NASA to Harness AI to Monitor the Skies for Unidentified Anomalies

ODSC - Open Data Science
3 min readSep 29, 2023

In a press briefing via Fox News, NASA says that it will begin to use new advancements in artificial intelligence to better monitor the skies for unidentified anomalies. According to the space agency, the hope is to use AI to have a better understanding of the data surrounding anomalous phenomena and their origins.

This report comes after talks of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs dominated a better portion of the summer of 2023. In the briefing, an Administer of NASA emphasized the need to use AI programs to help comb through massive datasets for information humans can miss.

Part of this is the difficulty beyond analyzing data on unidentified anomalous phenomena and their UFO (unidentified flying objects) counterparts. Much of this is due to the data’s nature and sheer quantity.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said, “We will use AI and machine learning to search the skies for anomalies… and will continue to search the heavens for habitable reality is just coming on the scene to be explored in all areas, so why should we limit any technological tool in analyzing, using data that we have?”

Thanks to recent advancements in artificial intelligence technology, it has become much more possible to sift through the data in a manner where scientists can pull meaningful insights. Dr. Nicola Fox, associate administrator for NASA, said, “So a lot of our data are just sort of wiggly line plots. We get excited about wiggly line plots, by the way, but sometimes, you see the wiggles, but you miss a signal.”

Dr. Fox pointed to data NASA has had for some time and how AI can now make a difference, “By using artificial intelligence, we can often find signatures. So one example we’ve had is to be able to find signatures of superstorms using very old data that, you know, really is before sort of like routine scientific satellite data.

As part of the much-talked-about UFO report, NASA also made several recommendations on how its teams should approach and analyze data about UAPs. The report stated in part, “The panel finds that sophisticated data analysis techniques, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, must be used in a comprehensive UAP detection campaign when coupled with systematic data gathering and robust curation.”

Asked if he was worried that Congress would harm the agency’s ability to use AI to analyze data, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said, “No, I don’t think that any attempts that Congress has underway to try to write a law that would appropriately put guardrails around AI for other reasons are anyway going to inhibit us from utilizing the tools of AI to help us in our quest on this specific issue.”

This move by NASA is reflective of the Whitehouse’s AI Bill of Rights paper released in the summer of 2022. In it, the executive branch asked agencies to research AI and possible uses for the emerging technology.

As for NASA, the agency hopes that AI could be a key to help better understand what is happening in the stars above.

Originally posted on

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