Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Mysterious object spotted in solar system may have been an alien probe

This diagram shows the orbit of the interstellar object ‘Oumuamua as it passes through the Solar System. It shows the predicted path of ‘Oumuamua and the new course taking the new measured velocity of the object into account. ‘Oumuamua passed the Interstellar asteroid could be 'alien' mission searching for life
Sandy Nunez | 08 November, 2018, 00:00

"Astronomers are urgently working to point telescopes around the world and in space at this notable object". The visitor, dubbed Oumuamua (pronounced "oh-MOO-ah-MOO-ah"), arrived from interstellar space, beyond the bubble-like region that demarcates the sun's domain. According to the researchers, the object's unusual, elongated shape and unexpected trajectory ruled out conventional possibilities, including an asteroid.

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

In their new paper, Shmuel Bialy and Abraham Loeb of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics suggest Oumuamua could have been "a lightsail of artificial origin". In fact, in their article, published this week in the The Astrophysical Journal Letters, they claim the object "may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization". Such a probe may have been intentionally sent for a "reconnaissance mission into the inner region of the solar system", Loeb said in an email to Universe Today. "This could have been the result of cometary outgassing, but there is no evidence for a cometary tail around it".

"Recent observational and theoretical studies imply that 'Oumuamua is not an active comet", the researchers said in a draft version of their study.

Oumuamua, which translates as "distant messenger from the past" in Hawaiian, can reach speeds of up to 196,000mph.

"Once these data are obtained and analysed, astronomers may know more about the origin and possibly composition of the object". In order for it to be effective, Oumuamua needs to be less than a millimeter in thickness, like a sail.

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Their suggestion of an alien force at work went viral. "It looked peculiar in nearly every other aspect".

Let's break this down. "Namely that it's a comet or asteroid from afar".

If Oumuamua is a lightsail, he added, one possibility is that it was floating in interstellar space when our solar system ran into it, "like a ship bumping into a buoy on the surface of the ocean", NBC News reported.

The light-sail Loeb thinks may power Oumuamua is not unlike technology being developed now here on Earth. So, if the idea seems far-fetched, it's not unthinkable.

Although it's "extremely thin", the researchers said the object could survive interstellar travel over galactic distances and withstand collisions with gas and dust grains.

New research from Harvard astronomers claims the only explanation for a mysterious object that flew close to the sun previous year is an alien spacecraft, but their bold claim has drawn criticism from a number of other astronomers.