Astronomers have announced a new venture to advance mankind’s search for artifacts from extraterrestrial technological civilizations (ETCs) – Project Galileo. The project is aimed at answering the question: “Are we the smartest children in our space block?” Harvard astrophysicist Avi Loeb, co-founder of the initiative, said at a press conference today (July 26) of the big announcement.
Loeb co-founded the ambitious project with Frank Lokien, chairman, president and CEO of Bruker Corp., a Massachusetts-based company that designs and manufactures scientific equipment.
An international team worked with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts to develop a project with one main goal – “to bring the search for extraterrestrial technological signatures of random or anecdotal observations and legends to the mainstream transparent”, confirms the systematic scientific research, “- says in the statement of the researchers.
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Over the past two weeks, the project has received donations totaling $ 1.755 million from donors, setting the stage for the Galileo project, Loeb said at a press conference today.
Galileo’s project supports the search not only for extraterrestrial life itself, but also for evidence of the existence of advanced civilizations that can leave clues behind them using the technologies they have created – bread crumbs known as technosignatures.
“Given the newly discovered many exoplanets in habitable zones with the potential for extraterrestrial life, the Galileo project is dedicated to the assertion that humans can no longer ignore the possible existence of extraterrestrial civilizations,” Loeb said in a statement. “Science should not reject potential extraterrestrial explanations because of social stigma or cultural preferences that do not support the scientific method of impartial empirical inquiry. Now we must “dare to look into new telescopes”, both literally and figuratively. “
Earth is no stranger to alien visitors. According to a report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) submitted to Congress on June 25, a number of unidentified aerial events (UAPs) – their nature is unknown – were reported primarily by naval personnel via several sensors, including radar. , infrared, optoelectronic, weapon search and visual observation.
One of the more famous space voyeurs to appear outside our solar system was the ‘Oumuamua’ pancake-shaped object, discovered in our area on October 19, 2017. This strange out-of-town did not resemble any observed comet or asteroid. earlier and sparked controversy in the astronomical community regarding its true identity and origins. Project Galileo seeks to resolve this dispute by determining the true nature of the UAP and interstellar objects like Oumuamua.
“With such a potentially far-reaching project in terms of scientific progress and exploration of the universe, it is important to establish some ground rules from the outset,” Lokien said at a press conference. “It is very important to remember that the Galileo project is not for everyone and not for everyone,” Laukien said. “It has a certain scope and limitations.”
The venture will only deal with known physics explanations and analyze the data collected through the Galileo project. The researchers said in a statement that they would not attempt to speculate about previous UAPs, alleged sightings, or informal reports.
“Perhaps we can draw a conclusion about the nature of these unidentified objects. It may be some kind of atmospheric phenomenon or some other origin that has a mundane explanation, but we want to find out, ”Loeb said at a press conference. “We want to dispel the fog through transparent and scientific analysis, collecting our own data, not data based on government sensors, because most of this data is classified.”
The researchers hope to shed light on extraterrestrial phenomena by following three main lines of research: obtaining high-resolution UAP images using multiple detectors to detect their nature, conducting in-depth studies of interstellar objects like Oumuamua, and finding potential extraterrestrial civilizations. satellites.
Once the funds are received, the team plans to start working immediately. “We have weekly team meetings and we are currently selecting the tools we plan to purchase,” Loeb said at a press conference. “Hopefully we are planning to get some interesting results next year.”
The current goal of the project is to install dozens of telescopic systems around the world. Each telescopic system will consist of approximately two 10-inch (25-centimeter) telescopes with a camera suitable for identifying objects of interest connected to a computer system that will filter the data, Loeb told a news conference today. The team will also work on developing software that will analyze data collected from the Vera Rubin Observatory, which is expected to hit the web in 2023.
Project Galileo has been boldly compared to the work of the pioneering Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei, whose groundbreaking discoveries have changed humanity’s understanding of the universe.
“The importance of potential discoveries of strong scientific evidence about extraterrestrial technology could have the same impact on astronomy and our worldview as the pioneering use of Galileo’s telescopes for astronomical observation,” project officials from the Galileo project said on the project’s website. Therefore, the project is named after him.
The Galileo project is funded by donations and contributions from various individuals and foundations. Details of the research group and advisory boards are available on the Galileo project website. You can stay up to date on both Twitter and Instagram.
Full Disclosure: Space.com Senior Writer Mike Wall moderated the Galileo project announcement and press conference on July 26th.