Scientists reveal mysterious 'Oumuamua' object could be an alien spacecraft

Pablo Tucker
November 9, 2018

Mysterious interstellar asteroid could be a solar sail from wrecked alien probe, astronomers say Interstellar mystery rock Oumuamua might have been part of an alien reconnaissance mission, according to two Harvard Smithsonian astronomers who saw in the odd object signs it could be a light-driven probe.

Scientists first discovered the mysterious interstellar object now known as "Oumuamua" in late 2017 when it was spotted by thePan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii.

The object was said to be 10 times longer than it is wide and it traveled at speeds of almost 200,000 miles per hour.

Other studies have suggested that other "Oumuamua-like objects" will potentially enter our solar system, with some potentially carrying life. Not only is it the first-ever interstellar asteroid or comet detected by astronomers while passing through the solar system, its shape is unusual, its acceleration is unexpected, and a cometary tail - the signature trail of particles seen behind shooting stars - is conspicuous in its absence. The excessive acceleration could be explained by the pressure of solar radiation, or "solar sail".

The researchers are not saying outright that Oumuamua is a sign of extraterrestrial life.

Asked if he believed the hypothesis he put forward, Bialy told AFP: "I wouldn't say I "believe" it is sent by aliens, as I am a scientist and not a believer, I rely on evidence to put forward possible physical explanation for observed phenomena".

An animation from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena shows the path of A/2017 U1 as it traveled through our solar system in September and October 2017.

They said alien civilisations may jettison used cargo ships, resulting in space debris that looks a lot like Asteroid 'Oumuamua.

The solar sail would also be thinner than the authors of the new paper describe, he said.

Some are not so sure the cigar-shaped 'Oumuamua is a solar sail, however.

Of course, the pair aren't claiming that Oumuamua's definitely of alien origin.

Well, this week, the story of Oumuamua got a little bit weirder.

"The thing you have to understand is: scientists are perfectly happy to publish an outlandish idea if it has even the tiniest "sliver" of a chance of not being wrong", astrophysicist and cosmologist Katherine Mack tweeted. "But until every other possibility has been exhausted a dozen times over, even the authors probably don't believe it".

Instead, it had dived between Mercury and the sun and was zooming past Earth on its way out of our solar system, a path that meant Oumuamua was an interstellar traveler from beyond the solar system.

"I have no problem with this kind of speculative study", Bailer-Jones added.

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