As the name implies, UFO data refers to information about unidentified flying objects: typically, objects in the atmosphere—sometimes very close to the ground—in an unfamiliar shape and seeming to move at an uncharacteristically fast speed. While “alien spacecraft” is one possible explanation for these objects, other explanations, like “enemy aircraft” or “parhelion,” also exist.
The military has changed terminology to UAP, for unidentified aerial phenomena, but it will take time before the general public makes the switch themselves.
Either military personnel or ordinary citizens report UFO or UAP sightings. When ordinary people spot unidentified objects, there may be some time before the military gets involved, especially since they have only recently opened up a UAP Task Force.
One of the largest organizations that records and investigates UFO/UAP sightings is MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network, a civilian-led organization founded in 1969.
MUFON created a now widely-used UFO/UAP categorization system of four types:
MUFON additionally lists five subcategories but these have not entered the popular lexicon to the extent that the main four types have.
Other databases present maps of sightings and resolved or identified object sightings, where a previously identified object has been identified.
Many databases also contain legal cases or documents related to UFOs/UAPs.
Naturally, individuals interested in spaceflight and the possibility of intelligent alien life use this data to explore these topics. Military-minded individuals and programs use this data to determine whether familiar enemies have made some technological breakthrough that must be prepared for or copied and improved upon. Other interested parties include meteorologists, physicists, engineers, and anyone interested in unexplained phenomena.
The first step in building a UFO/UAP dataset is to make sure an object can’t be identified through normal means. To that end, researchers should review the reports and recordings of the object. Then they must compare their appearances to flight logs, meteorological data, and any other possible source of the phenomena.
After that, however, the military may step in to investigate themselves. When they make an identification or what that identification can’t be known ahead of time.
After circulating online for years, the now-declassified videos capture the bewildered reactions of Navy pilots as they were witnessing the inexplicable flight behaviors of up close and personal UFOs.
“We have things flying over our military bases and places where we are conducting military exercises, and we don’t know what it is and it isn’t ours, so that’s a legitimate question to ask,” Sen. Marco Rubio told Miami’s WFOR-TV.
“Frankly, if it’s something from outside this planet, that might actually be better than the fact that we’ve seen some sort of technological leap on behalf of the Chinese or the Russians or some other adversary.”
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