A HIGHLY controversial space expert is on the verge of launching a sky-scanning tool that could help humanity discover alien life.
Speaking to the Guardian over the weekend, Avi Loeb, professor of astronomy at Harvard University, said he hopes to use the technology to snap a “high-resolution image” of a UFO within the next couple of years.
The 59-year-old heads up the Galileo Project, which aims to establish a network of advanced telescopes that will examine the skies for signs of alien life.
Backed by more than 100 scientists, the privately-funded scheme will install its first telescope on the roof of the Harvard college observatory this summer.
“We’re taking a road not taken so there may be low hanging fruit, that nobody else picked because it was not taken,” Loeb said.
Prof. Loeb has spent decades studying astronomy and more recently has trained his sights on the possibility that life exists beyond Earth.
Galileo's telescopes will be equipped with infrared cameras rolling 24/7, a radio sensor, an audio sensor and a magnetometer to detect invisible objects.
The astrophysicist has faced criticism from others in his field over his extraterrestrial theories, and he hopes the project will open up the conversation among academics.
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"I really want the next generation to be free to discuss it, and for it to become part of the mainstream," Loeb said.
"My hope is that by getting a high-resolution image of something unusual, or finding evidence for it, which is quite possible in the coming year or two, we will change it."
It follows recently-released footage of tic-tac-shaped UFOs harassing US military targets, including Navy jets and aircraft carriers.
The clips show three separate incidents involving "unidentified aerial phenomena," one from November 2004 and two from January 2015.
Prominent figures including former US President Barack Obama have said that the sightings, which were confirmed by the military, must be taken seriously.
It remains unclear precisely what's behind the blurry anomalies.
Analysts have suggested they could be advanced stealth aircraft or drones built by the likes of Russia or China, while some have claimed that the pixelated blobs are evidence that aliens are visiting Earth.
Prof. Loeb said that projects like Galileo could help uncover proof that Little Green Men exist by looking where scientists have not looked before.
“We’re taking a road not taken so there may be low hanging fruit, that nobody else picked because it was not taken,” he said.
The prolific astrophysicist is no stranger to controversy.
He has produced provocative research on black holes, space radiation, the early universe and other topics of his field.
Over the past decade his focus has been trained on a more contentious topic: The possibility that Earth has been visited by extraterrestrials.
Prof. Loeb has repeatedly claimed that Oumuamua – an interstellar object that zipped through the Solar System in 2017was technology sent by aliens.
He doubled down on the heavily contested comments – which earned him headlines across the globe – in a book published last year.
"What would happen if a caveman saw a cellphone?" Loeb wrote. "He’s seen rocks all his life, and he would have thought it was just a shiny rock."
He took fault with astronomers who argued that the object was a comet, saying it was akin to letting "the familiar to define what we might discover."
Many scientists have rubbished his outlandish claims, branding them cavalier and irresponsible.
In other news, a four-tonne chunk of a SpaceX rocket is on a collision course with the Moon, according to online space junk trackers.
Boeing has sunk $450million into a flying taxi startup that hopes to whisk passengers across cities by the end of the decade.
Personalised smart guns, which can be fired only by verified users, may finally become available to U.S. consumers this year.
And, scientists are embarking on a mission to unravel the mystery behind dozens of grisly child mummies buried in an underground tomb in Sicily.
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