There are those who question the reason behind the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life, but it seems that reason varies greatly from scientist to scientist. For the astronomer and professor at Harvard University, Abraham (Avi) Loeb, the answer is simple: “I look for intelligent life in space because it is difficult to find on Earth”.
There are already several attempts that researchers around the world employ to find alien life and, although some traces have been found on Venus, Jupiter and Saturn, to date none have been successful. But an astronomer from NASA, the United States space agency, has estimated the date for this discovery.
The astronomer’s curious statement was just a snippet of a long interview Loeb gave to BBC News Mundo, but which inevitably caught the media’s attention this Thursday (2).
During the interview, Loeb spoke not only about the importance of seeking intelligence elsewhere in the cosmos, but also defended his controversial and controversial ideas about the mysterious object ‘Oumuamua.
The astronomer is launching this year the book “Extraterrestrial: The first sign of intelligent life outside the Earth”, in which he explains the thesis that ‘Oumuamua could be a probe sent by an alien civilization or even a remnant of an artifact created by extraterrestrials.
‘Oumuamua was the first object detected from outside the Solar System, and in fact it looked very strange. It had several anomalies that convinced me it could be an artifact of a technological civilization.
The interstellar object ‘Oumuamua is no longer in an observable area and was detected in 2017. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Discovered in 2017, the object of interstellar origin ‘Oumuamua is unlike anything seen before: 400 meters long and with an accelerated trajectory, it does not have consistent characteristics that classify it as a comet or asteroid, and, to this day, it does not exist consensus on their categorization. Unlike comets, the object leaves no trail of dust and gases.
On his motivations for finding extraterrestrial life, Loeb explains the reservations he has about humanity and how this discovery would impact his behavior:
Throughout human history, I’ve seen people fighting each other, trying to feel superior, and that makes so little sense in the grand scheme of the universe, because we’re all so insignificant that there’s no point in trying to be superior to each other. We could behave much smarter before being admitted to the ‘intelligence club’, so I hope the possibility of extraterrestrial life will convince us to act together, to have a better future than our past.
Do you believe in extraterrestrial life? What’s your opinion on astronomer Loeb’s statement?