AUSTIN, Texas - NASA began a first-of-its-kind study Monday, looking into what else—or who else—might be out in the universe. Specifically, the team is looking into UFOs and other unexplained sightings in the sky—some of which have happened here in Texas.
"It's on like Donkey Kong, the race to find out the truth about UFOs and aliens," said Texas-based UFOlogist Jane Kyle, better known as "UFO Jane".
16 of the world’s leading scientists are part of the new study, digging into data on UFOs and other "unidentified aerial phenomena" (UAP). The team includes former astronaut Scott Kelly.
"I think if serious scientists, astronauts, you've actually spent time out there in space think that this is a topic worth studying, then I think it probably is," said Kyle.
The renewed interest in UFOs comes after the Pentagon released videos of 144 flying objects that the military couldn’t explain.
That led to a congressional UFO hearing in May—the first in 50 years—followed by a government report that concluded more research needs to be done to understand what’s behind them.
"It's a really big deal. It's really important," said Kyle.
Kyle has spent more than 10 years looking into UFO sightings in Texas, and there are a lot of them. According to TravelLens, Texas ranks number four in the nation for UFO sightings, with more than 5,800 recorded since 1998.
"Those are real-time phenomena happening right here in the Lone Star State. People are seeing weird things in the sky all the time," said Kyle.
Sightings include a glowing object near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in 2014, a triangle of lights over East Austin in 2017, a black cluster over New Braunfels in 2021—and just last month, a glowing object over Killeen and a mysterious orange light moving through the sky over Kyle.
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"There still continue to be those cases that perplex me every year," said Kyle. "I really kind of think all the theories are on the table."
The nine-month study will yield a final report next summer. I asked Kyle what she hopes will come from it.
"I guess best case scenario, we find out aliens are real and they're here and they're friendly and they want to help us," said Kyle. "But I think if NASA's able to find out enough from these nine months that they just want to continue looking into it, I think that would be a win," said Kyle.
The overall goal, NASA says, is to lay the groundwork for future study of UFOs.