An EXCLUSIVE AUTHORLINK interview with Prof. Avi Loeb about
Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth
(Mariner Books, Paperback 22 February 2022)
Was Earth visited by intelligent life? Astrophysicist Prof. Avi Loeb believes it was.
Interview Part One of Two
Part Two of Two
On the 19th of October in 2017, astronomers from the Haleakala Observatory in Hawaii announced that the Pan-STARRS-1 telescope had detected a strange object that had flown past Earth twelve days earlier. They named it ‘Oumuamua (pronounced O-moo-a-moo-a) which roughly translates to ‘scout’ in Hawaiian.
It was quickly realized that this item was an interstellar object, the first-ever to be observed passing through our solar system.
There was a great deal of confusion concerning ‘Oumuamua’s classification. Initially, it was thought to be a comet, then an asteroid, then something else entirely. But between optical, spectral, and infrared data that suggested odd dimensions and were inconsistent with any known celestial object, no one could say for certain what ‘Oumuamua was.
Then there was its odd behavior, like how it failed to develop a tail as it made its closest pass to our Sun, but then accelerated as it left our Solar System. Only two things could be said with certainty: one, the object came from interstellar space; two, it was something astronomers had never seen.
It was at this point, almost a year after ‘Oumuamua came and went from our Solar System, that Prof. Abraham ‘Avi’ Loeb — the Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University — offered a controversial explanation. If it was not consistent with any known natural object, could it possibly be an artificial object — for example, an interstellar spacecraft?
Since then, Prof. Loeb has explained and built on this hypothesis in a number of studies, articles, essays, and more recently a book titled Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth. It is a New York Times Bestseller, Wall Street Journal Bestseller, Publishers Weekly Bestseller, Publishers Marketplace 2020 Buzz Book and named the Amazon Best Book of the Year.
We are so pleased here at Authorlink, to chat with Prof. Loeb today about his book, his theories, and the remarkable Galileo Project.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Prof. Avi Loeb is the founding director of Harvard University’s — Black Hole Initiative, director of the Institute for Theory and Computation at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and the former chair of the astronomy department at Harvard University (2011–2020).
He also chairs the advisory committee for the $100 million research and engineering program, Breakthrough Starshot Initiative, which aims to demonstrate a proof of concept for a new technology enabling space flight at 20% the speed of light for a flyby mission to Alpha Centauri.
He has also been named to Time magazine’s list of Top 25 most influential people in space.