Avi Loeb, a professor at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, is a firm believer that alien life exists, despite his peers sometimes rolling their eyes with disbelief. In 2021 Loeb suggested that it was possible that an alien civilization had seeded the Earth with sensors to monitor its potential for habitation. This suggestion was linked to something called “Oumuamua” – an interstellar object that entered our solar system in 2017. Oumuamua was discovered by Robert Weryk at the Haleakala Observatory in Hawaii when he observed it passing close to the sun. He estimated it to be about 100 to 1,000 metres long, red in color, and exhibiting non gravitational acceleration. It was thought to be a remnant of a disintegrated rogue comet. However Loeb was convinced that Oumuamua was something much, much more, and that it was actually monitoring Earth for signals from probes left on the planet in the past.
However, his latest suggestion concerns a meteor which struck the Earth in 2014. Small meteors often enter our atmosphere but disintegrate harmlessly as they travel into our atmosphere. Loeb’s meteor was about two feet long but broke into fragments before entering the South Pacific Ocean.
“It moved very fast, roughly 40 kilometers per second when it exploded in the lower atmosphere,” Loeb told the Associated Press. Loeb believes that the meteor may be extraterrestrial in origin, based on his speculation that the strength of the meteor was twice as tough as that of an iron meteorite. In 2019 Loeb’s findings were rejected, but more recently a memo from the US Space Command seems to add some weight to Loeb’s theory, confirming the meteor originated from a different solar system.
Loeb has now launched a privately funded expedition to search the bottom of the South Pacific Ocean with a magnet sled, to retrieve samples of the meteor from a 40 square mile area.
“The ideal scenario is that in addition to tiny fragments, we would find a piece of an advanced technological device, like the hundredth version of the iPhone,” Loeb told Salon. “I would love to press a button on such an object.”
The scientific community is not convinced. Science writer Ethan Siegel said: “The alien technology hypothesis is so far-fetched that there is no scientific reason to consider this as anything other than someone with no evidence crying wolf when there is no wolf that we have ever seen before.”
Professor Avi Loeb is currently looking for investors for his expedition, called The Galileo Project, and is hoping to raise 1.5 million dollars.