Respected Harvard astronomer who worked with late Stephen Hawking claims that an alien ‘traveler’ paid us a visit in 2017
- Harvard professor Avi Loeb has claimed in a new book, Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth, that aliens visited near earth five years ago
- In October 2017, astronomers observed an object moving so quickly, it could only have come from another star – the first recorded interstellar interloper
- Loeb, 58, who has collaborated with the late Stephen Hawking claims it could have been alien technology but his fellow scientists ‘ignored’ it
- He calls the interstellar visitor ‘Oumuamu, Hawaiian word for ‘scout’ and claims it is like a sail on a boat, but instead is using light as propulsion method
- Loeb’s ideas have placed him at odds with fellow astronomers who called him ‘once respected’ in Forbes
- Loeb called it a ‘culture of bullying’ compared himself to Galileo who was punished for his theories on earth not being the universe center
Harvard University Professor Abraham Loeb, pictured in an undated photo, claims in a new book that aliens visited earth in 2017 but scientists ignored it
Aliens already visited earth in 2017 and scientists ignored it, a top astronomer from Harvard has claimed.
Professor Avi Loeb, the longest-serving chair at the Ivy League college in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who has collaborated with Stephen Hawking, argues in a new book, Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth, that the best explanation for the highly unusual interstellar object caught speeding through our solar system five years ago, was that it was alien technology.
But the 58-year-old, who is Israeli-American, is convinced his peers in the scientific community wrongly dismissed the unusual object, which he named ’Oumuamua after the Hawaiian word for scout, as an asteroid, and thinks instead it could have been a sail.
He said: ‘Thinking that we are unique and special and privileged is arrogant. The correct approach is to be modest and say: ‘We’re nothing special, there are lots of other cultures out there, and we just need to find them.’
There are two shapes that fit the peculiarities observed — long and thin like a cigar, as seen in this artist’s illustration, or flat and round like a pancake, almost razor thin
Harvard campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the professor is the longest-serving chair of astronomy
It started in October 2017 when astronomers observed an object moving so quickly, it could only have come from another star – the first recorded interstellar interloper.
It didn’t seem to be an ordinary rock, because after slingshotting around the sun, it sped up and deviated from the expected trajectory, propelled by a mysterious force.
This could be easily explained if it was a comet expelling gas and debris – but there was no visible evidence of this ‘outgassing.’
The traveler also tumbled in a strange way – as inferred by how it got brighter and dimmer in scientists’ telescopes, and it was unusually luminous, possibly suggesting it was made from a bright metal.
In order to explain what happened, astronomers came up with novel theories, such as that it was made of hydrogen ice and would therefore not have visible trails, or that it disintegrated into a dust cloud.
‘These ideas that came to explain specific properties of ‘Oumuamua’always involve something that we have never seen before,’ said Loeb.
‘If that’s the direction we are taking, then why not contemplate an artificial origin?’
Harvard physicist Avi Loeb is not shy about his idea that Earth’s 2017 interstellar visitor being an extraterrestrial craft. In a recent interview with Salon Loeb explains that Oumuamu exhibited excess push, which he believes comes from sunlight. ‘So a light sail is just like a sail on a boat that reflects the wind, the wind is pushing it, he said
Avi Loeb believes ‘Oumuamuah could be a lightsail, such as those sent into space by the Plantary Society and seen in this artist’s rendering
‘Oumuamua was never photographed close-up during its brief sojourn – we only learned of its existence once it was already on its way out of our solar system.
There are two shapes that fit the peculiarities observed – long and thin like a cigar, or flat and round like a pancake, almost razor thin.
Loeb says simulations favor the latter, and believes the object was deliberately crafted as a light sail propelled by stellar radiation.
Another oddity was the way the object moved – compounding the strangeness of its passage.
The book, titled ‘Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth,’ argues the consensus that Oumuamu is not a comet or asteroid, but a light sail
Before encountering our Sun, ‘Oumuamua was at ‘rest’ relative to nearby stars — statistically very rare.
Rather than think of it as a vessel hurtling through space, from the object’s perspective, our solar system slammed into it.
‘Perhaps ‘Oumuamua was like a buoy resting in the expanse of the universe,’ writes Loeb.
Like a trip wire left by an intelligent lifeform, waiting to be triggered by a star system.
Loeb’s ideas have placed him at odds with fellow astronomers.
Writing in Forbes, astrophysicist Ethan Siegel called Loeb a ‘once-respected scientist’ who, having failed to convince his peers of his arguments, had taken to pandering to the public.
Loeb, for his part, protests a ‘culture of bullying’ in the academy that punishes those who question orthodoxy — just as Galileo was punished when he proposed the Earth was not the center of the universe.
Compared to speculative yet respected branches of theoretical physics — such as looking for dark matter or multiverses — the search for alien life is a far more commonsense avenue to pursue, he said.
That’s why Loeb’s pushing for a new branch of astronomy, ‘space archaeology’, to hunt for the biological and technological signatures of extraterrestrials.
‘If we find evidence for technologies that took a million years to develop, then we can get a shortcut into these technologies, we can employ them on Earth,’ said Loeb, who spent his childhood on an Israeli farm reading philosophy and pondering life’s big questions.
Such a discovery could also ‘give us a sense that we are part of the same team’ as humanity confronts threats ranging from climate change to nuclear conflict.
‘Rather than fight each other like nations do very often, we would perhaps collaborate.’
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