On this week’s episode of Lever Time, David Sirota and journalist Laura Krantz are joined by Harvard astrophysicist Avi Loeb to discuss his research into extraterrestrial life.

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A transcript of this episode is available here.

In 2017, a Maui telescope discovered an interstellar object that astronomers named Oumuamua (Hawaiian for “scout” or “messenger”) that had an elongated shape and an unusual acceleration not explained by gravity alone. 

That’s when Harvard astrophysicist Avi Loeb suggested a controversial hypothesis: The object might be an extraterrestrial “light sail” — a thin metallic sheet that could harness sunlight for propulsion. Loeb continued to advocate for scientists to investigate astronomical anomalies, and in 2021, he co-founded the Galileo Project, which seeks to apply scientific rigor to eyewitness testimonies and other evidence related to potential alien technology on Earth.

Loeb's outspoken views have made him a prominent and controversial figure. Some people champion his approach, while others accuse him of distracting from legitimate astronomical discoveries and misleading the public. 

In today’s interview, David and Laura speak with Avi about his scientific approach. They also discuss the recent alien hearings in Mexico’s Congress, how NASA’s own technology for space monitoring and exploration hasn’t been modernized, and how the stigma attached to extraterrestrial study hampers meaningful progress.


BONUS PREMIUM POD: On next Monday’s bonus episode of Lever Time Premium, exclusively for The Lever’s supporting subscribers, we’ll be sharing our interview with attorney Jeffrey Simon, who is part of the legal team suing 17 fossil fuel companies for their contribution to a 2021 heatwave that killed 69 people in Oregon’s Multnomah County.

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