Artist's rendering of a UFO sphere in the sky. Depositphotos.

Machine Learning: The Future of UFO Detection?

Machine learning can help us figure out what UFOs really are.


With growing interest in unidentified aerial phenomena and interstellar objects, scientists are leaning into advanced tech, like machine learning and hyperspectral imaging, to dive deeper into the cosmic unknown.

2017 was monumental. The interstellar object 1I/”Oumuamua” graced our skies, and its unparalleled nature left the scientific community in fervent debate. Among the intriguing theories, a few suggested it might have been an extraterrestrial craft fragment.

A Renewed Interest in Extraterrestrial Exploration

The UFO Report unveiled by the ODNI in 2021 heightened public intrigue. Now, exploring unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) isn’t merely a covert operation but a valued scientific endeavor. Keen-eyed researchers are harnessing AI, contemporary computing, and advanced instrumentation to spot potential cosmic “visitors.”

A recent research initiative from the University of Strathclyde spotlighted the synthesis of hyperspectral imaging and machine learning. Spearheaded by Prof. Massimiliano Vasile from Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, the interdisciplinary team combined expertise from the fields of Aerospace Engineering, Electronic and Electrical Engineering, and Photonics.


As revealed by Universe Today, their paper, which awaits review in Scientific Reports, discusses the application of hyperspectral imaging in space activities. It’s a continuation of their February 2023 publication in Acta Astronautica.

Unraveling UAP Mysteries with Advanced Imaging

Hyperspectral imaging analyzes the electromagnetic spectrum, deciphering different materials in images. As Vasile elucidated, combining this with machine learning can effectively filter out human-induced space debris, zeroing in on authentic technosignatures. The goal? To have a comprehensive space object dataset, inclusive of debris and other orbiting entities. While complete data remains elusive, Vasile’s team innovatively employed numerical physics simulation software for training machine learning models.

Using a blend of machine learning and mathematical regression analysis, they associated spectral data with specific material classes. Initial tests—conducted in labs, through high-fidelity simulators, and telescopes—yielded promising results, although challenges persist due to a limited material database.


Vasile’s team is prepping their next revelation, focusing on attitude reconstruction. This groundbreaking work is slated for presentation at the 2024 AIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition in Orlando, Florida.

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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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