April 18, 2024

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Surprise: The “extraterrestrial” tool was more familiar

Surprise: The “extraterrestrial” tool was more familiar

In January 2014, a meteorite fell from space off the coast of Papua New Guinea. That may have been the end of the matter, but several years later, Avi Loeb, a theoretical astrophysicist at Harvard University, relied on seismic data from near the site, searched for the remains of a crash on the ocean floor, and suggested that the remains “may reflect extraterrestrial technology.” “. Origin.”

Dr. Loeb has previously been accused by his peers of wild speculation and sensationalism. Last fall, Benjamin Fernando, a planetary seismologist at Johns Hopkins University, led a team that re-examined nearby seismic signals and concluded that There was no evidence of extraterrestrial existenceor anything close to it.

On Tuesday, Dr. Fernando will present the data in detail at the scientific conference. He recently sat down with The New York Times to preview what his team found. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.


How did it all start?

In 2014, a meteorite entered the atmosphere and caused an “explosion.” Sometimes, these meteors are heard on seismometers. Avi Loeb wrote a paper saying that he found the seismic signal from this meteorite and that he used it to determine exactly where the meteorite debris fell. From here, they undertook an expedition and picked up objects from the bottom of the sea.

In one paper, Dr. Loeb and a co-author wrote that they “confirmed the location of the fireball” in the ocean from “the timing of the strong seismic signal.” But you decided that the seismic information was not coming from a meteorite. What do you think it was coming from?

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a truck.

As in a super fast alien truck?

No, it was a regular truck, like a regular truck driving by a seismograph. Not being seismologists, Loeb's team may have misunderstood the data. In fact, all they did was find a truck.

Where was that truck traveling? In the milky way?

no no no. The truck was traveling on the same island in Papua New Guinea. It is a regular ground truck. I think technically this is in the Milky Way!

How did you conclude that we are not being invaded by aliens?

We looked at two weeks' data around the time of this event. We've seen hundreds of similar signals like the ones Loeb studied. If there are hundreds, they can't all be meteorites. Of those hundreds of signals, most of them occur during daylight hours. What Loeb saw, and what we saw, happens a lot during the day. This is an indication of anthropogenic noise.

Human created noise?

Yes.

Then we looked at the specific sign he was looking at, and it was coming from a main road. As time passed, he moved from a main road towards the hospital, then back to the main road. Therefore, from the analysis of the data, it appears to us that the signal most likely came from a truck veering off the main road, passing the seismometer near the hospital and then driving in the other direction.

There was no meteorite at all.

In the conclusion of your paper, you write that you have a “very high degree of confidence that the alleged meteorite fragments recovered from the sea floor have nothing to do with the fireball” — and thus, that the material recovered from the ocean floor was probably just stuff from Earth, or perhaps part of Thousands of tons of meteorites reach Earth every year. So we shouldn't worry about aliens invading our hospitals?

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You will be reasonably justified no Concern about aliens invading hospitals.

What is the biggest lesson from all of this?

There are two: First, if you want to do a seismic analysis, it's ideal to consult a seismologist first. The other is that they are not aliens.