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Why 2018 was the year of the extraterrestrials (From The Grapevine… Israeli of the year award!)

“I know what I fucking saw! And what I felt, what I experienced… the ‘guy’ was not human. I’ve considered EVERY other possibility, from hypnotism to a mental breakdown… the ONLY explanation for it is… an extraterrestrial being.

My thought is… homo sapiens have absolutely no idea at all what is out there, how advanced ‘beings’ out there could be, what their motivations are (would be)… not just millions of years more advanced, but billions … we would be like ants are to humans!”

IF there’s ‘someone’ out there, a group of people, who TRULY know about this, or at least have an idea… … I WANT IN! 😀
(I’m the guy who thinks six and half billion people might need to be culled in order to save the planet)

An advanced extra-terrestrial species will understand GUT-CP model of the Universe, will have discovered hydrino energy and the ONLY method to communicate would be through the universal language of mathematics… starting with the number 137! 😉

DR. AVI LOEB… THIS GUY IS MY HERO! 😀

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Why 2018 was the year of the extraterrestrials

Harvard’s Dr. Avi Loeb took his search for aliens to a whole new stratosphere.

There was so much news this year. A boys soccer team got stuck in a cave in Thailand. Never-before-seen footage surfaced of Einstein driving a ‘flying car.’ It was announced that the Wonder Woman sequel would be pushed back. Like we said, a lot of news.
But perhaps no other topic spiked our pageviews more than the plethora of planetary news bits that occurred throughout 2018. And, for most of those items, we have one person to thank: Dr. Avi Loeb.
It all started at the beginning of the year when we decided to fly to Boston and visit the second-floor office of Loeb on the campus of Harvard University. The Israel-born astrophysicist is the chair of the school’s Astronomy Department and the founder of its Black Hole Initiative.

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From The Grapevine’s Benyamin Cohen (left) interviews Dr. Avi Loeb (right) in his Harvard office.

Loeb is spearheading a $100 million project – worked on by none other than Stephen Hawking before his death earlier this year – that is actively searching for alien life. This is not merely an intellectual exercise. Loeb, an alumnus of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, believes that Earth will not be habitable forever. It may be an asteroid tomorrow or rising waters centuries from now, but it would be smart if we start looking for a backup home.
Hence his mission to find extraterrestrials, communicate with them that we come in peace, and ask (politely) if we can move in with them on their planet. We recorded our conversation with Loeb and you can listen to him explain the concept in detail here:

With such an intriguing topic, we set up a Google Alert for Dr. Loeb’s name, sat back, and watched 2018 take shape… ~

January: Loeb began the year listening for aliens in the mountains of West Virginia at the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope and the world’s largest land-based movable structure. (This was following up on similar listening sessions he conducted in 2017.)

February: It’s reported that a massive fireball may have destroyed a potential second Earth … but Loeb optimistically explains why we still might be able to move there.

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An artist’s impression of a flare from Proxima Centauri, modeled after the loops of glowing hot gas seen in the largest solar flares. (Photo: Roberto Molar Candanosa / Carnegie Institution for Science, NASA/SDO, NASA/JPL)

May: Loeb’s Breakthrough Listen Initiative set up a new multi-beam receiver on a telescope in Australia. Covering a larger area than previous telescopes, it can capture data on one of the densest neighborhoods in the galaxy.

June: Physicists in France suggest that the best way to colonize an alien planet would be to send 98 people – 49 men and 49 women – to begin a new civilization. But Loeb offered up a different approach. “My own prediction is that we are more likely to send robots equipped with artificial intelligence and 3D printers rather than people for these long journeys to exoplanets,” Loeb told us. “The human body is not designed to survive in the harsh environment of space, and artificially designed systems could do much better. Once they land on the surface of an exoplanet they can use 3D printers to reconstruct humans there. Instead of transporting humans, it would make more sense to carry their DNA blueprints and reconstruct them over there.”

September: Loeb gave a public lecture at Harvard about the search for life on other planets. He discussed, among other things, the feasibility of traveling to an alien planet and being welcomed into the intersellar club.

September: Loeb published an essay in Scientific American about searching for artifacts or relics of dead civilizations in outer space. “Instead of using shovels to dig into the ground as routine in conventional archaeology, this new frontier will be explored by using telescopes to survey the sky and dig into space,” he wrote.

September: He published a new research paper that explores the different types of elements that one might find on an alien planet.

September: Dr. Loeb appeared on the premiere episode of a new science interview show called Event Horizon. In the interview, he talked about why the universe may be full of alien civilizations. The video, which you can watch below, went viral and has already been viewed more than 100,000 times.

October: A new Loeb paper posits that extraterrestrials could be hitching a ride across the Milky Way. He calls them ‘tiny astronauts sitting in a natural spacecraft.’

November: Dr. Loeb says an alien spaceship might’ve flown by Earth. “The response … has been truly remarkable,” Loeb revealed.
“It is exciting to live at a time when we have the scientific technology to search for evidence of alien civilizations,” Loeb told us about his work. “This will be the biggest leap forward since the Apollo mission. I like challenges. It’s not fun otherwise.”

Searching for Relics of Dead Civilizations

If technological civilizations are short lived, we might find abundant artifacts or relics of dead civilizations in space _______ By Abraham Loeb on September 18, 2018

The rate of growth of new technologies is often proportional to past knowledge, leading to an exponential advance over time. This explosive process implies that very quickly after a civilization reaches technological maturity, it would develop the means for its own destruction through climate change or nuclear, biological and chemical wars. Rapid technological events of this type would appear abrupt in the cosmic perspective of billions of years. If common, they could explain Fermi’s paradox “where is everybody?” and imply that relics of dead civilizations should be abundant in space.

When exploring habitable worlds around other stars, we might therefore find planets with burnt-up surfaces, abandoned mega-structures or planetary atmospheres rich with poisonous gases and no sign of life. Even more intriguing is the possibility that we will find technological relics flying through the Solar System with no detectable functionality, such as pieces of equipment that lost power over the millions of years of their travel and appear as space junk.

The wealth of debris in interstellar space would depend on the abundance of technological civilizations and the scope of their aspirations for space exploration. Based on Kepler satellite data, we know that about a quarter of all stars host a habitable Earth-scale planet. Even if a small fraction of all habitable Earths led to technological civilizations like our own during the lifetime of their stars, there might be plenty of relics out there in the Milky Way for us to explore.

This opportunity establishes a potential foundation for a new frontier of spacearchaeology, namely the study of relics from past civilizations in space. Instead of using shovels to dig into the ground as routine in conventional archaeology, this new frontier will be explored by using telescopes to survey the sky and dig into space.

Naively, one might consider this research horizon as futuristic. But interestingly, the first artificial relic might have just been discovered over the past year when the Pan STARRS sky survey identified the first interstellar object in the Solar System, `Oumuamua. The abundance of interstellar asteroids with `Oumuamua’s kilometerscale length was estimated a decade earlier to be a million times smaller, making this discovery a complete surprise. In addition, `Oumuamua is more elongated than any known asteroid in the Solar System. But most intriguing is the fact that `Oumuamua deviated from the orbit expected based on the Sun’s gravitational field. Although such deviations could be associated with the rocket effect from outgassing due to heating of water ice by the Sun, there was no sign of any cometary tail behind `Oumuamua, and calculations imply that its spin period should have changed significantly by the associated cometary torque, contrary to observations. Might `Oumuamua have an artificial engine? Even if it happens to be a piece of natural rock as indicated by its lack of radio transmission, this rock appears to be very unusual by many counts.

The discovery of `Oumumua should motivate us to keep searching for interstellar debris in the Solar System. Interstellar objects may not be strictly one-time visitors. A small fraction of them may get trapped by the gravitational “fishing net” cast by the Sun and Jupiter. Objects passing close enough to Jupiter could lose orbital energy through their gravitational interaction and stay bound to the Solar System subsequently. Indeed, an asteroid occupying an orbit indicative of such origin, BZ509, was identified recently in a retrograde orbit around Jupiter.

It is impossible to use existing chemical rockets to chase down `Oumumua because of its high speed, but one can contemplate missions to land on interstellar objects which are bound to the Solar System. Although they represent a tiny minority of all the asteroids or comets in the Solar System, their interstellar origin can be identified based on their unusual orbits around Jupiter or in the case of comets – through their distinct (extrasolar) isotope abundance of Oxygen, detectable by spectroscopic observations of their cometary tail.

Finding evidence for space junk of artificial origin would provide an affirmative answer to the age-old question “are we alone?” This would have a dramatic impact on our culture and add a new cosmic perspective to the significance of human activity. Finding dead civilizations due to war or climate change will hopefully convince us to get our act together and avoid a similar fate. But it would be even more remarkable if radar imaging or flyby photography near an interstellar relic within the Solar System would show signs of an advanced technology that our civilization had not mastered as of yet. There is no better lesson to learn than the one from civilizations that had the benefit of time to develop their advanced technologies up to saturation.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Abraham Loeb
Abraham (Avi) Loeb is chair of the astronomy department at Harvard University, founding director of Harvard’s Black Hole Initiative and director of the Institute for Theory and Computation at the HarvardSmithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He chairs the Board on Physics and Astronomy of the National Academies as well as the advisory board for the Breakthrough Starshot project.

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