Over the last week we have read a trickle of reports about the possibility that a “mothership” was sending small probes to explore the solar system and Earth with it. The truth is that for now there is no evidence, or even hints, that this is true. What we do have is a number of aerial phenomena for which the authorities are still looking for an explanation and a striking hypothesis.

History of a draft

All the commotion has been preceded by a draft that appeared published in the Harvard University repository. The document, which states that it is a work still under review, speculates that the so-called unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) may be the result of small alien probes.

The authors start from the orbits that two interstellar objects, IM2 and Oumuamua, took during their passage through the solar system. These two asteroids are two of the four interstellar objects that we have detected to date either swarming through our solar system or crashing into our planet.

A thought experiment

“Are there any functional extraterrestrial probes near Earth? We don’t know,” the authors explain in the draft. The draft speculates on the possibility that these objects could have an extraterrestrial origin but be something more like space junk than functional probes.

Even so, they explain that the orbit of these objects “inspires” them to derive their theory about a possible origin of the UAPs. From there they conduct a sort of thought experiment to understand what conditions such spacecraft would have to have.

A hypothetical mission

In their experiment, the authors imagine an object similar to these rocks, coming from another planetary system. It would be an explorer spacecraft that would drop a myriad of small spacecraft (similar to cubesats, which would have to be a maximum of about 10 centimeters to remain undetected).

In the text it is pointed out that the intentions of such a spacecraft would be forcibly exploratory. Since its propulsion would not involve speeds greater than the speed of light, it would have to have been sent long before the appearance of intelligent life on our planet.

“It is irrational to claim that the intent of such a probe, launched in the distant past, had anything to do with the human species,” the authors state in the draft.

A Pentagon director and an old acquaintance

Part of the stir comes from the signatories: Avi Loeb, a Harvard astrophysicist and an old acquaintance because this is not his first extraterrestrial-related controversy; and Sean Kirkpatrick, director of the Defense Department’s All Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO).

The U.S. federal authorities have become serious in recent months about what happens in their skies and hopefully even more so after the controversy surrounding recent events in this area. The AARO was set up just a year ago to manage these investigations.

Its function, according to the Pentagon itself, is to “synchronize efforts across the Department of Defense, and other U.S. federal departments and agencies, to detect, identify and attribute objects of interest on or near military installations, and other areas of interest; and, if necessary, mitigate any threat to the security of national security operations.”

This includes UAPs. It is perfectly normal, given this renewed attention, that both the detection of strange phenomena and the emergence of hypotheses that attempt to explain them proliferate. It is therefore more important than ever to distinguish between facts and theories, between the confirmed and the speculative.

Categorized in:

Tagged in: