The project is named after Galileo Galilei, an Italian Renaissance scientist who used a telescope he developed to observe astronomical objects such as Jupiter's moons, Earth's moon craters and Saturn's rings. So far, the program has received funding of $ 1.75 million, but its head professor Avi Loeb hopes for more.
An international multidisciplinary team of scientists from various universities, led by renowned Harvard theoretical physicist of Israeli-American origin Avi Loeb, working in the field of astrophysics and cosmology, announced the launch of a new project "Galileo" - apparently named after "the father of observational astronomy" Galileo Galileo. As described in an article for Scientific American, the goal of the initiative is to search for evidence of the existence of technologies created by extraterrestrial civilizations.
Researchers plan to develop new algorithms using data from astronomical surveys and observations to detect potential alien satellites, mysterious artifacts and "unidentified aerial phenomena" (a term repeatedly mentioned by the US military in their reports). The project will use new and existing telescopes, including the eight-meter apparatus of the Vera Rubin Observatory in Chile.
Loeb is the author of Aliens: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth, which came out in January. In it, the professor outlined the arguments in favor of the fact that the first interstellar object 1I / Oumuamua, discovered in the fall of 2017, was not just another asteroid or comet, but part of extraterrestrial technology, such as a satellite communication antenna or an alien spacecraft with a light solar sail. (By the way, many scientists disagree with this position).
At Galileo, the researcher has received a donation of $ 1.75 million so far. If funding allows (and they want to increase it several times), the plans are to place dozens of telescopes around the world to observe the "unidentified air phenomena" and objects approaching our planet from a close distance, as well as to obtain high-quality images.
Loeb announced his project a month after the Pentagon published a long-awaited report on "unidentified air phenomena" and numerous encounters with them over the past 17 years. However, the US Department of Defense has not provided any conclusions - except that the nature of such objects is unclear. “What we see in the sky should not be interpreted by politicians or the military, since they are not scientists. The scientific community should figure it out,”says Loeb.
Researchers searching for extraterrestrial civilizations greeted the news of Galileo with enthusiasm. Although, according to some, the project adds little to planned or developed initiatives like the Comet Interceptor from the European Space Agency, which is due to launch in 2028. The goal is to photograph an as yet undetected comet or other object as it first approaches Earth's orbit.