For nearly a decade, hundreds of tiny magnetic fields thrown off by something outside our planet have been lying at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
Now, these objects have been discovered by a scientific expedition, and they are undeservedly stirring the media, according to some scientists.
- In 2014, a fireball shot across the sky over Papua New Guinea, spewing debris wherever it went;
- A nearby US government sensor indicated that the object’s speed exceeded 177,000 km/h;
- CNEOS (NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies) detected its fall;
- The meteorite fell into the ocean about 85 kilometers from the shore.
Harvard astrophysicist Avi Loeb is on the hunt. Based on its top speed and trajectory as it entered Earth’s atmosphere, Loeb believes the object, called Interstellar Meteor 1 (IM1), is a remnant from another solar system.
It is further believed that the meteorite could harbor strange “technological signatures” (traces of technology created by non-human entities).
Loeb and his extraterrestrial theories
This is not the first time that Loeb has assumed that our solar system has already been visited by aliens.
Five years ago, he and fellow Harvard University researcher Shmuel Biale suggested that the strange interstellar object Oumuamua, which passed through our system in late 2017, was a space probe resembling a candle.
The study on the organism has received significant media attention, as well as criticism and praise from the scientific community.
Now, funded by billionaire Charles Hoskinson, Loeb leads an expedition to the Pacific Ocean to recover IM1. So far, the team has recovered more than 50 magnetospheres – small spheres made of steel, magnesium and titanium – that could be pieces of a meteorite.
More recently, Loeb described the globules as “anomalous,” likely due to their low nickel content, which is common in meteors. “This was the most exciting experiment of my scientific career,” the Harvard researcher said in a recent interview.
There are disagreements
However, not everyone agrees with this information. There are scholars who question the origin of spheres. Effectively, they said that these particular globules could not be linked to the 2014 fireball.
“It’s been known for a century that if you take a magnetic shovel and run it across the ocean, you’ll find extraterrestrial spheres,” Peter Brown, a meteorite expert at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, told Live Science.
Brown added that such debris accumulated at the bottom of the ocean around the world over millions of years from meteorites that dropped pieces of molten metal as they passed through the sky.
Taking into account changes in ocean currents and sediment movements, “it would be fundamentally impossible to say this is a particular grain coming from a particular event.”
Brown also co-authored a paper questioning the origin of interstellar IM1. The claim that the meteorite came from outside our solar system is based on its enormous speed as it entered our atmosphere.
However, Brown said, “Especially at higher speeds, US government sensors tend to overestimate speeds.” The lower speed would also explain the object’s unusual brightness profile, Brown said, which doesn’t match what you’d expect from a metallic meteorite moving at more than 160,000 km/h.
But that doesn’t mean the meteorite isn’t from another star system, in fact. To date, there have been no confirmed impacts of interstellar meteorites on Earth, although Brown himself has spent 20 years researching.
About the possibility of it being evidence of extraterrestrial technology, most of the scientific community remains skeptical. “That would be a very impressive result. But I don’t see any evidence to necessarily support you in such an extreme hypothesis.”
with information from Science lives
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