Thinking Ahead

Finding equipment sent by other civilizations would require a new protocol for immediate engagement. Unlike radio signals, we’ll want to act fast.

Previous protocols for possible contact with extraterrestrial intelligence were mostly inspired by the possibility of detecting radio signals from planetary systems around distant stars. Given that the nearest star system, Alpha Centauri, is 4.4 light years away, such signals would require a decade or more for a round trip conversation…

Stand Outs

Science is a learning process. Anomalies are nature’s way of teaching us something new. First, we have to look for them.

My mother said that when she saw me in the hospital room with all the other babies born that day, I was looking all around the room with open eyes as if I was wondering about the world that I was just born into. In her words, I looked very…

The Future of Intelligence?

The most important milestone in a technological civilization may occur when artificial intelligence systems make scientific discoveries on their own.

A historic transformation is looming on the horizon of our technological civilization. Once our artificial intelligence (AI) systems will be able to autonomously explore scientific data and make discoveries on their own without human intervention, advances in our scientific knowledge will accelerate dramatically. Scientific progress will be freed from the…

Hospitality Industry

The ancient Greeks recognized the value of guests. Similarly, we should cherish the information we might garner from extraterrestrial visitors.

The twists and turns that life takes are often improbable and unique. But our unpredictable path through the world is not more unusual than the shape of a seashell on the beach, which was shaved unpredictably by its random rub against other seashells and its erosion by waves and wind.

Home Planet

Humility is the key to finding our place in the universe. Bullies need not apply.

My recent book “Extraterrestrial” suggests that perhaps the first interstellar object discovered near Earth in 2017, `Oumuamua, is artificial in origin because it had six anomalies that make it very different from comets and asteroids seen before in the Solar system.

In more than a thousand interviews that I’ve had…

Center of the Universe

Finding other intelligent life may enable humans to mature and gain a more modest perspective. Time for a new Copernican revolution?

What should we study?

When a new understanding of reality is supported by data, there is no need for it to be popular. Nature shapes our future, irrespective of any incorrect notions held by people.

In a recent forum that I attended with executives, the leader of one of the largest pharmaceutical corporations in the world noted that only 5% of all their research projects are successful and only a small fraction of those make it to the consumer market. As a result, most of…

Simple Is as Simple Does

A formal education doesn’t teach a level of imagination that is often needed for solutions. Trivial insights could be surprisingly rare.

Michael Faraday, one of the most influential scientists in history, had little formal education. His research on magnetic fields established the basic law of electromagnetism, known as Faraday’s law. …

Life as We Know It

Circumstances make our lives different. The same must be true for extraterrestrial life and spacecraft.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, I developed the routine of a morning jog around 5 AM in the company of birds, ducks, bunnies, wolves and wild-turkeys. I soon realized that every sunrise looks different for a variety of reasons: a change in season, cloud cover, abundance of dust, and other ingredients…

Machine Explorers

Launching autonomous systems into space may define the longevity of our technological civilization. Have others gone before us?

Avi Loeb

Avi Loeb is the Frank B. Baird Jr Professor of Science and Institute director at Harvard University and is the bestselling author of “Extraterrestrial”.

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