Leading Israeli astronomer puts Pentagon UAP report in context

The Pentagon report regarding Unidentified Aerial Phenomena has finally been released to Congress – and it has brought with it a slew of questions and answers.

 The Pentagon (Aerial view)  (photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/ TOUCH OF LIGHT)
The Pentagon (Aerial view)
The long-awaited Pentagon report regarding unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP, preferred by some to refer to unidentified flying objects, or UFOs) has finally been released to Congress, and it has brought with it a slew of questions and answers.
The report, spanning nine pages, discusses 144 UAP sightings. Of note is that all of them were from reliable military sources rather than ordinary eyewitnesses.
Five categories were given as possible explanations for each UAP sighting: airborne clutter, natural atmospheric phenomena, industry developmental programs, foreign adversary systems and a catchall “other” category.
But of all of the 144 UAP sightings, only one of them was determined to fall into one of the first four categories. The rest defy all conventional explanations.
But does that mean they could be signs of alien life?
It may seem hard to believe, but according to Israeli-American astronomer Prof. Avi Loeb, the possibility cannot be discounted.
Loeb is a graduate of the elite IDF Talpiot program and received his PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After leading an international project backed by the US Strategic Defense Initiative, he spent several years at Princeton before joining Harvard. He became the longest-sitting chairperson of Harvard’s Astronomy Department, having only stepped down in 2020.
Loeb is also the scientific theory director of the Breakthrough Initiatives and is one of the leading voices in the scientific community for the possible existence of alien life.
Among the most notable examples of his work is his proposal that ‘Oumouma, an interstellar object that was detected in 2017, could have been an artificial construct from an alien civilization, as he explains in his recent book, Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth.
The mainstream scientific community proposed many possible explanations for the interstellar object, which was unlike anything anyone had ever seen before. But the proposed explanations (massive icebergs made of hydrogen or nitrogen, or a massive cluster of dust particles) are all equally unprecedented.
What would be needed to identify ‘Oumouma would be a picture, Loeb told The Jerusalem Post.
“They say a picture is a thousand words,” he said. “But I say it’s worth 66,000 words – approximately the number of words in my book, because if we had a picture, I wouldn’t have needed to write a book.”
This is what is especially important with the Pentagon UAP report, Loeb said. A large number of incidents in the report were verified to have happened, rather than being a simple technological malfunction, because they had been detected with several different instruments. This raises several questions; most importantly, whether it means there is sufficiently advanced terrestrial technology at play.
“This was the main security concern keeping these incidents a secret until now: that they were superior technology made by foreign nations like China or Russia,” he said. “It would be a major intelligence failure if that were true, and I find it hard to believe that would be the case.”
THE OTHER possible explanations are natural phenomena or extraterrestrial technology. Regardless, Loeb stressed that all of this cannot be stated definitively without more evidence.
But this won’t be possible as long as these investigations remain within the purview of the intelligence community.
“The instruments the intelligence community uses are meant for different purposes,” he said. “I think the next step would be to take this into the scientific realm rather than the intelligence realm.”
Loeb proposes an open-data scientific project where specialized cameras and telescopes monitor the skies, and the data from them is analyzed by state-of-the-art computers.
“Making a COVID vaccine showed the capability of the scientific endeavor in meeting the needs of humanity,” he said. “Here, too, we have an example of something people want to know, and scientists have a duty to help answer it.”
The Pentagon report only covers UAP sightings by the US. What, then, could this mean for Israel? Could the Defense Ministry ever disclose a similar report?
According to Loeb, this is unlikely.
“Israel is in an unusual environment, and there are a lot of unusual things happening at once,” he said. “If you can filter out the noise, there may be some things that are very unusual. But Israel’s defense establishment may just keep it under wraps if it doesn’t understand it.”
This is due to Israel’s security situation when compared to the US, Loeb said.
“The US is not surrounded by hostile nations, so they have greater focus on a variety of different sightings, while Israel does not,” he told the Post. “It would be interesting to hear reports from around the world.”