    Mick west on "Go Fast" Rock on Mick West.
    Last edited: May 31, 2023
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