Harvard theoretical astrophysicist Avi Loeb co-founded a $1.755 million academic effort to find UFOs. What is it doing? Yesterday, Loeb revealed the Galileo project, which aims to develop a network of telescopes powered by artificial intelligence that can search for evidence of technological alien civilization on or near the earth.
The project has received mixed criticism from outside researchers who insist that although there is at least no harm in searching for these things in a rigorous manner, the probability of finding anything seems very small.
Galileo is the product of Loeb’s special passion-proving that’Oumuamua is the first interstellar comet ever discovered, and it may actually come from a probe seeking to understand the intelligent species of our solar system. For the past few years, he has been promoting this idea in scientific literature and non-fiction books, Alien.
Loeb said that in the process of promoting the book, many people interested in UFOs contacted him-now people more politely call it UFO, or UAP.It turns out that some of them were both rich and generous, and gave him a large sum of money for further, more formal investigations.
“I always emphasize the fact that whether an object is an artifact from technological civilization is not a philosophical question,” Loeb said. “It’s easy to answer by taking high-resolution photos.”
This is what he and his research partners in Galileo hope to do. By building an array of small instruments, these instruments will continue to scan the sky to capture any unusual data. The project also intends to develop sensors to find any unusual, man-made and potential alien satellites orbiting the earth, and to find other interstellar objects similar to Omomo for more detailed research.
Despite the odd focus, scientists who have nothing to do with the organization still believe that Galileo can provide useful information. Astronomer Lucianne Walkowicz of the Adler Planetarium in Chicago said: “In a sense, this may help legitimize this type of survey, which may be a very positive thing.”
“I’m glad to see that Avi and others are not afraid of stupid associations,” said Jason Wright, an astrophysicist at Pennsylvania State University, who is dedicated to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). “A lot of UFO things are far from the way we actually do science; it is difficult to associate ourselves with it and still be taken seriously. I appreciate that Avi will conduct some systematic data collection and research with a clean sheet of paper .”
Both Walkowicz and Wright emphasized that they do not believe that UAP has strange extraterrestrial interpretations, and believe that they are more likely to be ordinary things, such as airplanes, birds, insects, meteors, or atmospheric phenomena. Given their high degree of randomness—most witnesses describe them as suddenly appearing and disappearing quickly—it can be very difficult to construct detectors to monitor them.
Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said: “It’s hard to imagine how you can build a search strategy that has a chance to see it.” “I suspect there is more. SETI projects with multiple motivations and even UFO search projects can be funded with less funds.”
UAP is experiencing a certain cultural moment, and the Department of Defense and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence have released the highly anticipated Report The phenomenon I investigated last month. The government concluded that most events may have originated on the ground, such as weather balloons and foreign drones, but added that they are worthy of further study.
Galileo aims to go beyond the scope of confidential military information collection to produce publicly accessible data, which will be published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. “The Pentagon has a budget of $22 million to study UAP, and I’m not sure what will happen,” said Amir Siraj, a Harvard astrophysicist who participated in the project. “Hopefully, with less money, we can produce better results.”
Loeb said that a modern one-meter telescope can distinguish human details the size of a needle from a kilometer away, and the ready-to-order price is as low as $500,000. At present, Loeb has obtained enough funds for some of these instruments, but he hopes to eventually raise more than 10 times the funds and place multiple sensors in various unselected locations. These sensors will get detectors that use infrared and radar. s help.
The project has gathered a large number of technicians, instrumentalists and other scientists as part of its research team. It is currently supported by four wealthy individuals who make money mainly by developing industrial equipment for chemical applications, including chemist and entrepreneur Frank H. Laukien.Loeb said that the funding “has no strings attached, allowing me complete freedom”, even though every supporter is sitting Charity Advisory Committee For Galileo.
It remains to be seen how long these funders will stay in the project and whether Loeb will persuade others to donate additional funds. Given that it takes time for development and testing to filter out the large number of objects that are constantly whizzing overhead, it seems unlikely that Galileo will show a lot in the short term, said skeptical investigator Mikwest. Explanatory video About UAP video.
“The problem with UFOs is that they exist in low-information areas,” he added. “Historically, they have always been too far away to solve their problems, and every time you have a better camera, they will be farther away.”
Nevertheless, West welcomes more investigations. “Now, we have no evidence, and when we have evidence, it is quite controversial,” he said. “I hope things are less ambiguous.”
Galileo’s proposal is not entirely new.One project is called Sky Hub Seeking to use civilian owner sensors and machine learning to catalog events in the sky, which may help limit whether any particular event indicates a visitor from another planet.Instruments such as the upcoming Vera C. Rubin telescope have been planned to find new interstellar comets and asteroids, and the European Space Agency is developing its Comet Interceptor The mission may be launched in 2028 to wait for a possible rendezvous with some undiscovered suitable interstellar targets.
As for potential alien objects in low-Earth orbit, there is already a huge military and civilian array dedicated to monitoring the space around our planet, which is scattered with more than 20,000 known satellites and other entities. Loeb “basically had to replicate the entire space surveillance network and look for outliers,” McDowell said. “This is a very difficult and expensive project. To do a good job, the chance of finding something seems slim.”
Finally, there is the issue of Loeb’s personality. In recent years, he has become increasingly alienated from the astronomy community, portraying himself as a brave free thinker, challenging the closed dogma of the broader scientific community.
The slogan of the Galileo Project-“Dare to observe through a new telescope”-is intended to evoke the association of the scientist Galileo Galilei, who helped subvert the geocentric model of the universe through observation. But Loeb himself is not a marginalized outsider.
“Avi did this implying that he was an icon destroyer who broke the boundaries of science,” Vokovic said. “But he is in no danger. He is a tenured professor at Harvard.”
During the Zoom conference call in February, Loeb had a great confrontation with SETI pioneer Gil Tate. Reprimand She and other members of the community did not give more support to his proposal. (He has since apologized to Tate both publicly and privately.)
Few scholars, including those involved in the project, believe that they will find aliens on Earth. Abel Méndez, an astrobiologist at the University of Puerto Rico, said of the history of 4 billion years ago: “If we were really visited by aliens, then I expect we will see a lot of’museum artifacts’.” Alien book It can land on the surface of the earth, just like a Mars rover, with a heat shield, shell and parachute.
Whether Galileo will eventually produce anything of interest remains to be seen. Loeb summoned a large group of people to help him complete the task, but his own opinions may always blind him in some ways.
“Is he the voice calling for the truth in the wilderness, or is he a bit weird?” West asked. “Time will prove everything.”