Internet InfoMedia surprise an extraterrestrial gadget was something more familiar
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In 2014 a fireball from outer space was posited to be an alien artifact. A recent study suggests otherwise.

In January of 2014, a meteor fell from space off the coast of Papua New Guinea. That might have been the end of it, but several years later Avi Loeb, a theoretical astrophysicist at Harvard, drew on seismic data from near the site, looked for crash remains on the ocean floor and proposed that the remains “may reflect an extraterrestrial technological origin.”

Dr. Loeb has previously been accused by his peers of wild speculation and sensationalism. Last fall, Benjamin Fernando, a planetary seismologist at Johns Hopkins University, led a team that re-examined the nearby seismic signals and concluded that they were not evidence of the extraterrestrial, or anything close to it.

On Tuesday, Dr. Fernando will present the data in detail at scientific conference. Recently, he sat down with The New York Times to preview what his team had found. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

How did this all start?

In 2014, a meteor entered the atmosphere and went “bang.” Sometimes, you hear these meteors on seismometers. Avi Loeb wrote a paper to say that he’d found the seismic signal from this meteor and that he’d used it to locate exactly where the meteor debris fell. And from that, they mounted an expedition and picked stuff up off the sea floor.

In one paper, Dr. Loeb and a co-author wrote that they “confirmed the fireball location” in the ocean from “the timing of the strong seismic signal.” But you’ve determined that the seismic information wasn’t coming from a meteor. What do you think it was coming from?

A truck.

As in, a hyperspeed alien truck?

No, it was an ordinary truck, like a normal truck driving past a seismometer. Not being seismologists, the Loeb team may have misunderstood the data. In reality, all they did was find a truck.

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