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HomeNewsThe Mysterious Metal Spheres Scientists Just "Pulled Up"

The Mysterious Metal Spheres Scientists Just “Pulled Up”

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There was a controversy in the science world. This ruckus happened when Professor Avi Loeb, a Harvard physicist, announced that he discovered the first-ever extrasolar objects on Earth. 

An image of  Professor Avi Loeb
Source: Aloeb/Wikimedia Commons

According to Professor Loeb, tiny, spherical “spherules” found in the Pacific Ocean were fragments of an “interstellar” meteor. The expert even examined the spherules, claiming they may be pieces of an extraterrestrial spaceship because of their elemental makeup. No one has ever seen something like that before.

How it All Started

The whole story began when a meteor, or a shooting star, collided with Earth’s atmosphere about ten years ago. NASA reported that on January 8, 2014, the meteor known as IM1 burst into the sky close to Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. 

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An image of the location of CNEOS 2014-01-08 for the first Galileo Project ocean deep-water expedition
Source: Wikimedia Commons

It happened at a speed of over 100,000 miles per hour. At the time, scientists believed it may have left interstellar debris in the South Pacific Ocean. 

The First Interstellar Object

US Space Command verified in an official memo last year that it is the first interstellar object, with 99.999 percent confidence based on velocity measurements by US government satellites. 

An image of the solar system
Source: latestinspace/X

The email referred to a 2019 research conducted by Professor Loeb and others, which accepted the meteor’s existence and made the case that it originated outside of our solar system.

The Search for the Debris

Professor Loeb was determined to locate the debris because it could provide more information about the origin. Hence, in June 2023, he assembled a team and enlisted the assistance of the expedition’s business, EYOS, to search for the meteor in the Pacific. 

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An image of Professor Leob and team members
Source: Event Horizon/YouTube

Cryptocurrency entrepreneur Charles Hoskinson financed the $1.5 million trip. It included 26 sweeps over the sea bottom using a deep-sea magnetic sled following the fireball’s final known track.

The Discovery

To their amazement, Professor Loeb and the team discovered over 700 microscopic metallic spheres throughout the mission; 57 have been examined so far, and their compositions do not correspond to any known alloys, either natural or artificial. 

An image of the debris
Source: shakirBerawala/X

Since Professor Loeb’s research came in a pre-print publication, it has not yet undergone peer review. However, scientists are refusing to discuss Professor Loeb’s work. Thus, it may never undergo peer review.

Scientist’s Varying Opinions

Nevertheless, some scientists ridiculed the notion. One even stated that there wasn’t enough “conclusive evidence.” A recent study by Patricio A. Gallardo, a physicist at the University of Chicago, has refuted the notion even further. 

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An image of scientists
Source: Mikhail Nilov/Pexels

Dr Gallardo’s study pointed out that the particles are only coal ash left over from industrial processes. The pieces, designated CNEOS 2014-01-08, indicate contamination from terrestrial sources.

Dr. Gallardo Claims

According to Dr. Gallardo “the meteoritic origin is disfavored.” It is not possible to rule out the null hypothesis of terrestrial contamination by making many comparisons to other pollutants. 

An image of spherules
Source: NASA/Wikimedia Commons

Gallardo acknowledges that the spherules, retrieved from the ocean in June 2023, were rich in beryllium, lanthanum, and uranium. There was a  500-fold increase in uranium and a 300-fold increase in lanthanum compared to terrestrial rocks.

Dr Gallardo on Beryllium 

Beryllium is the second-lightest solid chemical element on the periodic table. You get beryllium through a violent process called spallation. The process of spallation uses high-energy cosmic rays. 

An image of beryllium
Source: Hi-Res Images of Chemical Elements/Wikimedia Commons

Nevertheless, according to Dr. Gallardo, there is a correlation between the beryllium, lanthanum, uranium, —together with nickel—and nickel that comes after burning coal to ash.

Further Claims from Dr. Gallardo

Dr. Gallardo also referenced a 1976 navy mission that discovered a significant amount of magnetic spherules from artificial sources in saltwater in the Gulf of Mexico. 

An image of sunset over the Gulf of Mexico
Source: iampatricialong/X

Coal fly ash, a waste product from burning coal in power plants and steam engines, was consistent with the results of chemical composition tests. According to Professor Chris Lintott, an astrophysicist at the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford, Professor Loeb’s allegations are “probably nonsense” since there isn’t any solid proof.

Olivier Hainaut Opinions about Professor Loeb 

A European Southern Observatory astronomer, Olivier Hainaut, described Professor Loeb as an ‘interesting guy.’ Hainaut told MailOnline that Professor Loeb is incredibly quick at putting his brilliant ideas into practice. 

An image of the European Southern Observatory logo
Source: ESO/X 

Hainaut said that in several hurried and superficial articles, Professor Loeb is quite careless. Hainaut further noted that Professor Leob overlooked certain points that should be apparent to someone in that subject.

Steven Tingay’s Opinion

According to Curtin University astronomer Steven Tingay, scientists often go through a peer review procedure before making any significant assertions. 

An image of Steven Tingay
Source: AARNET Video/Wikimedia Commons

Since all the data must ultimately be provided, tested, and independently examined, and since the scientific community will eventually reach a consensus on the claims, he does not believe Avi’s method is intrinsically wrong. He believes that it is the nature of science.

Interstellar Objects

Astronomers are intrigued by interstellar objects because they can provide information about distant solar systems that we cannot access. There are just three known examples of such objects. These objects include Comet Borisov, detected in August 2019; ʻOumuamua, discovered in October 2017; and IM1, identified in 2014. 

An image of an artist's impression of ʻOumuamua
Source: ESO/M. Kornmesser/Wikimedia Commons

When he proposed that aliens could have deliberately created ‘Oumuamua, Professor Loeb gained a reputation for his daring views.

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