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Publisher's Summary

“Provocative and thrilling...Loeb asks us to think big and to expect the unexpected.” (Alan Lightman, New York Times best-selling author of Einstein’s Dreams and Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine

Harvard’s top astronomer lays out his controversial theory that our solar system was recently visited by advanced alien technology from a distant star.

In late 2017, scientists at a Hawaiian observatory glimpsed an object soaring through our inner solar system, moving so quickly that it could only have come from another star. Avi Loeb, Harvard’s top astronomer, showed it was not an asteroid; it was moving too fast along a strange orbit, and left no trail of gas or debris in its wake. There was only one conceivable explanation: the object was a piece of advanced technology created by a distant alien civilization. 

In Extraterrestrial, Loeb takes listeners inside the thrilling story of the first interstellar visitor to be spotted in our solar system. He outlines his controversial theory and its profound implications: for science, for religion, and for the future of our species and our planet. A mind-bending journey through the furthest reaches of science, space-time, and the human imagination, Extraterrestrial challenges listeners to aim for the stars - and to think critically about what’s out there, no matter how strange it seems.

©2021 Avi Loeb (P)2021 HMH Audio

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What listeners say about Extraterrestrial

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An exciting theory on Oumuamua's alien-origins

Avi shares his theories on the extraterrestrial shape, origin, size, and purpose of the unexplainable Ouamuamua object. Was it a comet with never before seen qualities or an extraterrestrial vessel? His exotic hypothesis will leave your mind racing in all the right ways. He also highlights the scientific community's bias against extraterrestrial theories; similarly, Avi appears to have a bias which supports his extraterrestrial theory over other theories.

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The Man Makes His Case

Loeb doesn't ask us to believe in Aliens. He instead asks that we follow the evidence over and around our own biases, and be willing to consider all possibilities when broaching the mysteries of the universe, not merely those which we are intellectually prepared to entertain. This is a compelling and important book, regardless of how his theory ultimately strikes you.

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  • jiulio margalli
  • 2021-01-27

Decent but the title shouldn't make you buy it

The book is OK but I wouldn't purchase it again. My critique is based on the lack of detail regarding competing explanations as to the origin and composition of the object. Yes, the author touches upon alternative theories but he does not devote the required attention to these explanations in a manner sufficient to be objective. Readers are left to their own devices searching for journal articles to obtain this information.

14 people found this helpful

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  • zarko spasojevic
  • 2021-01-27

Chapter 9 made my head explode

I stopped at the aforementioned chapter to write this review.
One-two combo science and philosophy will knock you into seing the long view of the universe and humanity's place in it.
It is my fondest wish that the determination and hopefulnes of the ideas in this book go viral and stay with us for generations to come, not a good analogy I know, much like some in the book.

If you like Carl Sagan you will love Avi Loeb.
I say yes to looking for alien space junk, yes to a space renaissance lets do it!

12 people found this helpful

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  • Tim
  • 2021-01-29

Excellent treatise on arrogance of scientific establishment

Excellent book — not only in presenting a solid scientific hypothesis of Oumuamua’s origins but also in exposing the arrogance of the “mainstream” scientific community’s refusal to peer through Galileo’s telescope. One would have hoped the establishment would have learned from notable failures that limited and stalled progress (many of which are deliciously detailed by Dr. Loeb), but, alas, elite arrogance continues to prevent the advancement of science. And Dr. Loeb’s retort to one of the most unfortunate pronouncements of Carl Sagan is pure genius — “It is not obvious to me why extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Extraordinary conservatism keeps us extraordinarily ignorant.” The point — if an anomaly presents itself, we shouldn’t limit our thinking to that which conforms to the expectations of the elite; rather, we should follow the evidence wherever it leads, even if it leads to areas that arrogant scientists would rather ignore and pretend don’t exist. As Dr. Loeb notes as a matter of fact: “Evidence doesn’t care about approval.” However, given the ever persistent efforts of scientists to mold the evidence (ironically, in an intellectually dishonest manner) so that it fits their world view, Max Planck’s “maxim” is the more relevant: (as paraphrased) “Science progresses one funeral at a time.” And this, unfortunately, is the ultimate point. Bravo, Dr. Loeb.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Duncan Gilbert
  • 2021-02-04

Not the book I thought I was getting

when I first heard of and purchased this book I thought this would be a discussion of Sam Harvard researcher going through bit by bit of the evidence that oumuamua was an extraterrestrial object. what I got instead was the author talking about how brave he is for suggesting something that most scientists would not and the comparisons to Galileo or Copernicus. the evidence was scarce. I found this to be an unsatisfying popular science book.

The performance and narration were well enough but nothing to speak of

4 people found this helpful

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  • TCL0001
  • 2021-01-27

Outstanding.

excellent narration. fascinating, thought-provoking content. highly recommend this audiobook. I look forward to mr. Loeb's next book.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Bob Reece
  • 2021-02-15

A Joke

I was looking forward to listening to this book, but because the author is more into himself than this fascinating story, I could not finish it. It's "I did this", "I published that", or "I suggested those" throughout the book. Totally disgusting.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Larry Finley
  • 2021-02-05

One Man's Opinion

25% informational, 50% Philosophy, 25% unrealistic spending proposal. I could have read posts on the internet and got the same info.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Marcus Flores
  • 2021-02-13

Average

This could be an extremely powerful study of how we should keep an open mind in the face of discovery. However, the author's frequent anecdotes and side road discussion of academia distract from the impact.

It's still worth the read in my opinion.

1 person found this helpful

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  • A Woman
  • 2021-02-10

Glad for the book

A bit too much on himself but otherwise a needed book.

Skip to chapter 3 if you’ve no need for his autobiography.

I wish that during his self congratulatory career overview he would also acknowledge his White male privilege.

Getting his cosmic plasma job coming he says was mostly because his boss saw Loeb as a younger version of himself. Typical White male luck.

Would a woman have the same luck?
Would a Black man?

... but then again Larry Summers said it was all biology, right?

Apart from excessive self admiration, I’m glad the story is out.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Cbuk
  • 2021-02-08

Weak analysis

It’s arrogant to assume we are alone, but it’s not arrogant to assume that scientists and philosophers are so intelligent that everything we can’t explain in the cosmos could be proof of aliens? Example: we don’t know how life started, so it must be panspermia. Evidence or wishful thinking?

1 person found this helpful