Harvard Prof Said Ocean Balls Were Alien Tech, May Just Be Industrial Waste

Physicist Avi Loeb, right, is on stage with physicist Stephen Hawking and others, who are unrelated to this article, in New York in 2016.
Lucas Jackson/Reuters

  • A Harvard professor discovered mysterious metal-rich spherules at the bottom of the ocean. 
  • Because of their unique composition, he controversially claimed they were alien in nature. 
  • Many scientists refuted this claim, and one now thinks they may just be industrial waste.

A Harvard professor’s claims that metallic balls discovered under the ocean may have been made by aliens have been called into question yet again.

In July, Avi Loeb, the director of a computational astrophysics center at Harvard, claimed spherules dredged from the Pacific Ocean were left behind by a meteorite that exploded near Earth in 2014.

Their bizarre chemical makeup, he said, suggested they could be a form of alien technology.

The statement drew criticism from parts of the scientific community, who said Loeb was being too bold and too hasty in his assertions.

Now an analysis may offer a more down-to-earth explanation for the mysterious spherules: they may simply be an offshoot of coal burning.

Spheres from industrial waste

University of Chicago research fellow Patricio Gallardo analyzed the chemical composition of coal ash, a waste product left behind by the combustion of coal in power plants and steam engines.

As a reference, Gallardo used a publicly available coal chemical database called COALQUAL.

His analysis, he said, found that iron, nickel, beryllium, lanthanum, and uranium concentrations reported by Loeb and colleagues in the metal spherules were “consistent with expectations from coal ash from a coal chemical composition database.”

“The meteoritic origin is disfavored,” Gallardo said in his post.

Gallardo’s analysis was published in a journal that is not peer-reviewed.

“Well, they did indeed discover evidence of a technological civilization…right here on Earth,” astrophysicist Caleb Sharf of NASA’s Ames Center said in a post on X on Nov 2.

In a post on Medium published Thursday, Loeb stated the claim about the coal ash was: “Based on unrefereed comments that superficially examined a few elements out of the dozens we analyzed.”

“To be scientifically credible, any such claim must reproduce the measured abundances of all elements and, in particular, demonstrate the loss of volatile elements — as derived in our paper.”

Loeb provided several rebuttals to the analysis. He cited team member, Dr Jim Lem, head of the Department of Mining Engineering at the University of Technology in Papua New Guinea saying: “The region where the expedition was carried, should have no coal mineralization.” He also said that the spherules have more iron than coal ash.

Where did the mysterious metal spherules come from?

Loeb’s decision to seek out these spherules came from a high-stakes gamble.

According to The New York Times, the scientist’s team had uncovered partially classified governmental records suggesting an object had exploded near Earth in 2014.

Their analysis, as well as a letter from US Space Command, suggested the fireball could have come from an object that had traveled from interstellar space, per the…

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