Harvard astrophysicist Avi Loeb did not hesitate to swim in controversial shark-infested waters. He proposed a major effort to find in our solar system and possibly even our airspace. Alien. He has raised $1.7 million in private funds to start a project he called the Galileo Project, which is a project to introduce the rigor of experimental science into ufology.
Loeb’s plan is to use the telescope under construction at the Vera C. Rubin Observatory to study interstellar objects entering our solar system. In addition, the project envisages building a network of small telescopes, in groups of two, that can photograph and determine the distance of anything they see in our atmosphere.
Is this project worthy of praise or ridicule? Although the academic community may think that the Galileo project is merely catering to the gullible public and ignore it, this prejudice is unhelpful and short-sighted.
Even critics admit that Loeb has the qualifications and talents. Nevertheless, he was regarded by some in the astronomy circle as a ranger knight, leaning toward the windmill. This is mainly because of his unorthodox view of the “Oumuamua” object. ‘Oumuamua, about the size of a shopping mall, was first seen as a point on a telescope image four years ago. Its orbit tells us that it does not come from the periphery of our solar system, but from other parts of the Milky Way. Although many astronomers say “Oumuamua is either a comet or an asteroid, eroded and crusted due to its long space travel, Loeb believes it may be a large piece of extraterrestrial hardware-perhaps the sun sail.
Obviously, this is a radical assumption. This is also a rejection of Occam’s Razor. When a more traditional explanation is sufficient to understand “Oumuamua,” the latter will warn against invoking extraterrestrial engineering.
But Loeb supports his suggestion, and he is also considering another problem recently, which resulted from the recent UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) report released to Congress. This research is the result of a bill passed in December last year that instructs government intelligence agencies to put all their knowledge of UAP (also known as UFO) on the table. In particular, the report aims to solve the experience of some naval pilots seeing and photographing mysterious objects in the sky. The report, released in late June, did not mention alien spacecraft (at least not in the publicly released version), but it did admit that out of 144 interesting incidents, intelligence agencies could only explain one.
Therefore, the Galileo project is stepping in and saying “it is enough.” Let us try to use legal science to determine this fascinating phenomenon.
The public was shocked by these stories. For seventy years, UFO followers have been belittled by serious scientists because they made extraordinary claims without providing any extraordinary evidence. Now, a qualified researcher seems ready to step in to help.
This will cause some people to roll their eyes and conclude that Loeb has gone to the dark side. But it is too easy. This topic is obviously important, and it should be addressed without preconceived notions or opinions based on bad UFO evidence in the past.
But while Loeb may have difficulty getting support from peers, those people should be grateful for his efforts. The SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) community has so far failed to find radio or light signals from other star systems. Yes, this SETI experiment has been getting faster and faster, and its practitioners (including myself) hope that when a large number of targets are carefully checked, a clear alien signal will be found.
But another SETI strategy is to look for artifacts that a highly developed society may have built. This is of course a legal way to find aliens and does not rely on signals that reach us while we are looking for it. It also noticed that the age of the universe is three times the age of the earth. Therefore, there should be wisdom millions or billions of years higher than our own in the galaxy. Perhaps this kind of intelligence is indeed interested in sending hardware to other stellar systems.
Therefore, at least it is possible that we are being interviewed, and the Galileo project stated that it will conduct observations to check this.
Nevertheless, the project is still a long-term vision, and its motivation is a phenomenon that only a few scientists consider worth studying. Most astronomers feel that’Oumuamua is just a rock after many trips. The three tempting videos released by the Navy can be understood by calling airplanes and balloons. As for the telescope network used to record the extraterrestrial hardware cruising in our cluttered sky…well, the 700 orbiting satellites that have monitored our planet have not seen anything that humans haven’t placed there.
In other words, none of the phenomena that inspired Galileo’s project could be an alien’s masterpiece.
But is this a good reason to reject Loeb’s practice? In his defense, one must admit that the roads that few people have walked occasionally bring some interesting things.
Loeb has obtained private funding and has intellectuals who ensure the scientific rigor of the project. It is difficult for anyone with few credentials to activate it.
Getting rid of the mediocre consideration of tenure, and willing to ignore the side eyes of his peers, Avi Loeb can bet on a dark horse. As a SETI scientist, I am grateful that he has the freedom and courage to avoid the obstacles of traditional wisdom and boldly go where few people dare to go.
This is an opinion and analysis article; the views expressed by the author or author are not necessarily Scientific american.