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Do Aliens Have Hair? Our Initial Sample from the Pacific Ocean Site of the First Interstellar Meteor

Lowering the magnetic sled from the deck of Silver Star to the fireball site of the first interstellar meteor, IM1 (June 15, 2023).
The expedition’s filming crew recorded team instructions by Rob Millsap in preparation for the sled launch towards IM1's fireball path.

Nevertheless, the remote possibility that we might recover IM1’s fragments brought me on deck between 3–5 PM local time on June 15, 2023. As the sled was lowered into the ocean, it felt like we were finally coming back to salvage a lost package on an interstellar journey. I was asked by my wife whether I am excited and replied that it feels like my first sexual experience. In other words, I do not know what to expect from a first contact with IM1.

In the control region visited yesterday, we found microscopic ashes from volcanic activity, with particles smaller than a tenth of a millimeter. The biggest particle was identified by our team geologist, Jeff Wynn, as made of 80% silica froth with entrained magnetite. Jeff identified it as a volcano air-fall product, `Scoria.’

Vials containing samples of particles collected by the magnetic sled in the second control region (BG stands for BACKGROUND). From left: Rob Millsap and Jeff Wynn.

After midnight, we were ready to compare the findings from our first contact with IM1’s site to those from the control region. The sled was lifted up by the winch in a majestic move as I rushed with a small brush to check out whether there are any particles on its magnets.

Pulling the magnetic sled out of IM1’s site after midnight. Avi Loeb in the foreground is taking a photo of this moment of truth.

Most particles appeared to be tiny, consistent with volcanic ashes as found in the control region. The only exception came in the form of a few thin wires and one oddly shaped fragment of unknown origin. Tomorrow we plan to analyze their composition. It is 3AM now and most people went to bed. This is perfect timing for my morning jog on the empty boat deck.

Avi Loeb examining one of the recovered wires from IM1’s site.


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