A group of researchers, led by Beatriz Villarroel of the Nordic Institute of Theoretical Physics and Stockholm University, has launched a citizen science project to search for evidence of non-terrestrial objects surveilling Earth, reports thedebrief.org.
The project, called Vanishing & Appearing Sources during a Century of Observations (VASCO), aims to scan old photographic plates from sky surveys that predate the launch of manmade satellites in the late 1950s. The idea is to look for objects that appear and disappear over time, which could indicate artificial origin.
The researchers hope to find anomalous objects and events that could be related to extraterrestrial intelligence. They also invite the public to join their effort by examining the images online and reporting any unusual findings.
The project is part of a larger initiative called the Galileo Project, which seeks to scientifically investigate the nature and origin of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP).
One of the challenges of searching for non-terrestrial objects in Earth’s orbit is the amount of debris that clutters the space around our planet today. By using data from before the Space Race, the researchers hope to avoid this problem and increase their chances of finding something out of the ordinary.
However, they also acknowledge that there are many possible natural explanations for transient objects in the sky, such as meteors, comets, asteroids, variable stars, and glitches in the data.
The VASCO project is inspired by a historical incident that occurred in 1954, when the US Air Force detected two mysterious objects in orbit between 400 and 600 miles from Earth.
After weeks of investigation, it was determined by astronomer Lincoln La Paz that they were only meteors. However, this event sparked public interest and fear about the possibility of artificial satellites, especially after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 in 1957.
“We expect the project to yield many interesting findings over time,” reads a statement on the website of the VASCO Network, “maybe even some anomalous objects and events — could aliens be responsible for any of those?”
The researchers hope that their project will shed new light on the question of whether we are alone in the universe, or whether there are other civilizations that have visited or are watching us. They also hope to inspire curiosity and scientific literacy among the public, and to contribute to the advancement of astronomy and astrobiology.