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It usually starts with a bright light. Often, one that is white and amorphous. Sometimes it’s warmer and it breathes, like a shape-shifting fire. I’ve read stories where it’s just a glowing wall of energy that envelops you. Lost time is the biggest tell-tale sign. One minute, you’re looking into this light, and the next you’re waking up, hours later.

Alien encounters are usually written off as far-fetched and unproven. Maybe they are. But I think it’s myopic to call them impossible.

Avi Loeb, chair of Harvard’s Department of Astrophysics and head of the Black Hole Initiative, has made headlines recently for his statements about ‘Oumuamua, an oblong interstellar object that he says may have come from intelligent lifeforms. I sit down with him to discuss the stigma around studying extraterrestrial life and why researchers should consider the possibility that ‘Oumuamua is something artificial.

“We know that a quarter of all the stars have planets like the earth, with surface conditions like the earth,” Loeb says. “I don’t see earth as special. I think anyone who thinks otherwise is showing arrogance.”

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Category: Science