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Scientists Believe Mysterious, Oddly Shaped Space Object Could Be 'Alien Probe'

07 November 2018

A Hawaiian telescope first spotted "Oumuamua", meaning "a messenger from afar, arriving first" in Hawaiian, in October 2017.

Oumuamua "might be a lightsail of artificial origin", the paper says, referring to an object created to use solar radiation for propulsion.

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.

It was moving at 59,030mph when it was first tracked by scientists.

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

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".

Similar to how a sailing boat uses the wind in its sail to push it forward, a spacecraft with a light sail uses the light from a nearby star to propel it, with radiation pressure exerting a tiny amount of force.

The researchers are not saying outright that Oumuamua is a sign of extraterrestrial life. However, he adds that, if Oumuamua is indeed a lightsail, it may have run into our solar system "like a ship bumping into a buoy on the surface of the ocean".

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.

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However, it seems unlikely that we'll ever know if Oumuamua did, in fact, have an artificial light sail.

But Alan Jackson, a fellow at the Centre for Planetary Sciences at the University of Toronto Scarborough, told CNN the study was "distinctly lacking in evidence, never mind extraordinary evidence" and that the spectral data suggested the object was an asteroid or comet.

"Not 'where is the lack of evidence so that I can fit in any hypothesis that I like?"

Of course, the pair aren't claiming that Oumuamua's definitely of alien origin.

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

Oumuamua has left the solar system and is no longer visible, the news outlet noted.

A massive flattened boulder-like object traveling through space with "peculiar acceleration" could be an alien craft, according to a new study.

"It is impossible to guess the objective behind Oumuamua without more data, [but the object] may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization".

Scientists Believe Mysterious, Oddly Shaped Space Object Could Be 'Alien Probe'