How to cut to the chase regarding reported Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) – now linked, for better or worse, to Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs)?
That’s at the underbelly of a recent paper authored by Harvard University’s Avi Loeb, conducted in partnership with Loeb’s Galileo Project and the newly established Department of Defense, All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office.
“We derive physical constraints on interpretations of ‘highly maneuverable’ Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) based on standard physics and known forms of matter and radiation,” notes the paper, published in “Draft Under Review” status on a Harvard website.
Interpretations of data
Claims of objects exceeding the transonic to supersonic range should be evaluated against the known physics of ionization, radar reflectivity, temperature, sonic booms, and fireballs, according to Loeb.
“All of which can more effectively and accurately bound the velocity, and hence drive the range calculation. This will, in turn, when matched with the specifics of the sensor, allow for better estimates of the size, shape, and mass of the object in question,” the paper concludes.
The draft research paper, dated March 7, 2023, implies a “useful limit on observations of UAP which bound the hypothetical explanations and can support limitations on interpretations of data.”
What is distinctive is that the paper is authored by astrophysicist Loeb and Sean Kirkpatrick, Director of the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office.
Comments and criticisms
The Loeb/Kirkpatrick paper “Physical Constraints on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” has spurred a variety of comments and criticisms.
Responding to the jabs, Loeb told Inside Outer Space:
“I am not trying to be popular, just speak the truth about reality which so far follows known physics to exquisite precision.”
Says Mick West, a noted debunker, skeptic, writer, UFO investigator, and former video game programmer: “Loeb and Kirkpatrick risk alienating the broader UFO community by excluding the possibility that a UFO might employ principles of physics that are, as yet, unknown to humans.”
“Insisting that visiting spacecraft must be understandable effectively debunks several famous UFO sightings reported to involve very high speed, and in particular, the Nimitz encounters,” West told Inside Outer Space. “It would also seem to exclude high-speed “transmedium” craft that supposedly transition from air to water travel without slowing down.”
West said that while Loeb and Kirkpatrick are likely correct, their paper has not been well received in certain saucer circles.
Robert Powell, executive board member of the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies (SCU), has read the yet-to-be-peer-reviewed draft of the paper, noting that the authors delve into those interstellar interlopers: meteor IM2 and that cosmic oddball named ‘Oumuamua.
The paper states a possible hypothesis: “Nevertheless, the coincidences between some orbital parameters of ‘Oumuamua and IM2 inspires us to consider the possibility that an artificial interstellar object could potentially be a parent craft that releases many small probes during its close passage to Earth, an operational construct not too dissimilar from NASA missions.”
Powell said that in his personal view, and not necessarily that of SCU’s, there’s nothing wrong with a hypothesis as it is simply a possible explanation for something that is observed.
“Nonetheless, this is a hypothesis that surely stretches the imagination. A scientist may consider such a hypothesis and quickly drop it when the information that becomes available changes. But the media and the public have difficulty with that concept and what begins as a hypothesis is soon expressed as a fact or a likely fact.”
Important turning point
Powell said such a statement in the draft of an academic paper can result in media articles such as this recently published eye-catcher in Tell Me Best:
“Government Officials Say An Alien Mothership Is Close To Earth”
“The study of UAP is at an important turning point,” Powell adds. “The stigma related to the subject has been reduced. More and more scientists are becoming involved in investigating the subject. But in investigating UAP, unnecessary and provocative hypotheses should be avoided whenever possible,” he told Inside Outer Space.
To view the draft paper – “Physical Constraints on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” – go to: