The mysterious object known as ‘Oumuamua has given us a lot to talk about in recent times.
A new scientific paper published by two researchers at Harvard University has recently hinted at the possibility that ‘Oumuamuamay be an alien spacecraft sent by an advanced civilization elsewhere in the universe to study us.
The cigar-shaped ‘spacecraft’ allegedly displays features that shouldn’t be possible if it were an ordinary space rock suggest Harvard experts.
‘Oumuamua, which is the first-known interstellar object to enter our solar system accelerated faster away from the Sun than what is expected in a space rock, hence why scientists suggest it may be a sort of spacecraft powered by a Solar Sail, which is pushing it out towards open space.
The cigar-shaped object zoomed past the Earth at nearly 160,000 kilometers per hour in October of 2017. It was spotted for the first time by a telescope in Hawai on October 19 and was observed 34 times in the following weeks.
In a pre-print of their paper, Harvard scientists said that despite it is an exotic scenario, but ‘Oumuamua may be a fully operational space probe zooming across our Solar System.
“Currently, there is an unexplained phenomenon, namely, the excess acceleration of Oumuamua, which we show may be explained by the force of radiation pressure from the sun,’ co-author and Harvard astrophysicist Shmuel Bialy explained AFP via email Tuesday.
“However, this requires the body to have a very large surface and be very thin, which is not encountered in nature.”
Eventually, their suggestions that we may be witnessing an alien spacecraft traveling through the solar system went viral and it caused outrage among other astronomers.
“Like most scientists, I would love there to be convincing evidence of alien life, but this isn’t it,” explained Alan Fitzsimmons, an astrophysicist at Queens University, Belfast.
“It has already been shown that its observed characteristics are consistent with a comet-like body ejected from another star system,” he told AFP.
“And some of the arguments in this study are based on numbers with large uncertainties.”
Katie Mack, an astrophysicist at North Carolina State, also felt the need to comment on the matter.
“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,” she explained on Twitter.
“But until every other possibility has been exhausted a dozen times over, even the authors probably don’t believe it.”
Bialy was approached by AFP who asked him whether he believed in the hypothesis he and his colleague put forth.
“I wouldn’t say I ‘believe’ it is sent by aliens, as I am a scientist and not a believer, I rely on evidence to put forward possible physical explanation for observed phenomena.”
“It is impossible to guess the purpose behind Oumuamua without more data,” Loeb was quoted as saying.
Their ‘controversial’ scientific paper, where the scientific duo suggest we may have observed an alien space probe was accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal Letters and will appear on November 12, 2018.