Can he pull it off?
Harvard professor Avi Loeb has long been outspoken about taking the search for extraterrestrial life more seriously. In an eyebrow-raising quest, he's often even exhorted his colleagues to take UFO research more seriously.
Now, Loeb says he hopes to collect a "high resolution image" of a UFO within the next couple years, according to a new interview with the Guardian.
"I really want the next generation to be free to discuss it, and for it to become part of the mainstream," Loeb told the paper. "My hope is that by getting a high resolution image of something unusual, or finding evidence for it, which is quite possible in the coming year or two, we will change it."
Last year, Futurism talked to Loeb about his book “Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth,” which purported that an interstellar object that drifted through our solar system in 2017 may have been an alien probe rather than a boring space rock. At the time, Loeb said many of his colleagues held UFO research at arm's length and generally dismissed findings as natural events or the stuff of conspiracy theory.
"The scientific community can address a topic even if other people address it in a way that is not scientific and doesn’t make much sense," he said.
Loeb heads the Galileo Project, in which a team of more than 100 scientists are establishing a network of sophisticated telescopes to scan the skies for extraterrestrials. According to the Guardian, Loeb's first telescope will begin operation from the roof of the Harvard college observatory this summer, equipped with infrared cameras rolling 24/7, a radio sensor, an audio sensor and a magnetometer to detect non-visual objects.
"We’re taking a road not taken so there may be low hanging fruit, that nobody else picked because it was not taken," Loeb told the Guardian.
Loeb says capturing strong UFO evidence, including the high-res image he hopes to snap within the next two years, will attract younger scientists scared away by the older, more cynical crowd. If he manages to pull it off — a major if, to be clear — we may finally have to take UFO research more seriously.
More on uncertain objects: Oklahomans Saw a UFO, But It Turned Out to Be SpaceX