A group of UFO hunters is planning to launch a "global database" in order to find answers to supposed extraterrestrial encounters.

The Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) is looking for $78k (£52k) to build the database, which would be used to capture UFO reports, display data and for members of the public to report their sightings.

Described as the "world's oldest and largest investigative body into the UFO phenomenon", MUFON was set up in 1969 and has been tracking UFO activity ever since.

Funds will go towards a number of improvements, including the usability of their website's "report a UFO" function.

"We want to provide a free, accessible and robust interface to filter, sort, search and visualise the data," it said. "This will help professional and armchair researchers find patterns and possibly even answers in the UFO data."

MUFON also revealed plans to grow their membership base and engage in more research.

Jan Harzan, executive director of MUFON, said the study of UFOs needs systematic observations and measurements.

What MUFON\'s new website and database would look like MUFON

"Each month, MUFON receives between 500 and 1,000 UFO reports from all over the globe," Harzan told Space.com. "These reports come from many credible sources, including airline pilots, military personnel, former intelligence officers, doctors, lawyers, as well as the general public.

"Meanwhile, with the explosion of cellphones, video cameras, and print and online media reports, both past and present — as well as tens of thousands of paper UFO files collected by MUFON prior to 2006 — the need to be able to have all this data in one place and easily correlated is all the more important."

Harzan said that if they do one day find an extraterrestrial spacecraft, mankind could use it to develop faster transportation – both on Earth and throughout the cosmos.

"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," he said.

If MUFON reaches its fundraising goal, the new database will be launched in May or June of this year. The organisation said most of the money will be used to pay developers and programmers to create the new system.

As well as helping to fund the MUFON database, people who donate more than $35 will also get a free ''Report a UFO'' t-shirt.