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m3n4.net November 21, 2018


Harvard scientists: Interstellar Oumuamua object may be alien probe

10 November 2018, 01:17 | Brenda Erickson

Interstellar asteroid could be 'alien' mission searching for life

An illustration of ‘Oumuamua the first object we’ve ever seen pass through our own solar system that has interstellar origins

The mysterious, elongated object named Oumuamua that hurtled past Earth previous year could have been an alien spacecraft, according to astronomers from Harvard University.

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".

"Oumuamua" has confounded researchers since it was first spotted a year ago by the Pan-STARRS1 telescope atop Mount Haleakala in Maui, Hawaii.

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.

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

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It's cryptic, dark, and going really, really fast - and a pair of Harvard scientists say the mysterious space object 'Oumuamua may actually have come from an alien civilization.

"It's certainly ingenious to show that an object the size of Oumuamua might be sent by aliens to another star system with nothing but a solar sail for power".

Since scientists could not explain its unusual shape and the exact origin, so at first called it a comet, and then an asteroid before giving it a title: a new class of "interstellar objects".

"Light sails with similar dimensions was designed and built by our own civilization, including the IKAROS project and" Starshot Initiative ".

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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"But, Loeb said, the fact that we've observed one interstellar object like Oumuama suggests that others may be out there".

It is known that comets are accelerated through a process known as "degassing" when the sun heats the icy surface, releasing the molten gas.

"The likelihood of Galactic panspermia is strongly dependent upon the survival lifetime of the putative organisms as well as the velocity of the transporter", Manasvi Lingam and Loeb from this current study said in another paper published previously in the Astrophysical Journal. Not all shells are the same, and similarly only a fraction of the interstellar objects might be technological debris of alien civilizations. "Since it is too late to image Oumuamua with existing telescopes or chase it with chemical rockets", they wrote, "its likely origin and properties could only be deciphered by searching for other objects of its type in the future".

"Aliens would only come into all of this if you accept their assumption (and that's what it is; it doesn't come from the data) that "Oumuamua is sail-like, and also assume nothing like that can be natural", Bailer-Jones wrote in an email".

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