Space News: March 11, 2023: According to a report draft published on Tuesday by the chief of the Pentagon's
unidentified aerial phenomena research division,
it is possible that extraterrestrial motherships and smaller probes are visiting planets in our solar system.
“[A]n 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,” wrote Sean Kirkpatrick, director of
the Pentagon's All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office, in a study report co-authored by Abraham Loeb, chairman of the astronomy department at Harvard University.
Kirkpatrick formerly held the position of chief scientist at the Defense Intelligence Agency's Missile and Space Intelligence Center until being named as the AARO's head in July 2022. According to a Pentagon press release, the AARO was created to look into mysterious "objects of interest" near military sites.
On the other side, Loeb rose to fame in October 2017 by claiming that our solar system had been visited by its first extrasolar visitor. Around that time, an object moving at a pace that led some scientists to hypothesize that it came from outside our solar system was discovered by the PanSTARRS telescope in Hawaii. The object's orbit also suggested that it was subject to factors other than the sun's gravitational pull.
The object was given the name "Oumuamua" by scientists, which is Hawaiian for "scout," and which Kirkpatrick and Loeb use in their study as an illustration of a potential mothership with probe capabilities.
“With proper design, these tiny probes would reach the Earth or other solar system planets for exploration, as the parent craft passes by within a fraction of the Earth-Sun separation — just like ‘Oumuamua’ did,” the authors explained. “Astronomers would not be able to notice the spray of mini-probes because they do not reflect enough sunlight for existing survey telescopes to notice them.”
The study, titled "Physical Limitations on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena," comes after a month of increased focus on unidentified flying objects, a trend that was sparked when a Chinese spy balloon captured the nation's attention by gliding into American airspace. Later, three more mysterious objects were discovered.
“AARO provides the opportunity to integrate and resolve threats and hazards to the U.S., while also offering increased transparency to the American people and reducing the stigma,” the lawmakers’ letter stated. “AARO’s success will depend on robust funding for its activities and cooperation between the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community.”
WNCtimes by Marjorie Farrington