NASA Chief Nelson: Agency Scientists Investigating Navy's UFO Videos NASA Chief Administrator Bill Nelson speaks during a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill on April 21. (Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Monday, 07 June 2021 08:29 AM
Scientists at NASA are investigating U.S. Navy pilots' reports of unidentified flying objects after the Department of Defense released video of them trying to track a speeding object, Chief Administrator Bill Nelson says.
“I have talked to those Navy pilots, and they are sure that they saw something real, and of course, we’ve seen their video from their jets," Nelson told CNN. "What is it? We don’t know."
Nelson said he's asked agency scientists to look at the video "from a scientific standpoint" to determine if there can be a better idea about what was happening.
The video footage, from 2018, shows a flying object that did not have wings or a tail, like usual aircraft, and didn't show a visible exhaust plume.
“So now that I’m here at NASA, I’ve turned to our scientists and I’ve said: ‘Would you, looking at it from a scientific standpoint, see if you can determine so that we can have a better idea?’" Nelson said.
He added that it's not known if the aircraft the pilots saw was extra-terrestrial, sent by an enemy, or even if it was an optical phenomenon. However, he said NASA does not think it was an optical phenomenon, because of "the characteristics that those Navy jet pilots described as they saw it move around."
"The bottom line is we want to know, and that’s what we’re trying to do," Nelson said
Senators have asked the Pentagon and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to write an unclassified report, due in July, about the sightings.
Nelson said NASA isn't working with the Pentagon on the investigation, but he guarantees that if NASA finds something in its investigation, "the Pentagon will want to know," but he added he does not have any idea, personally, what the Navy pilots saw.
Meanwhile, NASA press secretary Jackie McGuinness told CNN that Nelson has not established a formal task force to begin investigating UFOs, but that he has directed researchers to explore any lines of questioning as they see fit.
"There's not really a lot of data and…scientists should be free to follow these leads, and it shouldn't be stigmatized," McGuinness said while admitting that UFO research can be negatively associated with unfounded conspiracy theories. "This is a really interesting phenomenon and Americans are clearly interested in it [so if] the scientists want to investigate, they should."
Last week, Thomas Zurbuchen, an astrophysicist and NASA's associate administrator for science said in a press briefing that he doesn't think the sightings are evidence of a technologically advanced alien civilization, reports CNN.
"People tend to underestimate nature. Nature is an amazing place where a lot of miracles happen. And once we understand, it's like, 'Why didn't we think of that?'" he said. "In the realm of science, we're all about unidentified issues and objects…So, using the tools of science, we will do whatever we can to move our understanding forward."
Kathy Lueders, NASA's associate administrator for human exploration and operations also joked about the topic.
"If anyone knows how to do spacecraft design like that I would love to talk to you," she said.