Oumuamua May Have Been an Alien Spaceship, Astronomers Say

ESO  M. Kornmesser

For the first time, a mysterious space object "Omului" was seen at the end of 2017.

But the object's unusual trajectory, high speed, and puzzling way it is speeding up as it moves through the solar system, have caused researchers to consider other possibilities.

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

Such a means of "power" would allow, say, an alien probe to travel far into the universe with nothing but light needed to fuel it. 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 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.

Oumuamua, Hawaiian for "messenger" or "scout", was first viewed by telescopes in October 2017.

It is ten-times as long as it is wide and travels at speeds of 196,000 miles per hour.

There are probably "thousands of interstellar 'Oumuamua-like" objects "trapped" somewhere in the solar system, they wrote.

"I am distinctly unconvinced and honestly think the study is rather flawed", Alan Jackson, fellow at the Centre for Planetary Sciences at the University of Toronto Scarborough, told CNN. "Carl Sagan once said, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" and this paper is distinctly lacking in evidence nevermind extraordinary evidence".

The strangly shaped object is about half a mile long and is so unusual that Nasa said it had "never seen a natural object with such extreme proportions in the solar system before".

Although it's been called a comet or an asteroid in the past, it's still unclear exactly what the elongated, red-tinged object is and where it came from.

Some are not so sure the cigar-shaped 'Oumuamua is a solar sail, however. Or it could be an extraterrestrial spacecraft that relies on an "artificial" light sail that relies on solar radiation pressure to generate propulsion, according to Loeb.

"Two very capable, very bright astronomers, from a very credible organization, Harvard, have come out with the notion that Oumuamua could be alien in origin", Diamond said.

Mr Bailer-Jones led a group of scientists earlier this year who identified four dwarf stars as likely origin points for Oumuamua.

It's also entirely possible - perhaps more possible - that the object isn't part of a far-flung alien race's attempts to investigate the (other) occupants of the Milky Way.

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