Astronomers think that the Solar system called for a probe of aliens


The object was discovered a year ago with the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope atop Haleakalā on Maui and was given the Hawaiian name ʻOumuamua, meaning 'a messenger from afar arriving first'.

When the object was first spotted scientists believed it might have been travelling through space for hundreds of millions of years. The reason for this is because Oumuamua appeared to actually pick up speed as it passed the sun, suggesting the object could have an artificially built light sail that it fuels itself with.

Speaking with Universe Today, Mr Loeb said: "We explain the excess acceleration of Oumuamua away from the sun as the result of the force that the sunlight exerts on its surface".

Loeb told NBC News that the idea that Oumuamua could be alien-made was "purely scientific and evidence-based".

The paper, written by Abraham Loeb, professor and chair of astronomy, and Shmuel Bialy, a postdoctoral scholar, at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, points out that comparable light-sails already exist on earth. Given its high speed and unique trajectory, scientists suspect that the object came clearly from outside our Solar system.

On its face, the study is trying to reconcile 'Oumuamua's pattern of acceleration, which matches that of a comet, to other observations that suggest it's not an active comet.

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Given the name "Oumuamua" - which means messenger from afar arriving first, or scout, in Hawaiian - the object is believed to be the first interstellar visitor to our solar system. Its flattened, elongated shape and the way it accelerated on its way through the Solar system, distinguished him from ordinary asteroids and comets. But Oumuamua wasn't "coma", of the atmosphere and dust that surround the comet, when they melt. In fact, some scientists seem to think that the simplest explanation for the object is probably the most plausible.

"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".

Other mysteries in space have previously been thought of as signs of extraterrestrial life: a mysterious radio signal, repeating fast radio bursts and even a strangely flickering star, known as Tabby's Star.

Another alternative? It was an actual alien spacecraft sent to observe Earth.

The latest theory shedding more light on the nature of Oumuamua comes from a study carried out by two astronomers from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. 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.