NASA Whitepaper Urges SETI Scientists to Address UFO Phenomenon

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A few months ago, a rather short but nonetheless interesting white paper (PDF link) was uploaded to the NASA technical reports servers/NTRS. The document, written by NASA Ames researcher Silvano P. Colombano, investigates how we might “refine” our strategy regarding the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).

Although MSM didn’t really pick it up back then, I think the paper does raise some key issues regarding our communication with potential ET civilizations. Rather surprisingly, it also refers to the UFO phenomenon as a field of study that deserves serious attention and consideration when discussing the ways in which extraterrestrial intelligence may reach out (ie. send signals), especially if they’re so advanced that it’s hard to actually compare them to our current level of civilization and technology.

The paper was part of the “SETI Decoding Alien Intelligence Workshop” (link) which took place in March this year. Among the participants were various renowned individuals, such as David Grinspoon and Jason Wright, just to name a few.

In a nutshell, Colombano recommends to rethink and challenge four assumptions that have dominated our SETI strategy over the past decades. The fourth point directly addresses the UFO phenomenon:

1. Interstellar travel is impossible or highly unlikely
2. Radio waves continue to be the major form of communication (…)
3. Intelligent civilizations would be based on carbon life
4. We have not been, and are not being… visited

Colombano goes on to explain in detail why all of these assumptions are flawed and limiting to the scope of our approach. Regarding UFOs, the white paper states the following conclusion/recommendation:

New Assumptions to Guide SETI Research

[We should] consider the UFO phenomenon worthy of study in the context of a system with very low signal to noise ratio, but nevertheless with the possibility of challenging some of our assumptions and pointing to new possibilities for communication and discovery (…)

One of the recommendations made is to study UFO reports as a low signal to noise ratio phenomenon. Big Data Analysis could approach several existing databases such as 130,000 pages of declassified U.S. Air Force documents, National UFO Reporting Center Database and several other international databases.

There are of course different ways of interpreting what Colombano exactly means in terms of the phenomenon’s connection with SETI and ET communication. But essentially it comes down to the fact that we cannot exclude the possibility of ‘them’ having visited us in the past or the phenomenon being a manifestation of ET communication.

Mankind’s “communications footprint” in the universe:

The paper also reminds us that the timeline of modern man is relatively short and that modern technology only started to emerge some 150 years ago. An incredibly short period compared to the age of the universe and the time that other civilisations (and technologies) might have had for their own evolution, if they indeed exist. It may also help to look at our own limited footprint in the universe, in terms of our radio communications. We barely reached beyond 100 light years and once we move on to other technologies and methods of communication, our messages may be compressed or encrypted such that they become indistinguishable from background noise.

Humans on the timeline of the universe:

Admittedly, the arguments mentioned in this white paper are not necessarily new but I can’t remember having come across any UFO connection before in this context. And it’s also refreshing to have something like this in “black and white”, so to say, officially available on NASA servers. IMO this may help looking at the UFO phenomenon from a different angle and making it just a tad bit more “mainstream”.

Thanks for taking the time to read all this and I very much look forward to your thoughts!

Sources & Links:
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01. PDF: New Assumptions to Guide SETI Research
02. Website of “SETI Decoding Alien Intelligence Workshop”
03. Guest Papers of the DAI Workshop
04. Silvano P. Colombano on Research Gate
05. More info about Colombano on Space Architect
06. Repository of NASA Technical Reports Servers
07. Article: We wouldn’t Be Able To Decrypt Seti Messages From Aliens
08. Website of NASA Ames Research Center
09. Website of the SETI Institute

edit on 2-12-2018 by jeep3r because: formatting

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