NASA has launched a study of Unidentified Atmospheric Phenomena (also known as UAPs or UFOs) as part of a new push toward high-risk, high-impact science.

The space agency announced Thursday, local time, that it is forming an independent team to find out how much information is available to the public on the matter and how much is needed to make sense of the unexplained scenes.

Specialists will also consider how best to use all this information in the future.

The chief of NASA’s science mission, Thomas Zurbuchen, acknowledged that the traditional scientific community might see NASA as a “sell-out” by venturing into the controversial topic, but he strongly disagreed.

“We are not shying away from stigmatization risks,” Dr. Zurbuchen said during an National Aeronautics and Space Administration webcast.

NASA considers this the first step in trying to explain the mysterious scenes in the sky that are officially known as unknown weather phenomena.


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