Pretty sure this has been posted today already, but NYT article on Avi Loeb is the big coverage we’ve been waiting for

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Here’s the article, fuck your tl;dr

A snippet fom the article:

In 2015, Yuri Milner, a billionaire Silicon Valley investor and philanthropist, showed up at Harvard hoping Loeb could figure out how to send a probe to another star during his lifetime. Loeb was game to try. A year later he was standing on top of One World Trade Center alongside Milner and Stephen Hawking announcing Breakthrough Starshot, a plan to attach tiny probes to micrometer-size sheets of reflective material — light sails — and blast them with ground-based lasers, propelling them to Alpha Centauri in a couple of decades. Breakthrough Starshot, which is still in an early research phase, was what got Loeb thinking seriously about the mechanics of interstellar travel.

Right around the same time that Oumuamua appeared in the sky, in a cosmic coincidence, the U.S. government started talking openly about U.A.P.s. It began on Dec. 16, 2017, with a story in The New York Times that revealed the existence of a shadowy military U.A.P. research program called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. In an accompanying article, two Navy pilots described a mystifying 2004 encounter with a flying object off the coast of San Diego: an oval-shaped craft that appeared to hover 50 feet above the frothing ocean surface before bolting out of sight. More reported sightings of unidentified phenomena soon went public. In a 2019 Times article, Lt. Ryan Graves, a Navy pilot, described repeated encounters with unexplained aircraft off the East Coast of the United States. “These things would be out there all day,” he said. Marco Rubio added language to the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2021 asking the Director of National Intelligence to submit a report to Congress on the subject.

The Princeton astrophysicist Edwin Turner, a close friend of Loeb’s, says that during the first few years of this efflorescence of U.A.P. interest, they both watched with skeptical curiosity. “Our conversation about U.A.P. was very much along the lines of, Who knows, it’s not obvious,” he said. “It didn’t seem plausible that there were extraterrestrials visiting the earth.” What made Turner think U.A.P.s were worth investigating, he said, was the report that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence delivered to Congress in June 2021. The nine-page document described the “threat posed by unidentified aerial phenomena,” which included a “handful” of U.A.P. that “appeared to remain stationary in winds aloft, move against the wind, maneuver abruptly, or move at considerable speed, without discernible means of propulsion.” Loeb came across an interview in which Bill Nelson, the NASA administrator and former U.S. senator from Florida, said that he saw classified material while serving in Congress that made the hair on the back of his neck stand up. “Now, I don’t know how frequently the hair stands up on the back of Bill Nelson’s neck,” Loeb told me. “But to me it was intriguing.”

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