A Harvard astrophysicist has launched a philanthropy-backed project called the Galileo Project to scan the skies and cosmos in an effort to capture high-quality images in the hopes of answering the question: Are we alone?
Anyone who has seen the recently declassified and released footage from the US government of possible unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs) (the new buzzword replacing unidentified flying objects (UFO)), is undoubtedly asking the same question: Why are these images so grainy and unclear?
They tell us that in the 1970s, technology could read a car license plate from space, so we have to assume they can count someone’s eyelashes from an orbiting satellite by now. So why are the UAP/UFO images that get released to the public so distorted?
Theoretical astrophysicist Avi Loeb of Harvard University is hoping to change that. He has launched a philanthropy-backed project called the Galileo Project. The goal is simply to obtain high-quality images and study them, News96Online reported.
Loeb says the Galileo project is, in part, a response to the June 2020 Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) report released by the US government, which he feels offered more questions than answers.
“We live in the 21st century, not in the Dark Ages, and we know that if we have the instruments that can collect the evidence we need,” Loeb says. “We should just go ahead and do it, rather than argue forever philosophically whether it makes sense or not, or ridicule it.”
Loeb says the Galileo project is focused on two types of targets: Nearby UAPs and interstellar objects.
“Astronomers usually look at distant objects so if a bird flies above the telescope, it’s ignored,” Loeb says. “We will pay attention to that bird and make sure it’s a bird, and not something else.”
“We’ll be looking at the sky but not focusing on the usual suspects that astronomers are looking at far away, we’re looking at nearby objects,” Loeb continued. “It’s a fishing expedition, you throw the hook and you don’t know what kind of fish you will find, and then you get as much data as possible.”
“I’m not after recruiting thousands of people with their cell phones looking at the sky,” Loeb clarified. “We want a large telescope more than 10cm in size or up to a metre, that’s 1,000 times the aperture of a cell phone. We want to read off the label if it’s Made in Country X versus Made on Planet Y.”
Loeb argues that the interstellar cigar-shaped object named “Oumuamua,” a Hawaiian word for “scout,” that traveled past the Sun and Earth in 2017 from a trajectory outside of our solar system, was a machine powered by artificial intelligence and created by alien life somewhere in the universe. He believes the object was a light sail, antenna, or possibly a spacecraft.
“If you imagine chemical rockets that we use to cross the galaxy, it would take them 100 million years,” Loeb says. “No biological creature can survive that long even if you have multiple generations because of the impact of cosmic rays, but there is no need to send them, you can send artificial intelligent systems.”
Loeb says national security is the reason why the US government doesn’t share certain information with academics.
“The data the government has was gathered by classified sensors, they are sensors monitoring the sky and the US government prefers its adversaries not to know what sensors it is using,” Loeb points out. “It cannot release the data for that reason, not because all of the data is classified.”
“Frankly, I’m not interested in that data, I want to collect my own data,” Loeb said. “I behave like that kid that is told by adults this is the truth, often they don’t pay attention, the kids want to find it by himself or herself by checking it out. Science is an extension of our childhood curiosity and about reproducible evidence.”
After launching the program, Loeb said the fund had $1.75 million the very next day from two mystery donors alone.
“That never happens in academia, you have to understand that,” Loeb says. “A lot of people seek funding and work very hard to get funding and most often don’t get funded, but here I didn’t engage in any fundraising.”
The influx of cash allowed Loeb to recruit a team of fifty scientists, as well as by telescopes, cameras, and computer systems.
After its launch last week, Loeb’s Galileo project has already attracted the attention of thousands of amateur astronomers who have emailed him with a desire to get involved. But he also says he has received a lot of criticism from his peers over the Galileo Project.
“You expect the scientific community to be blue sky, open minded,” Loeb said. “But the government seems to be more open minded in declaring that and the scientific community ridicules it out of a habit.”