Harvard Researchers: Space Object Was Alien Spacecraft

ESO  M. Kornmesser

ESO M. Kornmesser

The Oumuamua was spotted late a year ago as it drifted into the solar system and passed close enough to the sun that it could be seen on observational telescopes.

A handout image of an artist's impression released by the European Space Agency (ESA) shows Oumuamua - the first interstellar object discovered in the Solar System - June 27, 2018. That means the object would be made of some thin material that could absorb radiation from the sun - either a naturally created material we've never seen before, or something made by aliens.

Avi Loeb, chairman of Harvard's astronomy department and co-author of the paper, told NBC News: "It is impossible to guess the objective behind Oumuamua without more data". Now, a paper from Harvard astronomers suggests one more possibility into the mysterious object nicknamed "Oumuamua": Alien probe.

Light sail technology has already been developed by scientists here on Earth, such as Japan's IKAROS project and the Starshot Initiative, the authors write.

Similar to how a sailing boat uses the wind in its sail to push it forward, a spacecraft with a light sail uses the light from a nearby star to propel it, with radiation pressure exerting a tiny amount of force. The study suggests that if 'Oumuamua rotates in its highest rotational energy state, "it should be extremely oblate (pancake-like)".

There are probably "thousands of interstellar 'Oumuamua-like" objects "trapped" somewhere in the solar system, they wrote. Its flattened, elongated shape and the way it accelerated on its way through the Solar system, distinguished him from ordinary asteroids and comets.




Another scientist, also studying Oumuamua - and who identified four dwarf stars that could be Oumuamua's point of origin - says the object moved too haphazardly to collect any valuable information, even if it was a probe.

"This serendipitous discovery is bonus science enabled by NASA's efforts to find, track and characterize near-Earth objects that could potentially pose a threat to our planet". SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, tried to detect signals from the object, but found nothing.

So far, there is no obvious origin for 'Oumuamua.

In December 2017 it was announced the astronomers were going to scan Oumuamua for signs of alien life.

Their paper was accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal Letters and will appear on November 12. "In fact, they only mention the word 'alien" once, when they mention in passing that 'Oumuamua might have been targeted to intercept the solar system.

Loeb said he is not definitively claiming the object is alien, but said it is important to acknowledge the possibility.

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