Our Cosmic Exodus

Avi Loeb
4 min readApr 21, 2024


A Passover seder celebration (Image credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)

As the Passover holiday approaches, I was reminded of how short human history is. The Exodus from Egypt dates back to the 12–13th century BCE, the time of Ramses II or III — the first or second Pharaoh rulers of Ancient Egypt. But this is only 3.2–3.3 thousand years ago, less than a millionth of the age of the Earth, which is itself a third of the age of the Universe. Throughout cosmic history, the Exodus story is a drop in the ocean. Given that Passover is celebrated for eight days, it would take 22 thousand years to celebrate the history of the Earth, let alone the vast time and space spanned by the observable Universe, let alone the regions of spacetime beyond our cosmic horizon.

The traditional Exodus liberated a few thousand people from slavery, created their sense of a community and established their bond with “God”. What would the cosmic Exodus moment for humanity entail? My vision as an astrophysicist is straightforward: our cosmic exodus would mean the liberation of a space community of people from the confines of Earth’s gravity. What would replace “God” in this story? An advanced extraterrestrial civilization.

Extraterrestrial technologies could result in apparent miracles on Earth of the character that triggered the traditional Exodus. Technologies of our future, and in particular gadgets displaying Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), would impress us as much as the acts of “God” impressed the Israelites.

The Israelites settled in Canaan after 40 years wandering through the desert. This long period was necessary for them to establish a new mindset, free of slavery and worships that characterized their mentality in Egypt.

Where would our new space community settle? Their Canaan would most likely be a habitable planet around another star. The trip to the nearest star takes 40 thousand years with our best chemical rocket, a sufficient period of time to allow a new space community to free itself from the terrestrial mindset.

Who would serve as Moses for the new space community? This baby may have been already born by now.

Moses was convinced to believe in a superhuman entity, “God”, after witnessing a burning bush that was never consumed. Would an Unidentified Anomalous Phenomenon (UAP) serve as the burning bush moment for our new Moses? If so, do the classified versions of the three reports from the Director of National Intelligence, to the U.S. Congress in 2021, 2022, and 2023, contain any signs of a UAP that resemble the burning bush? Were the anomalous properties of the interstellar meteor IM1 and the interstellar object `Oumuamua, indicative of a technological origin? Any extraterrestrial technological anomalies could establish our bond with a superhuman entity, the way it did for Moses, and inspire us to embark on a journey to the stars.

Eight years ago, on April 22, 2016, the renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking visited my home for Passover. His words were recorded on video by my cell phone and included the statements:

“Good evening, and thank you to Avi and Ofrit for hosting this evening’s Passover celebration. It’s a pleasure to be back at Harvard … Last week in New-York, Avi and I announced a new initiative that is about our future in interstellar space … Up to now we have only been to observe the stars from a distance. Now, for the first time we can reach them…”

That a biblical story from our past could inspire our future among the stars is remarkable. All we need to do is open our cameras and telescopes, as well as our mind, to the possibility that we might be saved from our terrestrial miseries by a superhuman entity. Our traditional religions celebrate the past. On this Passover holiday, we should all reflect about our future among the stars and hope that a message of peace and prosperity will be delivered to our mailbox soon in the form of an extraterrestrial technological package.

If a cosmic exodus will indeed take place, how would the periodic celebrations of this historic event look like? The related festivities will tell the story of the technological miracles that liberated the space community of people from the Earth and established their bond with a superhuman entity. The event will be celebrated wherever the space community goes; initially on a spacecraft and eventually on exoplanets. The journey will be long but worthwhile, sufficient for the travelers to leave behind the mindset of toxic conflicts and destruction that characterized their life on Earth. This will set a new foundation for a community inspired by a vision of peace and growth. This community will be a much better match to the principle of survival of the fittest in interstellar space.


Image credit: Chris Michel (October 2023)

Avi Loeb is the head of the Galileo Project, founding director of Harvard University’s — Black Hole Initiative, director of the Institute for Theory and Computation at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and the former chair of the astronomy department at Harvard University (2011–2020). He is a former member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and a former chair of the Board on Physics and Astronomy of the National Academies. He is the bestselling author of “Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth” and a co-author of the textbook “Life in the Cosmos”, both published in 2021. His new book, titled “Interstellar”, was published in August 2023.



Avi Loeb

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