NASA’s new chief is stepping up efforts to further study unidentified flying objects (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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Are we alone in the universe? It is one of the most fundamental questions scientific and mathematical experts have been pondering for decades.

And it is a topic that looks set to be high on the agenda once again this summer as the Pentagon prepares to publish a 'bombshell' report later this month into UFOs. At the same time, the new head of super space agency NASA is allowing researchers to study the phenomenon of unidentified flying objects.

Even former US president Barack Obama has weighed in on the debate, confirming "footage and records" of unidentified objects exist. When questioned on the Late Late Show he added: “When it comes to aliens, there are things I just can’t tell you on air.”

Former US president Barack Obama confirmed "footage and records" of unidentified objects exist
(Image: The Late Late Show with James Corden)

New NASA head Bill Nelson, who was an astronaut himself, told CNN he will allow the agency’s scientists to explore the unidentified high-speed objects that have been spotted within the Earth's atmosphere by US military pilots over the years.

"We don’t know if it’s extraterrestrial. We don’t know if it’s an enemy. We don’t know if it’s an optical phenomenon," Nelson told CNN.

"We don’t think it’s an optical phenomenon because of the characteristics that those Navy jet pilots described… and so the bottom line is, we want to know."

He is now setting up a formal task force to allow NASA scientists to explore different facets of the unidentified objects.

Jackie McGuinness, NASA’s press secretary, also told CNN: "This is a really interesting phenomenon and Americans are clearly interested in it, so if the scientists want to investigate, they should.”

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The hotly anticipated declassified intelligence report regarding what appear to be unidentified objects from the Pentagon is expected to be published on June 25.

The New York Times has reported it will say the vast majority of the 120 sightings made by US Navy personnel over the past 20 years were not American military or other government technology.