Avi Loeb, a physicist from Harvard University, has retrieved 50 small iron fragments from the Pacific Ocean’s depths, suggesting they may originate from an interstellar alien spaceship.
Loeb’s findings are connected to a fireball incident in January 2014, recorded by sensors from the US Department of Defense that monitor atmospheric entries.
The meteor, known as CNEOS 20140108 or IM1 (interstellar meteor), disintegrated over the South Pacific Ocean near Papua New Guinea after exhibiting an unusually high velocity compared to typical meteors.
Loeb’s claim of extraterrestrial material hinges on the connection between his discovery and the fireball event. However, the leap from observing a fireball to concluding it as evidence of an alien spacecraft raises questions about the evidence supporting his claim and its plausibility.
In 2017, the discovery of ‘Oumuamua, an interstellar comet, intrigued scientists due to its peculiar characteristics. ‘Oumuamua’s trajectory deviated from the usual orbits of planets and comets, suggesting an origin beyond the Solar System.
Loeb, in a 2018 article, speculated that ‘Oumuamua could be of artificial origin—a creation of an extraterrestrial civilization. He proposed continuing the search for interstellar debris within the Solar System.
Building on this pursuit, Loeb’s team examined the CNEOS database for objects with unique orbital traits, leading them to identify CNEOS 20140108 or IM1 as an interstellar meteor based on its high velocity.
By modeling the fireball’s path, Loeb narrowed down a specific area in the South Pacific where debris from IM1 was likely deposited. Through a dredging operation and the use of a powerful magnet, he claims to have recovered material from IM1.
However, the veracity of genuine interstellar debris, let alone an alien spacecraft, remains uncertain. The metallic spherules found by Loeb, approximately half a millimeter in diameter, could potentially have extraterrestrial origins. Similar cosmic spherules have been previously discovered on the ocean floor.
Yet, the increased pollution on Earth over the past century makes it challenging to differentiate between extraterrestrial spherules and terrestrial pollutants. A comprehensive analysis of the composition and comparison with meteorite analyses and common terrestrial pollutants is necessary to confirm their origin.
While Loeb asserts that the material is not only from space but also interstellar in nature, his claims lack substantial evidence. Interstellar material does exist on Earth, including various molecules found within the interstellar medium and remnants from stars. However, the material collected by Loeb is unlikely to represent such interstellar debris.
Analyzing the spherules reveals they primarily consist of iron with trace amounts of other metals, diverging from the composition of meteors within the Solar System. Nevertheless, this alone does not confirm their interstellar origin or support the hypothesis of an artificial spacecraft.
To establish their interstellar nature, determining an age for the spherules surpassing that of the Sun would be crucial. However, identifying an artificial origin would require significantly more convincing evidence. The current findings do not provide conclusive proof in that regard.
Source: the conversation