By Tim Binnall
A Harvard astronomer who sparked headlines last November when he theorized that the mysterious interstellar object known as Oumuamua could be alien in nature is defending his fantastic hypothesis in the face of critics. Avi Loeb, who chairs the Astronomy Department at the prestigious university, argued that the puzzling object, which was first discovered in the autumn of 2017, might possibly be some kind of ET probe, specifically one that is powered by a light sail. They based this reasoning on Oumuamua's odd shape and how it seemed to accelerate as it departed our solar system.
Upon the publication of their paper, the astronomers' hypothesis was largely lambasted by their colleagues in the astronomical community. However, in a recent interview with an Israeli newspaper, Loeb reportedly doubled down on the ET theory and actually took it even further. Regarding his critics, a defiant Loeb declared that "I don't care what people say" and mused that "science isn't like politics: It is not based on popularity polls." He went on to posit that if Oumuamua was made by an ET civilization, it stands to reason that "its creators launched a quadrillion probes like it to every star in the Milky Way."
To that end, he shared some rather remarkable thoughts about the possibility of finding alien artifacts in deep space. "As soon as we leave the solar system, I believe we will see a great deal of traffic out there," he said, suggesting that a vast array of ET objects, both active and 'dead' are waiting to be found. As such, he proposed taking an altogether different approach in the search for alien life. "In the same way we dig in the ground to find cultures that no longer exist," he said, "we must dig in space in order to discover civilizations that existed outside the planet Earth.”