Harvard Team to Search for Aliens

Updated: Sep 15

Have you ever heard of Oumuamua? It was a space rock that whizzed by Earth in 2017… or was it? Harvard astrophysicist Avi Loeb believes that Oumuamua was actually an alien spaceship, or at least part of one.

When the first interstellar object ever observed, Oumuamua, careened past Earth in 2017, it seemed to be accelerating. That's not what most space rocks do - which is in part why Harvard astrophysicist Avi Loeb says Oumuamua was an alien spaceship.

Although most researchers agree that the object was a space rock - either a comet or piece of a tiny planet - Loeb thinks there are countless other objects like Oumuamua whizzing by our planet, some of which could come from aliens, too. So he launched a program to find them.

Loeb has announced an initiative called the Galileo Project - after the Italian astronomer - that will search for physical evidence of alien technologies and civilizations.

"It's a fishing expedition, let's just go out and catch whatever fish we find," Loeb said in a press conference. "And that includes objects close to Earth, hovering within our atmosphere, or objects that came from outside the solar system that look weird."

The $1.75 million project, backed by at least four philanthropists, aims to use a network of Earth-based telescopes to look for interstellar objects that could be extraterrestrial in nature. The group will also hunt for potential alien ships in Earth's orbit, as well as unidentified flying craft in our atmosphere.

Loeb describes the new project as complementary to the SETI Institute, which searches for extraterrestrial life using radio telescopes. But the Galileo Project, he said, will search for physical evidence of alien civilizations, rather than radio signals. That includes potential alien satellites that could be orbiting Earth or fragments of extraterrestrial craft. (One of Loeb's hypotheses is that 'Oumuamua is a piece of lightsail or antenna that broke off a larger ship.)