Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Galileo Project and Avi Loeb


I was invited to the press conference held Monday at Harvard to announce the Galileo Project, which is to say that I was able to attend via the Internet. There were many of us invited that way and a few questions were asked during the allotted hour.

Dr. Abraham (Avi) Loeb, the Harvard astronomer who announced this last spring that an alien artifact had passed through the Solar System made the announcement. For those who may have forgotten, it is clear that something that originated outside

Dr. Avi Loeb

the Solar System was detected as it flew by. Given its characteristics, Dr. Loeb determined that it was something manufactured by an alien race. Many of his colleagues disagreed with this theory.

He explained that situation this way at the press conference. “In 2017, the world for the first time observed an interstellar object, called ‘Oumuamua, that was briefly visiting our solar system. Based on astronomical observations, ‘Oumuamua turned out to have highly anomalous properties that defy well-understood natural explanations. We can only speculate whether ‘Oumuamua may be explained by never seen before natural explanations, or by stretching our imagination to Oumuamua perhaps being an extraterrestrial technological object, similar to a very thin light-sail or communications dish, which would fit the astronomical data rather well.”

I did an interview with Loeb last spring about this. For those who wish more details and would like to listen to that, you can find it here:

This discovery, or maybe I should say, this theory, led Loeb, with several other scientists, to create an international organization to search for similar objects. It was suggested that this might not be a rare event and it is only recently that we developed the technology to spot such small objects. According to their observations, Oumuamua was about the size of a football field. In astronomical terms, that is miniscule.

Frank Laukier, introduced as the co-founder of the Galileo Project, and as the resident skeptic, said that he believed that the galaxy, and the universe, was teeming with life, but that it rarely developed intelligence, and by that, he seemed to suggest, a lifeform that could create a civilization. Not all worlds where life developed would reach a stage where there would be an intelligence that could build a civilization, let alone create a way to explore interstellar, and if I understood him, intergalactic space. The distances are so vast and if the speed of light is the limiting factor, such travel is nearly impossible.

He also talked about the revelation that nearly every star had a planet or two circling it. This was something that wasn’t known just a couple of decades ago. This discovery changed the discussion about life on other worlds because of the abundance of other worlds.

The recent revelation by the government was also addressed. Loeb said, of the UAP report released on June 25, “After the recent release of the ODNI [Office of the Director National Intelligence] report on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP), the scientific community needs the determination to systematically, scientifically and transparently look for potential evidence of extraterrestrial technological equipment. The impact of any discovery of extraterrestrial technology on science, our technology, and on our entire world view, would be enormous.”

Dr. Avi Loeb, Faye Flam and Frank Laukier during the Q and A at the 
Internet hosted press conference.

They did mention, repeatedly that they did not want to be dragged into a situation where, by seeing classified information, such as that recently acknowledged by the government, their work might be inhibited. They said that this “is a transparent scientific project to advance a systematic experimental search for cross-validated evidence of potential Astro-archeological artifacts or active technical equipment made by putative existing or extinct extraterrestrial technological civilizations.”

They did say, repeatedly, that this is going to be a new study and not one grounded in the past. They mentioned, and not without some justification, that much of the UFO data collected over the last seventy some years was corrupted. It wasn’t that false information was injected to prove a point, but that the rigors of the scientific method have not be used. Too much of the gathered data was anecdotal. Well, they didn’t say it in so many words, but that was my impression of their real meaning.

More importantly, at least to my way of thinking, they meant there wasn’t a proper way to evaluate the older data. Too much information was missing from the case reports, evidence was lost or never gathered, the proper questions were not asked, and I got the impression, they viewed that sort of research as counterproductive.

In fact, I asked about the data collected during the “Scientific Investigation of Unidentified Flying Objects,” commonly called the Condon committee. I wondered if there wasn’t something of value to be learned, if not in the case studies, then in the way they attacked the problem. In answer to my questions Loeb wrote that “We are focused on assembling new high-quality data and not on past data.”

It was just another way of saying that they did not want to engage in retroactive UFO cases. They are pursuing new data. They said they didn’t want to argue about philosophy, but wanted to collect data. They wanted to focus on objects in the sky.

I wonder if this isn’t a way of avoiding some of the pitfalls inherent in UFO research that would include having to deal with some of the nut cases out there. Where Condon actual embraced the kooks and the nuts, often having his picture taken with them, these scientists are searching for answers that probably wouldn’t be found in UFO research. They were looking up, into the sky and not down, to where the UFOs operate.

In fact, when I interviewed him last spring, Loeb suggested that the best sightings would be those that did not involve humans. He wanted instruments to collect the data without human interaction. He wanted to remove errors that were often generated by human perception and human bias. I thought of the MADAR project, which seemed to have a somewhat similar goal and that would collect a variety of data without humans directly involved. MADAR is already up and running though not nearly as widespread as Fran Ridge would like it to be.

My take away from this in my pessimistic way is that we have science looking at objects that are traveling around the galaxy. While they might believe that they are natural, they admit that some, maybe only one, could be artificial. That would answer one of the questions that has plagued the world for generations. And as they said, and we have said many times before that, “It only takes one.”


John Steiger said...

Academe’s outlook is myopic.

MSnyder said...

I think you're spot on in your interpretation of their avoiding historical cases. Any association with the "UFO community" for an academician is just too hazardous to their credibility and careers. It's a shame because the historical cases could provide data that would inform the development of monitoring stations, but they can still quietly read published accounts and put in EMF detectors and magnetometers into the gear..

I'm looking for forward to your book on EMF cases. Could you consider putting in a chapter on "EMF, Fluctuating Magnetic Fields and Static Magnetic Fields for Dummies"? MADAR for example measures the Earth's local static magnetic field; that's different from the EMF generated by say a passing truck's engine block or its radio. (Open to correction if I'm wrong).

RWE said...

" It wasn’t that false information was injected to prove a point, but that the rigors of the scientific method have not be used. "

Well said, and in addition there was false data injected on occasion, or simply absurd analyses performed. That is why you, Kevin are to be congratulated on revisiting older data and examining it with not only a sharp eye but a sharp knife. You are the only real "Dr Hynek" out there. It would be nice if the scientific community gave you some help.

George Kanakaris said...

At last a great initiative. Avi Loeb deserves respect.

Joeschmoe said...

If my memory serves me.... my recollection of the outcome of your spring interview with Loeb was an outright dismissal of UFO's.Apparently he further dismisses eyewitness testimony or recollections of encounters by the same witnesses.I hold no expectation of any breakthrough work by Loeb

Clarence said...

This is kind of a slap in the face to current and past Ufologists don't you think? For decades underfunded groups and individuals have been doing their best to collect and analyze UFO data and now Loeb and others are merely going to dismiss it because it's apparently corrupted? I for one won't support anything that Loeb does...