A Harvard professor believes an alien spacecraft may have crashed in northern Australia a decade ago – and he’s planning an expedition to recover the object from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
Astrophysicist Avi Loeb has previously made waves by claiming the object that streaked the sky off the coast of Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, in 2014 was actually some kind of spacecraft.
A US Space Command report released earlier this year found that the object was interstellar – from another star system – making it unusual, but concluded it was simply a meteor.
But Professor Loeb, chair of Harvard University’s astronomy department and leader of the Galileo project, which is looking for evidence of advanced extraterrestrial technology, insists it could have been built by extraterrestrials.
“The basic question is whether it was an unusual rock from another planet or a spacecraft?” Loeb told news.com.au’s I’ve Got News For You podcast on Wednesday. “We’re planning an expedition to Papua New Guinea and scooping out the seabed and finding out the composition of this object.”
Loeb, who first teased the “fishing expedition” to recover the object in an essay for The Debrief in April, revealed to host Andrew Bucklow that the mission is planned for March or April 2023.
“I received $1.5 million last month to continue this expedition,” he said.
Loeb’s fascination with the subject was fueled by the discovery of Oumuamua – Hawaiian for “messenger from the distant past” – a football field-sized, cigar-shaped object that flew through the solar system in 2017.
In a controversial 2019 paper, Loeb speculated that Oumuamua’s unusual trajectory and shape indicated it was neither a comet nor an asteroid, but possibly an extraterrestrial probe.
“So that’s what got me into it,” he said.
“And then we found out with my student a few years later that actually four years before ‘Oumuamua, a meteor that was spotted by the US government and was moving really fast at 28 miles per second disintegrated in the Earth’s lower atmosphere about.” 100 miles off the coast of Papua New Guinea, and it came from outside the solar system.”
Loeb and his student wrote a paper about their discovery but were instructed not to publish it because they were using classified government data for their research.
But in April, the US government “confirmed our conclusion in an official letter, saying that 99.999 percent agreed with our assessment.”
“They also released the lightcurve of this object’s explosion, which showed it had a material strength harder than iron, and it was harder than any other space rock the US government has identified in the past decade, about 272 from that. ” he said.
“So it must have been something unusual… definitely not the same as the rocks we find in the solar system. Much harder than that.”
While Loeb believes aliens exist—or have existed—somewhere in the universe, he doesn’t believe actual contact with “biological creatures” will occur.
Instead, he argues that UFOs, including objects like Oumuamua, are most likely extraterrestrial probes powered by artificial intelligence, possibly even surviving relics of long-dead civilizations.
“It takes 100,000 years to reach the nearest star and many hundreds of millions of years to reach the edge of the Milky Way. So it makes a lot more sense to send artificial intelligence systems that aren’t as sensitive to the dangerous conditions of space,” he said.
“I call these AI astronauts and most likely we will see devices that are very intelligent; You could be way ahead of what we have.
“It may take a while before we figure out what they’re really doing here and what they’re looking for, but at the same time we can distinguish them from rocks, natural objects like meteorites falling to earth… [and] we can distinguish them from man-made objects.”
In his essay earlier this year, Loeb said a “scoop magnet” recovery expedition could be conducted to explore the 6-square-mile region of the Pacific Ocean where the object is believed to have landed.
“My dream is to push some buttons on a working device made off-world,” he wrote at the time.
Loeb said he recently received an email from someone asking him, “If you come across such a device, please do not press any buttons.”
“He was basically concerned that it’s going to affect all of humanity,” Loeb said.
“I said don’t worry I won’t push a button. It would just be a remarkable discovery to find out that we’ve discovered, say, the 100th version of the iPhone at the bottom of the ocean.”
Loeb added he doesn’t think such an object, if discovered, would be confiscated by any government.
“I promised the curator of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City that if we find a device at the bottom of the ocean, I will bring it to New York for display,” he said.
“Because for us it would represent modernity, although for the sender it represents ancient history.”