Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Scientists say mystery space object could be alien spacecraft

Artist’s impression of the large thin ’Oumuamua object venting gasses as it approaches the sun Interstellar asteroid could be 'alien' mission searching for life
Frank Williams | 08 November, 2018, 00:03

In a paper set to be published next week in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, astrophysicists Avi Loeb and Shmuel Bilay claim Oumuamua could be, "a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization".

At least, that's what astronomers from Harvard University suggest in a research paper.

Using a mathematical analysis of the way the object sped up as it shot past the sun, the researchers argue that Oumuamua could be a spacecraft pushed through space by light falling on its surface - a kind of "lightsail of artificial origin", NBC News reported.

The mysterious, elongated object named Oumuamua that hurtled past Earth previous year could have been an alien spacecraft, according to astronomers from Harvard University. But the way the object sped through space leads the team to believe the otherworldly craft was propelled by some sort of "lightsail of artificial origin".

"This would account for the various anomalies of Oumuamua, such as the unusual geometry inferred from its light-curve, its low thermal emission, suggesting high reflectivity, and its deviation from a Keplerian orbit without any sign of a cometary tail or spin-up torques", the paper states.

In late October, 2017, NASA said the recently discovered interstellar visitor appeared "to have originated from outside the solar system, coming from somewhere else in our galaxy".

Do you think the interstellar object was actually an alien probe?

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It "may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization", states a paper by two Harvard scientists to be published November 12 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

That means the object would be made of some thin material that could absorb radiation from the sun - either a naturally created material we've never seen before, or something made by aliens.

Coryn Bailer-Jones, an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, said: "In science, we must ask ourselves 'Where is the evidence?" "But one should not blindly accept this clever hypothesis when there is also a mundane (and a priori more likely) explanation for Oumuamua - namely that it's a comet or asteroid from afar".

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.

The truth may be hard to establish, as Oumuamua has left the solar system and is no longer visible even with telescopes.

"Any functional spacecraft would nearly certainly retract its solar sail once in interstellar space to prevent damage", Mr Jackson said.

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