Harvard astrophysicist Avi Loeb created quite a stir in the scientific community in 2018, when he wrote a paper suggesting an interstellar object spot
Harvard astrophysicist Avi Loeb created quite a stir in the scientific community in 2018, when he wrote a paper suggesting an interstellar object spotted in our solar system might be a surveillance vessel sent by an alien civilization. He claimed the object, which was named Oumuamua (“scout” in Hawaiian), had unique characteristics that made a natural origin unlikely.
Now, Loeb is at it again. In an article just published in Scientific American, Loeb speculates that there may be a connection between Oumuamua and UFOs, or UAPs (unidentified aerial phenomena). With the United States Department of Defense set to release the results of an extensive government study of UFOs that began last year, Loeb apparently felt the time was right to raise this intriguing possibility.
The Data Collector Hypothesis
Offering a fully unique hypothesis, Professor Loeb speculates that UFOs (UAPs) might be unmanned probes that were sent to Earth to collect data about the planet and its inhabitants. These probes might have been dispatched to many planets in different solar systems throughout the galaxy, by an advanced civilization searching for signs of life. These probes would be programmed to beam the information they discovered back through space to Oumuamua, which Loeb believes might function as a type of centralized data collector.
Avi Loeb (Aviloeb / CC BY-SA 4.0 )
“Oumuamua,” Loeb wrote in his Scientific American op-ed, “could potentially have been meant to scan signals from all viewing directions … a predecessor to Oumuamua could have been a craft that deposited small probes into the Earth’s atmosphere without being noticed.”
Once deployed, these objects would then endlessly flit about Earth’s skies, intercepting audio and video signals and occasionally venturing to the surface or beneath the sea , to snap pictures or pick up samples for analysis. Inevitably, these probes would have been seen by humans, moving in ways that made it clear they weren’t conventional aircraft.
A Very Unusual Visitor
In an email interview with the Daily Mail , Loeb explained that Oumuamua has unusual characteristics that suggest it might have been designed as a signal intercepting device by an intelligent life form.
The object is long, narrow, and flat. Its length is estimated to be between 300 and 3,000 feet (100 to 1,000 meters), but its width and thickness are both in the 115-548 foot (35-167 meter) range. Oumuamua is constantly tumbling or rotating, but at a slow rate, completing one cycle eight hours. Most intriguingly, it seems to be accelerating, picking up speed in a way that can be linked to the effects of gravity. Loeb believes the object as a whole may function as a type of “lightsail,” picking up momentum and speed by riding on winds of starlight.
“Oumuamua’s flat structure – the size of a football field – could be a receiver for the aforementioned probes that were sprinkled on Earth long ago,” Loeb said in his email. “In this context, its tumbling motion was meant to collect possible signals from all directions and the UAP may be the probes that it received signals from.”
The upcoming report on UFOs by the U.S. government will not offer evidence to support Loeb’s theory. But it will add more legitimacy to the UFO topic, creating an environment where theories about the true origin of UFOs may be more openly received.
The U.S. Government Changes its Stance on UFOs
Since closing Project Blue Book in 1969, the U.S. government had consistently denied they were still studying or were interested in UFOs. In the decades that followed mainstream media outlets treated the topic with scorn and ridicule, when they weren’t ignoring it completely.
But the official stance changed in 2020, when the government suddenly began taking the subject of UFOs seriously . In that year, the U.S. Department of Defense released three videos of UFOs taken by Navy pilots, in 2004 in one instance and 2005 in the other two. The videos had leaked earlier, but the U.S. military took the extraordinary step of confirming their legitimacy to the public when it released the videos officially.
Abandoning the traditional skeptical stance, government officials past and present began speaking openly about the topic of UFOs. Figures such as former President Barack Obama , former Senate majority leader Harry Reid, and former CIA director James Woolsey stated that UFOs were real and mysterious and that the government had known about them for a long time. While admitting they had no evidence proving these objects were alien spacecraft, spokespersons associated with the Department of Defense and U.S. intelligence agencies have done little to counter the speculation that they might be.
In August 2020, the Department of Defense announced it would be launching an exhaustive study of UFOs that have been seen by military personnel. Over 120 cases were to be examined as a part of this project, which would include cases where strange objects were spotted on radar or on satellite imagery, in addition to being seen by military pilots.
The results of this study will be released to Congress on June 25, in response to a demand made last year by a Congressional committee set up to study the national security implications of UAP activity.
UFO sightings have been reported for decades – could they be linked to Oumuamua? ( Ktsdesign / Adobe Stock)
Leaked information suggests the report will neither confirm nor deny the possibility that some UFOs may be alien in origin. The report also leaves open the possibility that these objects may be advanced, secret military aircraft manufactured by foreign powers, most likely Russia or China.
The report supposedly states that UAPs are not secret high-tech aircraft manufactured by the United States military. But this assertion should probably be taken with a huge pinch of salt, given the roughly $50 billion the Department of Defense is said to divert for so-called “black budget” projects each year.
A Leap of Faith
The apparently sincere official interest in UFOs has helped lift the taboo normally associated with this subject, in the eyes of the public and the mainstream media. Most scientists have remained wary about associating themselves with the topic, however, and professional skeptics are still dismissive.
But Harvard astrophysicist Loeb has already walked far out on a limb with his claims about Oumuamua, so it could be argued he has nothing left to lose by taking a few more steps.
Loeb admits his new thesis about UFOs being alien probes is highly speculative. But he believes science can only progress if it is willing to consider all possibilities. If given a fair chance, even the most out-of-this world theories could lead to amazing discoveries.
“Rather than simply wonder about possible scenarios, we should collect better scientific data and clarify the nature of UAP,” Loeb said. “This can be done by deploying state-of-the-art cameras on wide-field telescopes that monitor the sky. The sky is not classified; only government-owned sensors are.”
Can a project similar to SETI confirm the existence of probes in our atmosphere? ( Sdecoret / Adobe Stock)
It is notable that Loeb’s idea is quite similar to the SETI Project , which scans the heavens for electromagnetic signals sent by alien civilizations located light-years away. Except in this instance, the search would be carried out much closer to home.
“We should be open-minded to the possibility that science will one day reveal a reality that was previously considered as fiction,” Loeb wrote at the conclusion of his Scientific American article.
Now that the United States government has seemingly verified the existence of UFOs, these words might be taken more seriously than they would have been in the past.
Top image: Oumuamua, “A Messenger From Afar Arriving First”. Source: Dottedyeti / Adobe Stock.
By Nathan Falde