Avi Loeb's Deep Dive for Alien Life Is Making Other Scientists Gasp

An astrophysicist from Harvard says that material from the seafloor could be from an extraterrestrial spacecraft, but his peers are skeptical.

Avi Loeb's Deep Dive for Alien Life Is Making Other Scientists Gasp

A fireball from outer space crashed into the sea north of Manus Island, off the northeastern coast Papua New Guinea on Jan. 8, 2014. The U.S. government recorded its location, brightness and velocity. They then quietly stored it in a database.

This data was untouched for five years. It wasn't until Avi Loeb - a theoretical astrophysicist from Harvard University - and Amir Siraj - then a student at Harvard – stumbled upon it in 2019 that they became aware of its existence. Siraj recognized the fireball's extreme outlier status based on its speed and direction.

Dr. Loeb headed an expedition last month to recover fragments of the Fireball from the seafloor in the Western Pacific. On June 21, he

You can claim your right to claim

He had. To the dismay of his colleagues he claims that this could be proof of extraterrestrial existence.

Dr. Loeb stated that the creatures were not biological, as you might see them in science-fiction movies. It's likely to be a technological gadget that has artificial intelligence.

Some astronomers see this announcement as another example of Dr. Loeb's outlandish and premature declaration. His pronouncements and a promotional

Video in Times Square on the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

They claim that ) distort public perceptions of science.

Steve Desch, astrophysicist from Arizona State University, said that people are tired of Avi Loeb’s wild claims. It's a polluting of good science, conflating our good science with this ridiculous sensationalism. And it's sucking the oxygen out the room.

Dr. Desch said that some of his colleagues refused to participate in Dr. Loeb’s peer review process, which is the method by which researchers evaluate each other’s research and ensure only high-quality papers are published. He said that the peer-review process and scientific method had been ruined. It's demoralizing, and it is tiring.

Dr. Loeb and magnetic fragments found at the bottom of Pacific Ocean.


Avi Loeb

Dr. Loeb began to study the aforementioned in his own time.

Fireball Catalog

The Center for Near Earth Object Studies of NASA. This led to the object detected in 2014. Dr. Loeb, Mr. Siraj and others concluded from the direction and speed of the fireball at impact -- 28 miles per seconds -- that it was moving too fast to be gravitationally bound with our sun. This meant that, like Oumuamua it had to be interstellar.

The writer wrote a


About the discovery in 2019. The Astrophysical Journal initially rejected the article, but then published it in November last year, a few months after U.S. Space Command made the announcement.

In a memo that was circulated on Twitter

The fireball's speed was measured

Accurate enough to deduce interstellar origin


Peter Brown, a physicist in meteorology at Western University, Ontario, says that appealing to authority won't be enough. The U.S. Defense Department's data may not be as precise as it appears, and this could affect the likelihood that the object was from outer space.

Dr. Brown stated that he had learned from his experience in running radar and optical networks on the ground, "that you find that several percent of events you detect are interstellar." He continued that, to date, almost all of these events can be attributed to measurement errors.

A meteor streaking across the sky over Chelyabinsk in Russia in 2013. Dr. Loeb claims that the fireball that occurred in 2014 in the Pacific Ocean was caused by an interstellar body, in contrast to the event that occurred in 2013.


M. Ahmetvaleev, via JPL/NASA

Dr. Brown, along with others, are also concerned by Dr. Loeb's lack of engagement with the community experts who study fireballs that fly fast.

Charles Hoskinson is a cryptocurrency entrepreneur who provided $1.5 million to finance Dr. Loeb’s recent ocean exploration. The expedition was organized by Cryptocurrency.com.

EYOS Expeditions

The journey took place approximately 60 nautical miles north from Manus Island

Along the expected path

The 2014 fireball. Dr. Loeb was accompanied by a group of scientists and engineers, sailors, and film crews, along with Mr. Hoskinson. He has chronicled the voyage and its aftermath with a 42-part series (and counting).

Blog posts published by the author


The team spent two weeks dragging a sled with cameras, magnets and lights along the seafloor. They would retrieve it periodically to look for any metallic fragments of the fireball from 2014. They recovered scores of beads that were each less than one millimeter wide. The preliminary analyses on board the ship revealed that these spherules were primarily made of iron with smaller amounts of other metals.

Maurice Tivey is a marine geophysicist from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He was not part of the expedition, but he used underwater robots in the past to map the area. Sediments and volcanic ash, which are not easily moved once they have settled on the ocean floor, are more common.

Tivey was convinced by this, as well as the fact that the fragments were round. This suggests they may have been aerodynamic. He said, 'I do believe he has found pieces of it.

The screen displayed spherules on the image of the magnetic particles that were collected during a session of ocean bottom dredging.


Avi Loeb

At a recent event, skepticism flared up about the project.

Asteroids, Comets, Meteors Conference

This occurred during the expedition to the deep sea. Dr. Desch said that if the fireball had been moving at the speed reported, then there would be nothing to find. The meteor would have burned up completely in the atmosphere. He said that even in the most generous scenario only one milligram would have survived and would have been scattered over tens square kilometers of ocean floor.

Dr. Brown presented a similar analysis at the conference. He used data from a variety of instruments to compare measurements of 17 objects in the NASA fireball catalog that Dr. Loeb, and Mr. Siraj had previously used. His


The Astrophysical Journal has accepted the results of a study that shows that catalog data is often wrong about directions and speed and that errors in speed measurements increase with increasing speed.

These errors are large enough to change the orbit of the 2014 fireball, Dr. Brown explained. This could mean that it was not interstellar at all. The object's brightness, air drag, and density would have been better matched to theoretical models of meteors if it had traveled closer to 12,5 miles per second when it hit.

Dr. Brown based his conclusion on this that the fireball was likely to have impacted at a slower speed. If the speed was underestimated, the object would be more or less in line with what we observe when it comes to other solar system objects bound together.

Dr. Loeb was not happy with this pushback.

He said: 'When I studied physics, I learned that if you have a mathematical model, and it does not agree with data, you need to revise it.' He was referring to NASA's catalog of measurements.

Unlike many of his peers, he also believes that U.S. military sensor readings are reliable, even though he does not have access to the raw data. Loeb stated that 'they are responsible for the national security'. I think they know exactly what they're doing. The fact that he and his colleagues found what they believe to be fragments of the meteor from 2014 at the location indicated by these measurements makes him even more confident.

Dr. Loeb at left searching for particles in the sled magnets last month, with Charles Hoskinson and Ryan Weed, both from left.



It is unlikely that the government would declassify data from these devices. Loeb has a different type of proof in mind: he sent the spherules for analysis and dating to Harvard University, University of California Berkeley and the Bruker Company in Germany. Spherules that are older than the solar system or have a distinct signature of isotopes must be interstellar.

Loeb himself performed the first inspections at Berkeley. Early tests showed the presence of lead and uranium, whose abundance can be used as a measure of the age of the material. Loeb says that two of the spherules discovered along the path of the fireball are as old as the entire universe.

This is in contrast to the spherule that Dr. Loeb believes was recovered far from the path of the fireball. He thinks it's either from geological origin or a different type of meteorite. This spherule was estimated to be a few billions of years old, similar to the age of our solar systems.

Even if it is true that the fireball came from a different cosmic neighborhood, there are still many more signs needed to prove the existence of extraterrestrials.

Don Brownlee of the University of Washington, who in the 1970s used magnets to gather cosmic marbles from the seabed, says that if they don't have nickel, then it's unlikely that the spherules are natural meteorites. He says that if there is no oxygen, the material has not likely passed through Earth's atmospheric layer. Dr. Loeb already


He said that the early results showed an absence of Nickel, but did not mention Oxygen.

He admits that he may be mistaken but also invokes the names of other scientists to address such concerns. He said that Einstein had been wrong three times about supermassive dark holes.

Gravitational waves

Nobel Prizes in Physics have been awarded for quantum entanglement, and other discoveries. Loeb stated that it is important to test theories experimentally. Let the evidence guide you.

Dr. Desch says that the meteor community believes interstellar bodies exist, and is eager to see one strike the Earth. However, there has not been any strong evidence to date. He said, 'I want to assure people that scientists do not make things up.' Loeb's behavior is not what science is about. They shouldn't leave thinking that.

Loeb may tell the public more about the additional pieces of rock found at the bottom of sea. His team plans to return north of Papua New Guinea later this year to search for larger relics from the 2014 fireball. In 2024, Dr. Loeb's team will search for the remains of a second meteor off the coasts of Portugal.


Is of interstellar origin

Rob McCallum said, "He might be incorrect, but we won't know until we look." McCallum is a cofounder of EYOS Expeditions, and was the main organizer of the recent trip.