Cigar-shaped comet may actually be an alien probe, Harvard scientists suggest

08 November, 2018, 00:01 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • ESO  M. Kornmesser

The truth is out there regarding the origins of a mysterious cigar-shaped object seen tumbling through the solar system previous year, according to researchers from Harvard University who argue it may have been an alien spacecraft sent to investigate Earth.

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. Its unusual origin story wasn't the only thing that set Oumuamua apart from other comets and asteroids - it was also odd in shape; highly elongated, like a cosmic cigar.

Scientists first called the object an asteroid, then later deemed it a mildly active comet.

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

"I welcome other proposals", Loeb added, "but I can not think of another explanation for the peculiar acceleration of Oumuamua".

"Considering an artificial origin, one possibility is that 'Oumuamua is a light sail, floating in interstellar space as a debris from an advanced technological equipment", wrote the paper's authors, suggesting that the object could be propelled by solar radiation.

"The alternative is to imagine that Oumuamua was on a reconnaissance mission".

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Harvard scientists have raised the possibility that "Oumuamua", a mysterious cigar-shaped interstellar object, the first of its kind found in our solar system, could have come from an alien civilisation. The visitor, dubbed Oumuamua (pronounced "oh-MOO-ah-MOO-ah"), arrived from interstellar space, beyond the bubble-like region that demarcates the sun's domain. "This could have been the result of cometary outgassing, but there is no evidence for a cometary tail around it".

"Once these data are obtained and analysed, astronomers may know more about the origin and possibly composition of the object". "The approach I take to the subject is purely scientific and evidence-based".

"The thing you have to understand is: scientists are perfectly happy to publish an outlandish idea if it has even the tiniest *sliver* of a chance of not being wrong", Katherine Mack, an astrophysicist, wrote on Twitter.

He said: "If it were a spacecraft, this tumbling would make it impossible to keep any instruments pointed at the Earth".

In December 2017 it was announced the astronomers were going to scan Oumuamua for signs of alien life.

They said it seemed to use the Sun's radiation as an energy source, and even if it was only a natural object, it was still unique.

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