Diary of an Interstellar Voyage, Report 43
(July 26, 2023)
The “Morning in America” anchor of NewsNation, Markie Martin, asked me yesterday: “Avi, you are a Harvard astrophysicist and most of us do not have that education. How do you advise that we interpret the hearing at the US House of Representatives on Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP)?” My reply was simple: “Just pay attention to the factual information presented by the witnesses. Think of yourself as a juror in a courtroom and decide whether to believe the witnesses.”
Markie also asked me about the pushback from some colleagues towards my recent expedition to the Pacific Ocean, as reported by the New York Times. I explained that the 537 spherules we recovered so far are now being analyzed by the best instruments in the world in three laboratories: at Harvard University, the Bruker Corporation and UC Berkeley. The scientists quoted in the New York Times report do not have access to these spherules or the data from our instruments, yet they express very strong opinions about the nature of the spherules. This is contradictory to the scientific method, where scientists are supposed to be guided by experimental evidence. Some are eager to dispute a formal letter from the US Space Command to NASA claiming it is based on wrong data, just because the USG 2014–0108 meteor data could not be described by their model for stones. I call this thinking “the stone age of science.” We would never learn something new if we insisted that everything in the sky must be stones.
In addition to the Galileo Project that I lead at Harvard University, lawmakers and politicians consider extraterrestrials seriously. Given the public and government interest in extraterrestrial technological objects near Earth, scientists have an obligation to resolve the nature of UAP and anomalous interstellar meteors, instead of focusing on abstract mathematical notions of extra dimensions or the multiverse for which no evidence exists. Robert Oppenheimer was attracted to abstract mathematical physics and regarded astrophysics as applied science, but his main scientific legacy was in astrophysics through studies of white dwarfs and neutron stars and the collapse of a star to a black hole.
In a rare bipartisan effort, Republicans and Democrats initiated the UAP hearing at the US House of Representatives on July 26, 2023. The three eyewitnesses spoke under oath, making them legally liable for anything they say and making it easier for lawmakers to pursue additional information. The three included David Grusch, the former National Reconnaissance Officer Representative at the UAP Task Force in Department of Defense, and two military pilots, Ryan Graves and David Fravor. The serious discussion around their deliberations suggests that the extraterrestrial context of UAP is losing its stigma. If scientists, the US Congress and the public want to know more, the Department of Defense should disclose everything it knows about UAP that are not likely to be human-made and potentially extraterrestrial.
Any objects originating from interstellar space do not adhere to national borders and their nature is not a matter of national security. From a distance of thousands of light years away, it does not matter how earthlings split the land on the surface of this tiny rock, left over from the formation process of the Sun. Finding the nature of interstellar objects from outside the solar system represents knowledge that should be shared by all humans on Earth, in the spirit of scientific knowledge. We all deserve to know whether we have neighbors. Evidence for tennis balls thrown by neighbors to our backyard should not be hidden away from the public’s view.
In the opening statements, Graves noted “UAP are in our airspace, but they are grossly underreported. These sightings are not rare or isolated; they are routine… If it is something else, it is an issue for science,” and Fravor added: “This issue is not about full public disclosure that could undermine national security … What concerns me is that there is no
“Oversight” from our elected officials.” During the Q&A session, Fravor noted that he encountered behavior that is well beyond our past and current technologies. Grusch noted that he has given to the Intelligence Community Inspector General the names of first-hand witnesses as well as the locations of where materials of alien, non-human spacecraft are currently held. He also hinted that satellite data indicates supporting information. He promised to give representatives related contact information. The former deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence, Chris Mellon, backed Grusch’s testimony on a multi-decade UAP crash retrieval and reverse engineering program for alien spacecraft, by stating earlier this week: “I’ve been told that we have recovered technology that did not originate on this earth by officials in the Department of Defense and by former intelligence officials.”
Government sensors would naturally be the first to record unusual activity near Earth because they monitor the sky for national security purposes, whereas astronomers train their telescopes on distant sources of light and ignore objects in their immediate environment. The anecdotal nature of past UAP reports is why the Galileo Project that I lead constructs new observatories that monitor the entire sky systematically and calibrate the statistics of UAP relative to familiar terrestrial objects. Congressman Maxwell Frost (D-FL) acknowledged the Galileo Project’s effort at Harvard University in his comments.
Here’s hoping that by allowing scientists to access the UAP data that the US government may have, we will all get a better sense of whether there is evidence for cosmic neighbors in our backyard. If so, we might harness new technological capabilities by studying crash sites of interstellar travelers on land or in our oceans. Having sentient partners would bring a new meaning to our existence in the vast cosmos that until now looked dark and lonely.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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 chairs the advisory board for the Breakthrough Starshot project, and 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”, is scheduled for publication in August 2023.