Table of contents:
- As scientists, we must simply allow scientific curiosity to initiate understanding of such phenomena
- Because we are scientists
- So what should be the approach?
- So shouldn't we scientists investigate and curb speculation around them?
- We, as scientists, cannot hastily reject any phenomenon without deep study and then conclude that the event itself is unscientific
- We must repeat - UFOs are a global phenomenon
A group of scientists, July 27, 2020 - published an article in the American scientific journal Scientific American in which they write that the UFO phenomenon requires scientific research. UFOs are a scientifically interesting problem and different teams of scientists from different scientific fields should study UFOs.
The existence of a UFO was recently confirmed by the US Navy.and three videos have been officially released by the Pentagon showing "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena" (UAP) or "Unidentified Flying Objects" (UFOs) in our skies. Reflections on the authenticity of the video should touch everyone who is interested in the topic of UFOs in general.
Having admitted their authenticity, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to say what it really is, without the complete data that the military probably has - what happened before and after these video fragments? Were there simultaneous observations from other instruments or pilot observations?
To judge the nature of these objects (and they are "objects", which is confirmed by the Navy), a consistent explanation is required, which must take into account and connect all the facts of events. And this is where interdisciplinary research is needed.
The proposal for the scientific study of UFO phenomena is not new. The problem of understanding such unexplained UFO incidents sparked interest in scientists in the 1960s, with the result that the US Air Force funded a group at the University of Colorado, led by physicist Edward Condon, to study UFOs from 1966 to 1968. Condon's final report concluded that further study of UFOs is unlikely to be scientifically interesting - a finding that has generated mixed reactions from scientists and the public.
Fears about the inadequacy of the methods used in the Condon report culminated in congressional hearings in 1968 and a debate organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 1969 with scientists such as Carl Sagan, J. Allen Hynek, James MacDonald, Robert Hall and Robert Baker. Hynek was a professor of astronomy at Ohio State University and led Project Blue Book, while McDonald, who was a renowned meteorologist and a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and AAAS, conducted a thorough investigation of UFO events. Sagan, professor of astronomy at Cornell University, was one of the organizers of the AAAS debate. He dismissed the extraterrestrial hypothesis as unlikely, but still considered the UFO subject worthy of scientific research.
However, recent UFO sightings have yet to generate similar interest in the scientific community. Part of the reason may be the apparent taboos surrounding UFO phenomena linking it to the paranormal or pseudoscience, while ignoring the very existence of evidence of the presence of UFOs on Earth
Sagan even wrote in an afterword to the 1969 debate about "strong opposition" from other scholars who "were convinced that AAAC sponsorship would somehow help" unscientific "ideas."
As scientists, we must simply allow scientific curiosity to initiate understanding of such phenomena
Why should astronomers, meteorologists, or planetary scientists care about these events? Shouldn't we just let image analysts or radar surveillance experts solve this problem?
Good questions, and rightly so. Why should we care?
Because we are scientists
Curiosity is the reason we became scientists.In the current multidisciplinary collaborative environment, if someone (especially a fellow scientist) contacts us with an unresolved problem that is outside our purview, we usually do our best to actually contact other experts in our professional network to try and get some Something outside perspective to find the answer. At best, we work on a document or proposal with a colleague from another discipline; in the worst case, we learn something new from a colleague in another discipline. Anyway,
So what should be the approach?
If a scientific explanation is required, an interdisciplinary approach is needed to account for the combined observational characteristics of UFOs, rather than isolate one aspect of the event. In addition, UFO events are not US-specific events. They are all over the world. Several other countries have studied them.
So shouldn't we scientists investigate and curb speculation around them?
Systematic research is essential to bring unidentified phenomena into the mainstream of science. First, the collection of reliable data is of paramount importance to establish the credibility of the explanation of the phenomena. Many independent research groups desperately need rigorous scientific analysis, just as we do to evaluate other scientific discoveries.
We, as scientists, cannot hastily reject any phenomenon without deep study and then conclude that the event itself is unscientific
We must insist on strict agnosticism. We propose an approach that is purely rational: UFOs are sightings that puzzle and await explanation. Like any other scientific discovery.
The temporal nature of UFO events, and therefore the unpredictability of when and where the next event will occur, is probably one of the main reasons why UFOs have not been taken seriously in academia. But how can you define a pattern without systematically collecting data in the first place? In astronomy, observations (location and timing) of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), supernovae, and gravitational waves are also unpredictable. However, we now recognize them as natural phenomena arising from stellar evolution.
How did we develop detailed and complex mathematical models that could explain these natural phenomena? Thanks to the joint efforts of scientists around the world, who carefully collected data on each incident and systematically observed it. We still cannot predict when and where such astronomical events will occur in the sky.
But we understand to some extent the nature of gamma-ray bursts, supernovae, and gravitational waves. How? Because we did not reject the phenomena or the people who observed them. We studied them. Astronomers have tools to enable them to share the data they collect, even if some question their claim. Likewise, we need tools to observe UFOs; Radar, thermal and visual observations will be extremely useful.
We must repeat - UFOs are a global phenomenon
Perhaps some or even most of the UFO events are just warplanes, or strange weather events, or other unidentified mundane phenomena. However, there are still a number of truly mysterious cases worth investigating.
Of course, not all scientists need to make UFO research part of their research field of view. For those who do so, breaking the taboos surrounding this phenomenon will help in building interdisciplinary teams of motivated people who can begin genuine scientific research on UFOs.
A template for conducting rigorous scientific research can be found in James MacDonald's article Science by default.While he shares the conclusion that these events may be aliens (which has not yet been confirmed), the McDonald's methodology itself is an excellent example of objective scientific analysis. And that's exactly what we scientists can do to study these events.
As Sagan concluded during the 1969 debate, “Scientists are particularly prone to open-mindedness; it is the lifeblood of science. " We do not know what UFOs are, and that is why we scientists need to study them.
Ravi Copparapuis a planetary scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center who studies planetary suitability, climate modeling and chemistry in the context of exoplanet atmospheric characterization. He is the author of nearly 50 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals and book chapters.
Jacob Haqq-Misra- an astrobiologist who studies planetary habitats, the search for extraterrestrial life and human settlement on Mars. He is a Research Fellow at the Blue Marble Space Science Institute and is the author of over 50 peer-reviewed publications.
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