Oumuamua is Not a Spaceship

Pablo Tucker
July 4, 2019

Researchers attempting to understand whether the object is natural in origin - or if, as some have suggested, it was a disguised spacecraft exploring our solar system - say they are sure that the rock is not an alien ship. It appeared to be rocky and metallic, showing properties of being both a comet and an asteroid.

The new study led by Matthew Knight, an associate research scientist in the University of Maryland Department of Astronomy, suggests that "Oumuamua has a purely natural origin". It's possible that the object was in a system with a gas giant planet orbiting a star and the orbit could have ejected 'Oumuamua.

Knight said it is not easy to fit 'Oumuamua into familiar classifications such as a comet or asteroid.

It is now located beyond Saturn, dashing out of the solar system.

They have published their analysis in the journal Nature Astronomy.


The research team suspects that 'Oumuamua could be the first of many interstellar visitors.

A mysterious cigar-shaped object that zipped through the solar system in 2017 could be explained through a "purely natural origin", an worldwide astronomers' team said on Monday, challenging proposals by some astronomers that it may represent "alien technology".

'We have never seen anything like Oumuamua in our solar system. "But visually, it hasn't ever displayed any of the cometlike characteristics we'd expect".

Oumuamua, Hawaiian for Scout', spins like a coke bottle and accelerates like a comet, but without the gas jets often seen trailing them.

The research team considered the different ways 'Oumuamua could have ended up in our solar system and where it might have originated.


"We tend to assume that the physical processes we observe here, close to home, are universal". And we have not yet seen anything like 'Oumuamua in our solar system. Oumuamua may have also come from a cluster of small objects outside the Solar System similar to the Oort Cloud, which is believed to have been created by Jupiter.

Knight explained: "The motion of 'Oumuamua didn't simply follow gravity along a parabolic orbit as we would expect from an asteroid. This cross-pollination led to the first comprehensive analysis and the best big-picture summary to date of what we know about the object", Knight explained. This thing is weird and admittedly hard to explain, but that doesn't exclude other natural phenomena that could explain it'.

The first object coming from outside the Solar System was called 'Oumuamua and its discovery, nearly two years ago, raised a lot of controversy about what it was, even speculated that it was an extraterrestrial ship, the possibility that has refused a new study scientifically. In 2022 researchers may unlock more answers with the help of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, which is now under construction. "That's when we'll start to know whether 'Oumuamua is weird, or common".

'If we find 10-20 of these things and Oumuamua still looks unusual, we'll have to reexamine our explanations'. In science circles, this is actually quite common, and there might be more in stow.


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