The Department of Astronomy at Harvard University Avi Loeb is not alien to the controversy. His suggestion that a strange thing in our solar system from deep space may be a foreign probe – just the last example.
Now he has added fuel to the fire.
In an interview with the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, an Israeli professor fiercely defended his hypothesis.
"As soon as we leave the solar system, I believe we will see a lot of traffic there," he says. "Perhaps we will receive a message saying:" Welcome to the interstellar club. "Or we will learn about the many dead civilizations – that is, we will find their remains."
The focus of the discussion is Oumuamua.
In the translation from the Hawaiian language, this means "the envoy sent from a distant past."
He came from the outside of the ecliptic – the flat planes of the planets, asteroids and other matter, which was swirled in place when our solar system was formed.
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It was an unusual reddish color, indicating the extreme impact of powerful cosmic rays.
It was relatively bright, at least in comparison with the average coarse-black color of the most famous comets and asteroids.
He was moving very, very fast. It turned out that he "accelerates" when comets depart from the sun. But he had no comet tail.
He also saw that it was "blinking" fast as if it had been pulled out – or flat – in a wild turn.
Am Oumuamua, of course, is weird.
But, therefore, aliens?
TO BE OR NOT TO BE
Professor Leb, 56, joined his efforts with Shmuel Biali to publish an article that suggests that "Oumaamua was not a comet. And not an asteroid.
Instead, he argued, his unusual trajectory could be explained if it was an artificial light sail.
The search for extraterrestrial intelligence has already tested: he devoted part of his precious radio telescope of time to listen to the subject.
Do not squeak
No radio messages or lighthouses. No radar emissions. Nothing.
But Professor Leb is not embarrassed.
"I do not care what people are saying," he told Ha'aretz. "I say what I think, and if the general public is interested in what I say, it's a welcoming result, as far as it concerns me, but an indirect result. Science does not look like politics: it's not based on popular polls. "
But, it seems, he seeks to increase speculation.
"We have no way of knowing whether this is an active technology, or a space ship that no longer operates and continues to float in space," he quoted Haaretz. "But if Oumuamua were created with the whole population of similar objects that were launched arbitrarily, the fact that we discovered it means that its creators launched quadrilion probes similar to each Milky Way star."
Professor Lob says he thinks the universe will be infested by someone else's rubbish. And among them live societies.
Identifying them should be a priority task of an hour.
"Our approach must be archaeological," he says. "Just as we dig into the earth to find the cultures that no longer exist, we must dig into space to open the civilizations that existed outside the planet Earth."
Professor Loeb says that discussions about the origins of Oumawam have been widespread in the scientific community.
"Senior scientists said that this was a peculiar thing, but feared that their thoughts would be public. I do not understand it. In the end, academic stay aims to give scientists the freedom to take risks without worrying about their work. "
However, according to him, the extraordinary caution with which scientists look their words in the way they aspire to such a high status tends to endure.
"As children we ask ourselves about the world, we allow ourselves to be mistaken. We learn about the world innocently and honestly. As a scientist, you must enjoy the privilege that you can continue your childhood. Do not worry about it, but about revealing the truth. Especially after you get a post.
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But critics point out that there is a difference between speculation and the hypothesis being tested, based on measured quantities.
Leb responds quickly: "The search for extraterrestrial life is not speculation," he says. "It's much less speculative than the assumption that there is dark matter-the invisible substance, accounting for 85% of the material in the universe."
But this is a completely different dispute.
Professor Lob also favors the proposal of Russia's billionaire Yuri Miller to break through the stars to build thousands of tiny "star chips" to advance to the closest neighbor, the Alpha Centaurus, to study this solar system.
Perhaps, therefore, the concept is at a high level.
However, it is not as if he is completely unaware of the risks.
"So, it may be that I commit suicide in an image if it turns out to be wrong," he says. On the other hand, if it turns out to be correct, this is one of the greatest discoveries in the history of mankind.
– Apart from what is the worst thing that can happen to me? Am I freed from my administrative duties? It will benefit that I will have more time for science. "