Lots of serious scientists are looking for signs of alien life. Most of them are looking very, very far away—usually in other star systems. But Harvard physicist Avi Loeb is looking for vicinityin the air and space around the Earth.
As part of his two-year-old Galileo Project, Loeb is slowly building a global network of telescopes and other sensors dedicated to monitoring the atmosphere and near space to detect alien ships. visiting planet—prerequisite for sending our own ship to meet ET
Loeb is also organizing expeditions to recover any debris from alien spacecraft that have fallen to Earth. “Project Galileo is a scientific program that searches for potential astronomical archeological artifacts or remnants of extraterrestrial technological civilizations, or extraterrestrial devices capable of operating near Earth. ,” Loeb told The Daily Beast.
In contrast to SETI, “The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence”—an area of research that primarily involves the use of giant radio receivers to listen for subtle cues It could be a message from distant alien civilizations. SETI search signal. Loeb’s Galileo Seeks Hardware.
Loeb explains that near-Earth alien technology can take many forms. There may be debris of very old alien probes from extinct civilizations. Probes that, after millions of years of potentially circling our planet, scorched by radiation and bombarded by meteors, might look a lot like rock—but Not stone.
Fragments of alien technology can sometimes plunge straight to Earth. Loeb said he’s particularly interested in a meteor that crashed into the Pacific Ocean near Papua New Guinea in 2014. Data from US military sensors showed the 1.5-foot-wide object was moving fast. than an ordinary meteorite, suggesting that the object—whatever it was—originated from outside the solar system. The same data implies that the meteorite is made of unusually hard material.
The object’s speed and composition intrigued Loeb. An alien probe – at least the remains of one – could be moving very quickly as it moves from one star system to another. It would have to be made of very hard stuff to be able to survive the journey.
To prove or disprove his suspicions, Loeb has secured funding to go find the meteorite next year. “Project Galileo,” he said, “plans an expedition to retrieve fragments of these meteorites from the ocean floor to determine the composition and likely structure of this unusual object—and study whether it is of natural or man-made origin.”
The Papua New Guinea meteorite isn’t the only one with strange features that could indicate a man-made origin. BP Embaid, a physicist at the Central University of Venezuela, drew attention to separate meteorites that hit India in 1852 and Arizona in 1850. Both included high concentrations of compounds superconductors—heideite and brezinaite respectively—that Embaid statement can be created artificially.
It’s one thing to scrutinize a block of metal rock for alien origins. It would be another thing – and much more convincing to the broader scientific community – to find an intact and working alien probe.
Loeb thinks it will be controlled by artificial intelligence. AI “would be a natural choice for traversing tens of thousands of light-years spanning the scale of the Milky Way, and could survive even if the sender is no longer alive to transmit any detectable signal.” available at this time.”
We may have encountered such a poll, but didn’t realize it at the time. Five years ago, a very strange object made a very strange journey through the solar system. Shiny, elongated, likely 3,000 feet long and traveling at 16 miles per second, the object zoomed into the solar system and passed the sun. When Canadian astronomer Robert Weryk first spotted the object during a telescope survey in October 2017, it was on its way out of our system.
Astronomers named the object ‘Oumuamua, Hawaiian for “recon”. No one knows for sure what ‘Omuamua is – or not. Only Loeb was willing to say what others might have thought. ‘Oumumua’s speed, direction, and form are possible signs an alien craft.
““[A.I.] would be a natural choice to traverse tens of thousands of light-years spanning the scale of the Milky Way, and could survive even if the sender were not alive to transmit any detectable signal. in this moment.”“
— Avi Loeb, Harvard University
For Loeb, ‘Oumuamua missed out on first contact. Probably. He was determined not to miss the next opportunity. “Project Galileo aims to design a space mission that will intercept or meet the next ‘Oumuamua and obtain high-quality data that will allow us to decipher its nature,” he said.
But organizing a space mission for the next potential alien ship requires that we first detectthat ship—and detect it far enough before it gets close to Earth that we have time to prepare our own probe. What we need is a network of sensors that continuously monitor the sky and space for fast-moving nearby objects.
They don’t have to be huge, complicated, and expensive instruments like the 28-foot-diameter telescope and 3.2-gigapixel camera at the new Vera Rubin Observatory under construction on a mountaintop in Chile. . Though to be fair, Loeb said Galileo wanted to borrow data from Rubin after the observatory has been operational for about a year.
No, what Galileo needed was loose, continuous, round-the-clock monitoring of vast swaths of the sky, not an occasional and detailed view of a tiny fraction of the sky. “We are buying a number of cameras that are already available from manufacturers and having our own engineers design their assembly, integration, calibration, and operation,” explains Loeb.
First Galileo installation—for security reasons, Loeb won’t say where—was live “in recent weeks.” It includes infrared and optical sensors, a passive radar system, and an acoustic receiver that is sensitive to the entire spectrum from infrasound to infrasound, and can see and hear the entire hemisphere of the sky. , non-stop. “The data is fed to a computer system that uses AI algorithms to identify objects,” says Loeb.
It’s an ambitious system, but Jacob Haqq Misra—an astrobiologist at the Blue Marble Institute for Space Science in Seattle who was not involved with Galileo—told The Daily Beast he believes it is. a reasonable system. “From a technical point of view, Project Galileo is doing the right thing to identify aerial anomalies, whatever they are,” he said.
“From a technical point of view, Project Galileo is doing the right thing to identify aerial anomalies, whatever they are.“
— Jacob Haqq Misra, Green Marble Space Science Institute
If you’re optimistic about first contact, like Loeb is, all of these efforts are clearly worth it. But even if you’re skeptical and think we might be alone in the universe, there are good reasons to support Galileo. The project can do other things besides finding nearby aliens.
Which is part, a surveillance system for Earth’s sky and adjacent space. And once it’s done, it will be only Hemispheric surveillance systems are not part of one military or another. “You can search for anything in the sky,” says Misra. Space debris, meteorites, aliens, whatever.