Is interstellar object 'Oumuamua an alien area probe?

Ben Goldsmith's tweet has been roundly mocked online

Ben Goldsmith's tweet has been roundly mocked online

The mysterious cigar-shaped interstellar object, which is apparently the first known object from another solar system to pass through our own, left some members of the scientific community wondering whether it is merely a space rock or some kind of alien craft.

Oumuamua, which means "messenger from afar" in Hawaiian, was first discovered in 2017 by researchers with the Panoramic Survey Telescope Rapid Response Systems (Pan-STARRS), located on Maui. Second, it seemed to be getting faster-and not through the gravitational pull of other objects, as researchers would expect.The mystery prompted Shmuel Bialy, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and Avi Loeb, another Harvard astronomer, to attempt to figure out what was going on with 'Oumuamua.

The new paper focuses on how the object accelerated, saying that if it was due to solar radiation pressure, the object was "a new class of thin interstellar material". But with the careful analysis based on the principles of mathematics, the interstellar object and how it went past sun gives all the indications that it can be an alien spacecraft who made its way through the space as the light fell on its surface.

"A more exotic scenario is that "Oumuamua" may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization", the researchers wrote.

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"It is impossible to guess the objective behind Oumuamua without more data", Avi Loeb, chairman of Harvard's astronomy department and a co-author of the paper, told NBC News MACH in an email.

"This would account for the various anomalies of 'Oumuamua, such as the unusual geometry inferred from its light-curve, its low thermal emission, suggesting high reflectivity, and its deviation from a Keplerian orbit without any sign of a cometary tail or spin-up torques".

Unfortunately, 'Oumuamua is now too far away from Earth to study further so we may never know its precise nature and origin. "I will be truly excited once we have conclusive evidence", he said.

"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". "Even the authors probably do not believe it themselves". "It is impossible to guess the objective of Oumuamua without more data".

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