[imagesource: The Economist]
The Pentagon has now confirmed multiple sightings of UFOs, the most famous of which involves footage shot by the US Navy.
Obviously, as the name implies, nobody knows who or what was piloting the flying objects, or where they came from, but we may have more information in roughly three months.
That’s due to a COVID-19 relief bill former president Donald Trump signed last year, which included a law requiring that US intelligence services submit an unclassified report on UFOs to the Senate intelligence committee.
Harvard University astrophysicist Avi Loeb doesn’t require any further evidence to arrive at his conclusion that aliens are real, and his confidence comes via the 2017 sighting of an unusual object that was travelling through the solar system.
It was dubbed ʻOumuamua, and shaped “like a 100-metre-long cigar or pancake”, meaning it didn’t resemble any known asteroid or comet, and was seen travelling at a speed “faster than could be explained by our star’s waning gravitational grip alone”.
Mutliple plausible explanations for this were shot down, and then Loeb came along from way out of left field, reports Scientific American:
To Loeb, the most plausible explanation was as obvious as it was sensational: taken together with its possibly pancakelike shape and high reflectivity, ‘Oumuamua’s anomalous acceleration made perfect sense if the object was in fact a light sail—perhaps a derelict from some long-expired galactic culture.
Primed by years spent pondering how we might someday find evidence of cosmic civilizations in the sky’s depths, he became increasingly convinced that, with ‘Oumuamua, the evidence had instead found us.
In late 2018 Loeb and his co-author Shmuel Bialy, a Harvard postdoctoral fellow, published a paper in the Astrophysical Journal Letters arguing that ‘Oumuamua had been nothing less than humanity’s first contact with an artifact of extraterrestrial intelligence.
That paper made a bit of a splash, but nothing major, so Loeb has now penned a book, Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life beyond Earth, to draw more attention to his claims.
This from the book’s write-up:
He outlines his theory and its profound implications: for science, for religion, and for the future of our planet. A mind-bending journey through the furthest reaches of science, space-time, and the human imagination, Extraterrestrial challenges readers to aim for the stars-and to think critically about what’s out there, no matter how strange it seems.
Cue The X-Files music.
There’s a series Netflix should snap up. I wonder if it holds up?
OK, back to Loeb, who has given a score of interviews to drum up interest around his book.
One that keeps things relatively simple is the interview he gave to VICE News, which, if you want to know more about how he arrived at the alien hypothesis, is worth watching:
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