There's a long list of reported Unidentified Flying Object sightings that span hundreds of years. The Mutual UFO Network is building a site to collect all of those stores in one place.
Does that sound a little too X-Files for your taste? I don't blame you. The reason for which the Mutual UFO Network built its network might change your mind.
The goal behind building this massive database, according to the Mutual UFO Network, is to study alien technology. Jan Harzan, executive director of the network, told Space.com how scientists could use information gathered from UFO sightings:
A second major benefit would be breakthroughs in the energy these craft use to power themselves. From the thousands of observations we have, they are not using propellers, jet engines or rocket motors to propel themselves, nor do they require large fuel tanks.
James Oberg, a NASA vet and a well-known space journalist, disagrees about the database's usefulness. He believes that the database could be useful as a historical document, but not for spotting UFOs.
He explained his perspective to Space.com:
Any number of human agencies can — and probably has — found it useful to be mistaken by the public for flying-saucer visits, but that usually seems opportunistic rather than deliberate. These can be governments, corporations, even criminal enterprises. Once in a while, a hoaxer or spoofing club adds more mud to the water.
I'm sure you've heard about the claim that many reported UFO sightings were actually government spy planes, well that's exactly what Oberg thinks UFO hunters should be documenting:
So, diligent records-keeping, report writing, witness interviews, as conducted by generations of seriously interested private part-time investigators, can provide information which only years or decades later makes sense. It may not be the explanations most of them were hoping for, but it makes their work honorable and constructive all the same. Kudos to them — may their tribe increase!
What Oberg is really saying is that, whether or not you believe in UFOs, The Mutual UFO Network will still have some historical significance and value. Oberg is a famous UFO debunker, and I think that makes his approval of the UFO database that much more valuable.