“Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”
– Carl Sagan.
Are we not alone? Surely not. The possibility that intelligent life exists outside of planet earth is a reality. And, the Galileo Project, in honour of the Italian genius Galileo Galilei “father of modern astronomy”, who was unjustly sentenced by the perfidious Roman Inquisition, is led by Israeli professor Abraham “Avi” Loeb. He was born in the moshav Beit Hanan, growing up in the midst of an agricultural world, and is now the Frank B. Baird Jr. professor of science at the prestigious Harvard University. He is Jewish, he maintains the tradition, but he is not a practising Jew.
The Galilei Project has a historic purpose, and that is the systematic scientific search for evidence of extraterrestrial technological artefacts. It seeks to find and study whether an off-earth civilisation or civilisations possess spacecraft and technology for interstellar travel.
This ambitious project was born out of a specific event in 2017, when a mysterious object landed in our Solar System and immediately caught the attention of scientists. Oumuamua” is Hawaiian for “explorer” and was spotted by astronomers in Hawaii. For Loeb, Oumuamua is neither a comet nor an asteroid, as other scientists have said, but is part of an “advanced piece of technological equipment”.
Oumuamua is the first and only interstellar object ever recorded, and for Professor Loeb it is the first evidence of intelligent extraterrestrial life, and in his book “Extraterrestrial” he supports this hypothesis. In fact, Professor Loeb was kind enough to send me his latest book, and I look forward to reading it.
Professor Loeb has been the longest-serving chairman of Harvard’s Department of Astronomy, and in 2020 Loeb was selected among the 14 most inspiring Israelis of the last decade. He is a theoretical physicist, astrophysicist and cosmologist, quite controversial in academia, as he is way ahead of his colleagues, being certain of the existence of alien life, culture and technology. He received his PhD in physics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem at the age of 24 and, like Galileo, is sure to revolutionise astronomy and physics.
Black holes, primordial galaxies, extraterrestrial life mitive galaxies, extraterrestrial life and the future of the Universe are some of the topics that Dr Loeb is passionate about. He also insists that there are more intelligent and superior cultures than ours outside planet Earth. This has provoked criticism and rejection from some of his colleagues, but Dr Loeb stands firm in his belief and, like the Italian Renaissance genius, has been strongly attacked by inquisitive sectors of science.
For Professor Loeb, “It would be arrogant to believe that we are unique in the universe. There will come a day when humanity will understand and know these Extraterrestrial Technological Civilisations (ETCs) and as Dr. Loeb says “We must dare to look through new telescopes”, before it is too late.
In War of the Worlds, H. G. Wells, “father of science fiction”, relates that: “It is possible that the alien invasion may at last prove beneficial to us; at least it has robbed us of that serene confidence in the future which is the surest source of decay”.