Avi Loeb's Galileo Project Will Search for Evidence of Alien Visitation

Tue, 27 Jul 2021 08:00:00 GMT
Scientific American - Science

With nearly $2 million in private funding, the controversial new initiative is targeting...

What exactly is Harvard theoretical astrophysicist Avi Loeb doing co-founding a $1.755 million academic effort to look for UFOs? Yesterday, Loeb revealed the Galileo Project, which aims to develop an artificial-intelligence-powered network of telescopes that can search for evidence of technological alien civilizations on or near Earth.

Galileo is an outgrowth of Loeb's particular passion-making the case that 'Oumuamua, the first interstellar comet ever discovered, might actually be a probe from an intelligent species looking to learn about our solar system.

While on a publicity tour for the book, Loeb says, he was contacted by many people interested in UFOs-which are now more politely referred to as unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAP. Several of those people turned out to be both wealthy and generous, gifting him with large sums of money to use for further, more formal, investigations.

Loeb has secured enough money for a few such instruments, although he hopes to eventually raise 10 times more funding and place multiple sensors at various still-to-be-chosen locations that will be aided by detectors using infrared and radar.

Loeb says the funding comes with "No strings attached in a way that allows me complete freedom," although each of the supporters sits on a philanthropic advisory board for Galileo.

How long such funders will stay with the project, and whether Loeb will convince others to donate additional capital, remains to be seen.

Loeb "Basically has to replicate the entire space surveillance network and look for the outliers," McDowell writes.

The Galileo Project's tagline-"Daring to Look Through New Telescopes"-is meant to evoke the scientist Galileo Galilei, who helped upend the geocentric model of the universe with his observations.

Loeb himself is not exactly a marginalized outsider.

Loeb has brought together a large group to help him in his quest, yet it is always possible that his own viewpoints blind him in certain ways.

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