Do you ever look up into the sky and wonder about your place in the stars? Soon, we may know more about just that.

A group of 16 researchers, including retired U.S. Navy captain and astronaut Scott Kelly, will spend the next nine months on a NASA team studying unidentified aerial phenomena, also known as UFOs.

Using unclassified data, the team of scientific experts will “lay the groundwork for future study,” according to a NASA press release. The study begins Monday.

“Exploring the unknown in space and the atmosphere is at the heart of who we are at NASA,” Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said in a statement.

“Understanding the data we have surrounding unidentified aerial phenomena is critical to helping us draw scientific conclusions about what is happening in our skies. Data is the language of scientists and makes the unexplainable, explainable.”

In the interest of national security and air safety, NASA says the group will help construct a roadmap for UAP data analysis.

The move comes after renewed national interest in the existence of aliens and speculation about the lack of government transparency on the subject.

NASA first announced the project in June, just a month after Congress held its first public UFO hearing in more than 50 years. It also came right before the Pentagon revealed in July that it was expanding an office to track UFOs.

In June 2021, a Director of National Intelligence report found that more than 140 incidents of UAP encounters occurred between 2004 and 2021.

While NASA holds there is “no evidence UAPs are extra-terrestrial in origin,” exactly what “scientific conclusions” the study will uncover remain to be seen. The budget for the project is about $100,000, according to

Kelly, who will be joined on the panel by various aerospace experts, notably served not only as a fighter pilot in the sea service but also 20 years with NASA.

A full report of the team’s findings is expected to be published in mid-2023.

Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media

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