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Late last week, it finally happened: A long-teased intelligence report on UAPs, complete with firsthand accounts of Navy pilots, was released. And for those who have been following this issue for a long time, the report—though inaccurately downplayed in a number of ensuing news updates—was about as inconclusive (on the surface) as it was expected to be.

The good news, of course, is that the report exists at all. Furthermore, the main takeaway—i.e. the fact that the overwhelming majority of UAP (more commonly referred to as UFO) sightings of this type remain entirely unexplained—should stand as merely the latest sign that it’s long been time to take this issue seriously.

In fact, as NASA Administrator Bill Nelson explained earlier this week, the report should indeed mark the beginning of a deeper search.

“I’ve seen the classified report,” Nelson told CNN’s Pamela Brown in an interview that aired Monday. “It says basically what we thought. We don’t know the answer to what those Navy pilots saw. Now, they know that they saw something. They tracked it. They locked their radar onto it. They followed it. It would suddenly move quickly from one location to another. And what the report does tell us that is public is that there have been over 140 of these sightings, So, naturally, what I ask our scientists to do is to see if there’s any kind of explanation from a scientific point of view and I’m awaiting their report.”

Asked if he had a “strong feeling” about who could possibly be responsible for the objects seen in the widely shared footage that first hit the mainstream discussion thanks in large part to the work of To the Stars Academy of Arts & Science (TTSA), Nelson confirmed that there is currently no consensus with regards to possible explanations.

“Not only reading the report but three years ago I talked to the Navy pilots when we were briefed in the Senate Armed Services Committee and my feeling is that there is clearly something there,” Nelson said. “It may not necessarily be an extraterrestrial but if it is a technology that some of our adversaries have then we better be concerned.”

Elaborating further, Nelson pointed to NASA’s own work in determining whether life beyond this planet can be proven. He also gave his personal assessment on the topic of extraterrestrial intelligence, saying he doesn’t believe human beings are alone in this universe. After all, as Nelson pointed out, it would be quite a waste of space if we were the only ones here.

“Ever since that video from the Navy pilots came out people are hungry to know,” Nelson said. “And of course, ever since Star Trek, people are yearning to find out what’s out there in the cosmos. Are we alone? Personally I don’t think we are. The universe is so big. 13 and a half billion years ago is when the universe started. That’s pretty big! But people are hungry for this kind of information and we’re gonna keep searching.”

Again, Nelson’s assessment of the current state of the search for answers with regards to unidentified aerial phenomena marks only the latest example of a leading expert expressing post-report optimism. 

Last week, Christopher K. Mellon—former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence—summarized the new report as “merely a waypoint” in a larger historic discussion.

“The question now is whether our government has the intellectual integrity to pursue the issue to its conclusion,” Mellon, who also previously worked with TTSA, said.