One mysterious object shaped like a cigar that was spotted tumbling across Earth’s solar system last year may have been an alien spacecraft sent to explore our planet. This is according to astronomers at Harvard University. The strange object was nicknamed “Oumuamua.” It’s Hawaiian for a “messenger that reaches out to the distant past.” It was observed for the first time in October last year by a telescope in Hawaii. Since then, scientists have been crunching their brains to try and explain its origin and some of its unusual features.
Researchers, first of all, called it a normal comet. However, this changed to an asteroid. But even that was not enough. Instead, scientists decided to classify it as a new class of “interstellar objects.” But researchers at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics are raising new possibilities about what exactly this strange object was. In a new paper published recently, the scientists say that the object might have an “artificial origin.” The elongated object is ten times longer than it is wide and could be a fully operational probe sent on Earth intentionally by an alien civilization for exploration, the paper added.
The paper was submitted to the Astrophysical Journal Letters. The scientists said that their theory was based on the objects excess acceleration. When it was discovered, Oumuamua was traveling at roughly 196,000 miles per hour. This unexpected boost in speed as it traveled through our solar system was the main point of curiosity for the researchers. They argued that it’s possible that the object is debris from advanced technological equipment. They also noted that it’s possible that the object was propelled by solar radiation. In addition to this, the paper noted that it’s very likely that Oumuamua was part of a long exploration mission and that it’s no longer useful.
The trajectory in which it passed through the Earth’s solar system and the speed could suggest that the object was being disposed of after completing its job. Oumuamua is the first object to be observed within the Earth’s solar system that’s thought to have a foreign origin. The first impression when scientists saw it for the first time was to assume that this was a normal comet or asteroid that originated from our own solar system. But upon further analysis, they soon realized it was something more. The object was tracked by telescopes from the time it entered the Earth’s solar system until it exited. Where it went after that is not known yet.
However, this new info brings in a new perspective on the debate that there could be extraterrestrial life out there. Although scientists are yet to observe concrete evidence of such life, clues like this one somehow tend to reinforce existing theories. Despite the findings of the paper, some experts have criticized it calling the findings flawed. The critics argue that extraordinary claims like this one require extraordinary evidence. Sadly, the paper didn’t provide that evidence as required. The challenge though is that astronomers were only able to observe the object for about three days so there’s very little to say about it now.