Harvard professor Avi Loeb believes that proof of extraterrestrial life reached Earth in 2017. Loeb describes his evidence of alien contact in his upcoming new book, Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth. Loeb's case relies mostly on his claim that an unusual asteroid that passed close to Earth in 2017 was a piece of alien trash.
The asteroid Loeb refers to made headlines at the time, with scientists noting that it was unusual in shape, appearance and trajectory. With a few years to consider the evidence now, Loeb is making the case that it was a piece of abandoned technology. Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has now revealed the first teaser for Loeb's book, which will be released at the end of this month. It reads: "There was only one conceivable explanation: the object was a piece of advanced technology created by a distant alien civilization."
At the time the object at the center of Loeb's book passed Earth, it was described as "cigar-shaped" — rare in space, where the forces of gravity and inertia almost always force objects into a somewhat round shape. It was also noted that the object "left no trail of gas or debris in its wake," unlike many other asteroids. Finally, the object was moving fast, and followed "a strange orbit," which is particularly notable now that scientists are trying to catalogue all the space objects that routine approach Earth.
Loeb's book promises more details on the mysterious object, and more speculation as well. According to his publisher, "Loeb takes readers inside the thrilling story of the first interstellar visitor to be spotted in our solar system. He outlines his controversial theory and its profound implications: for science, for religion, and for the future of our species and our planet."
While Loeb is far from the first person to write a book speculating about life beyond Earth, he is unusually well-established in the field for such a project. Loeb is the chair of Harvard's Department of Astronomy, the founding director of the school's Black Hole Initiative, and director of its Institute for Theory and Computation. Along with his other accolades and qualifications, he is the author of four books and hundreds of academic papers, making him a prominent voice to make such bold speculations.
Loeb's book is titled Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth. It will be available in print, digital and audiobook formats on Jan. 26, 2021.