The paper circulated among science-focused news outlets after Loeb posted it online. Politico has verified the newspaper’s authenticity.
More than half of the five-page paper is devoted to discussing the possibility that unexplained objects being studied by the Department of Defense could be the “tentacles” in the mothership scenario, including most of the page-long introduction. One section is titled: “Extraterrestrial Possibility” and another is “Payment Methods”.
Experts said Kirkpatrick’s participation in the academic paper shows that the Pentagon is open to scientific debate about the origins of UFOs, which is an important signal that needs to be sent to the academic world. But they add that his decision to attach his name to a theory considered largely unsubstantiated in most academic circles also raises questions about AARO’s credibility.
The paper explains that interstellar objects such as Oumuamua in the shape of a cigar that scientists spotted flying across the galaxy in 2017 “is likely to be the mothership firing many small probes during its near-Earth pass.”
The paper goes on to compare the tentacles to “dandelion seeds” that can be separated from the parent craft by the sun’s gravitational pull. It studies the physics of how the small craft moves through Earth’s atmosphere to reach the surface, where it can be spotted by humans.
The paper notes that the “tentacles” can use starlight to “charge their batteries” and Earth’s water as fuel. He also speculates on the motivation for aliens to send exploratory probes to Earth.
“What is the overarching goal of the journey? By analogy with actual dandelion seeds, sounders can spread the blueprint of their messengers,” the authors wrote. “As with biological seeds, the raw materials found on the surface of the planet can also be used as nutrients for self-reproduction or simply scientific discovery.”
The authors acknowledge that they do not know for sure that there are any extraterrestrial ships operating near Earth. But Project Galileo, Loeb’s privately funded academic effort to search for UFOs, intends to investigate this possibility, they wrote.
The AARO team was created at the Pentagon last year to replace a task force within the Office of Naval Intelligence that previously looked into UFOs. AARO was created by Congress to serve as a focal point for a government-wide investigation into hundreds of reports of “unidentified atmospheric phenomena,” including several that appear to be performing highly advanced maneuvers.
Kirkpatrick is a respected science and intelligence professional with more than two decades of experience studying physics and working in defense intelligence. He has held senior positions at the Department of Defense, the US Space Command, the National Security Council, and across the intelligence agencies, winning numerous awards for his work. Prior to his current position, his most recent assignment was as Chief Scientist at the DIA’s Missile and Space Intelligence Center.
But experts said his association with the newspaper could undermine the bureau’s credibility.
“It’s a fine line because there’s an ‘openness to speculative ideas’ like this, but that can be translated into actual support for that possibility, and I think that’s where there needs to be more clarity,” said Alejandro Rojas, a board member of the Science Alliance. of UAP Studies, a research center that explores unidentified atmospheric phenomena, and head of content and research at Enigma Labs, a startup using machine learning to investigate UFO data.
“It seems so [DoD is] support for some really wild ideas that have hitherto been thought to be unfounded.”
The Department of Defense did not respond to repeated requests for comment on the draft paper.
The paper came about after Kirkpatrick called Loeb last fall, saying he would be in the Boston area and wanted to meet up, Loeb said in an interview. During their meeting, Kirkpatrick urged the professor to write a paper on the phenomenon, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that the two collaborated.
Loeb, a Harvard professor who served as chair of the university’s astronomy department for nearly a decade, made headlines in recent years for suggesting that Oumuamua was in fact Alien spacecraft. Loeb was chair of the department until 2020, and currently directs a number of initiatives, including Project Galileo, and serves on a variety of boards and councils including the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in the White House.
Loeb admitted that there is no evidence to support the idea that the UFO is an alien probe. He said that Project Galileo does not receive funding from the Department of Defense, and does not have access to classified information.
But the fact that Kirkpatrick came to him “out of the blue,” he said, indicated that “there’s something they don’t understand, and scientists can help.”
“It’s perfectly legitimate when you’re faced with the unknown to think about what your imagination allows you to think about, and then have the data that governs it or governs it,” said Loeb.
The paper focuses on the things the Department of Defense is considering. It is titled “Physical Limitations on Unknown Atmospheric Phenomena” and Kirkpatrick’s association with the Pentagon is noted under the title. The paper’s abstract posits that objects appear to defy the laws of physics: At the speeds at which they’re moving, scientists would expect to see a “fireball.” The fact that there is no fireball or other typical “signatures” indicates “inaccurate measurements of distance (and thus derived velocity).”
The purpose of the paper, Rojas said, is to get investigators to examine things “exhaustively before concluding that the laws of physics are broken.” It shows that Kirkpatrick “is open to considering the possibility of outer space, but needs stronger arguments if they are to claim that the laws of physics have been broken.”
David Jewett, a professor of astronomy at UCLA, said some of the claims in the paper, which have not been peer-reviewed, are “extremely dubious.”
He called the fact that Kirkpatrick is a co-author on the paper “strange”.
“The Air Force is very good at bombing things, but as far as their research on UFOs goes, I think I’ll trust them as far as I can throw them,” Jewett said, noting that in 1948, an Air Force pilot while chasing a UFO crashed it It turned out to be Venus.
“It is not clear whether air force and military capabilities are best suited to studying extraterrestrials.”
However, others have argued that the Department of Defense should explore all possibilities, no matter how far-fetched they may seem.
In a statement, the senator said. Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.) noted that the co-authors are highly respected in their fields: Kirkpatrick is an expert in “scientific and technical intelligence” while Loeb has authored hundreds of papers on astrophysics and cosmology. She said she was “confident in the scientific accuracy of their work”.
Gillibrand, who has urged the Department of Defense to study the UFO issue more seriously, warned that stigmatizing the issue could limit the US government’s understanding of the issue.
“The stigma against discussing this topic can prevent the military from better understanding potential threats to our airspace or the risks of collection from our adversaries,” Gillibrand said. “Removing stigma and standardizing reporting is essential to characterizing what is in our airspace.”
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