Interstellar asteroid could be 'alien' mission searching for life

Interstellar asteroid could be 'alien' mission searching for life

A mysterious, elongated object that was seen speeding past the sun in 2017 could have been a space probe sent by aliens to spy on Earth, according to Harvard researchers.

The paper was written by Professor Abraham Loeb, the director at Harvard's Center for Astrophysics's Institute for Theory and Computation, and Shmuel Bialy, a postdoctoral researcher.

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'.

Astronomers from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) have detected an unexpected boost in speed and shift in trajectory in the red object named Oumuamua as it passed through the inner solar system.

When the object - known as Oumuamua - flew past the sun, astronomers rushed to find out more about it and reviewed data discovering that the object gained speed instead of slowing down.

Of course, one could now say it was an accident, or the aliens did this to deceive us.

The cigar-shaped rock is now speeding through the galaxy and is the first known interstellar object to enter our solar system.

"If radiation pressure is the accelerating force, then Oumuamua represents a new class of thin interstellar material, either produced naturally, through a yet unknown process... or of an artificial origin", the authors wrote.

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"The likelihood of Galactic panspermia is strongly dependent upon the survival lifetime of the putative organisms as well as the velocity of the transporter", according to a paper published in The Astronomical Journal by Manasvi Lingam and the aforementioned Loeb.

"It is impossible to guess the goal behind Oumuamua without more data", Loeb was quoted as saying.

Astronomers believe an unusual object that entered the solar system last October might be an alien probe.

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

"And here's a story fromNBC News saying an alien spacecraft may be above Earth and no one's noticing it", Stu laughed.

Some are not so sure the cigar-shaped 'Oumuamua is a solar sail, however. In their paper, the Harvard scientists say it may have been something called a "solar sail".

Solar sails also can't change course after being launched, so if 'Oumuamua was truly a solar sail, it would be traceable back to its origin.

Concerning 'Oumuamua, there is little evidence because astronomers weren't able to observe it for long, which opens it up to speculation in the name of science. "Even the authors probably do not believe it themselves". "It's fun and thought-provoking, and the issue of whether there is alien life out there is really important".

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