Harvard Researchers: Space Object Was Alien Spacecraft

An artist's depiction of Oumuamua the first detected interstellar object

This mysterious object, spotted tumbling through our solar system past year, may have been an alien spacecraft sent to investigate earth.

The reason for this assumption is that Oumuamua moves at a faster rate than expected.

Loeb calculated that for it to be a random object following a random orbit, there would have to be 100 million times more of its type hanging around in the solar system.

'Oumuamua also travels in a complex tumbling spin, but a functioning solar sail would have a much smoother path and obvious radiation-driven acceleration, Jackson said.

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Since scientists are not able to explain the unusual features of a celestial body and its origin, giving it finally a new class of "interstellar objects". But 'Oumuamua didn't have a "coma", the atmosphere and dust that surrounds comets as they melt. It's also possible Oumuamua was just created to wander through space, collecting information, and our solar system just happened to be in its way - its operators weren't necessarily looking to pry into the lives of humans. It was scanned for radio waves, but none were detected.

But since Oumuamua's discovery, scientists have continued to wonder whether it could have originated from some intelligent life-form.

"For decades we've theorized that such interstellar objects are out there, and now―for the first time―we have direct evidence they exist", said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in a 2017 news release.

Oumuamua "might be a lightsail of artificial origin", the paper says, referring to an object created to use solar radiation for propulsion.

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The scientists behind this paper are postdoctoral researcher Shmuel Bialy and professor Abraham Loeb, director of the Institute for Theory and Computation at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Humans have experimented before with lightsails, but the idea remains in its infancy. But after a thorough mathematical analysis of how interstellar object accelerated as it flew past the Sun, they say Omwamwi can be a space ship.

The estimated 400 metre-long object sped through our inner solar system at a speed of more than 26 kilometres per second before departing in January 2018.

Last year, a mysterious interstellar object known as Oumuamua passed through outer space.

"Omwamwi" can be fully operational probe specifically directed to Earth, an extraterrestrial civilization", - noted in the work. It would have slowed down given the strength of the Sun's gravitational pull, say scientist, unless it was a comet. So the Harvard authors' "exotic" guesses are just as good as anyone's at this point.

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Going forward, the researchers believe we should search for other interstellar objects in our sky.

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