Galileo Project: The First Step Towards Extraterrestrial Civilization

김주예, 김혜선, 최은지l승인2021.09.05l수정2021.09.05 22:30l388호 1면






   The well-known academic journal Science reported that on July 26, Avi Loeb, veteran astronomy professor at Harvard University, had launched the ‘Galileo Project’ in hopes of finding evidence about UFOs or other extraterrestrial technological civilizations (ETC) and to gather rich data about novel interstellar objects with anomalous properties. The timing was remarkable as the US government recently admitted the possible existence of alien technology for the first time, with the release of their report on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP). News outlets around the globe began taking notice.

▲ The main logo of 'Galileo project' (Photo from Harvard University)

   On June 25, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in the US released a comprehensive report describing a number of well documents UFO sightings as unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP). After analyzing data collected by radar, infrared sensor, electrooptical sensors and the naked eye, regarding the 144 unidentifiable flight vehicles from 2004 onwards, the origin of these craft was brought into question, leaving the door open for the possible existence of aliens.

   The project is named after Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei because of his pioneering work in field that altered the way we view of the universe. It is hoped that this project will lead to groundbreaking discoveries that will impact our view of the universe in a similar manner.

   Avi Loeb, the head and co-founder of the Galileo Project, was a director at the Institute for Theory and Computation at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics during his teaching career. In June 2021, he wrote an article for Scientific American entitled ‘A Possible Link between Oumuamua and Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.’ In this piece, he states that whether a UAP is a natural terrestrial phenomenon or extraterrestrial in origin, it is something we did not know of before. For that reason, the study of UAPs should shift to the ‘arena of science where it is studied by scientists rather than government officials.’ He added, “Scientists could clear up the mystery with an honest analysis of open data,” and that “We should be open-minded to the possibility that science will one day reveal a reality that was previously considered as fiction.”

▲ Avi Loeb, the head of 'Galileo project' (Photo from Scientific American)

   Scientists from all over the world, including researchers from Stockholm University, the University of Cambridge, and UCLA are also joining in on this project. The research funds are covered by private donations which has so far totaled 1.75 million Dollars (20 billion Won). Along with donations, the project is being backed by affluent individuals such as co-founder Frank H. Laukien.

   The purpose of the Galileo project is to bring the extraterrestrial technological signatures of ETC from unproven observations and legends, into the mainstream of verified and systematic scientific research. Overall, it has three main objectives. First, researchers will investigate interstellar objects from outside of the solar system like the unidentifiable Oumuamua which crossed into our atmosphere in October 2017. Second, researchers will set up telescopic observation systems around the world to help identify other UAP. Last, they plan to analyze the data using AI. Professor Loeb said that if the 8.4 meter-bore optical telescope ‘LSST’ which is scheduled to begin operating in Chile in 2022 goes ahead as planned, they will be able to find more interstellar objects like Oumuamua. “We will find more objects in the interstellar universe in the future.” He later added, “We should load cameras on to a space rocket so that we can take close-up pictures when we find unusual-looking objects.” He also emphasized that even if the Galileo Project is not able to find evidence of extraterrestrial civilizations, it will still be helpful for scientists to understand more about our universe.

   The Galileo Project is based on the idea that ETC may exist, and humanity can no longer disregard the possibility outright. The efforts to find extraterrestrial life or technology will expand human knowledge and pioneer a new branch of astronomy called 'space archaeology'. Its discoveries will impact not only science, but how we view the universe. This project is a big step in the research of extraterrestrials and like its tagline says it is ‘Daring to Look Through New Telescopes’.

김주예, 김혜선, 최은지
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