Professor Avi Loeb argues that the interstellar object we spotted flying through our solar system in 2017, could have been alien technology.
Astronomical objects in interstellar space that are not gravitationally bound to stars (such as asteroids, comets, or rogue planets) are referred to as interstellar objects. In 2017, mankind identified, for the first time ever, one such object. We named it ‘Oumuamua, a Hawaiian word that means a messenger from afar. We had no time to set up a mission to visit the object, since, by the time our telescopes spotted it, it was already on its way out of the solar system. Nonetheless, we did have time to study it to some extent. What we found was strange, and Harvard Astronomer Professor Avi Loeb took a particular interest in the object, not only because it came from another star system, but because the more the object was observed, the more mysterious it got.
Having done his scientific due diligence, and after gathering enough data, the former chair of the astronomy department at Harvard dared say to his colleagues that the interstellar object ‘Oumuamua displayed odd characteristics, and there was a change that the object was not an asteroid or comet, but an alien spacecraft.
Loeb proposed in a 2021 paper that ‘Oumuamua could have been a probe sent by extraterrestrial civilizations, an explanation that has divided the scientific community. In particular, Loeb had stated that ‘Oumuamua appeared very thin, and there was a chance it was a kind of “solar sail.”
A recent international study sought to disprove Loeb’s contention that ‘Oumuamua was a solar sail, a form of propulsion that relied on the low pressure of solar radiation for propulsion. This team’s study is being accepted for publication in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics and concludes,”‘Oumuamua is unlikely to be a light sail.” It is possible to quantify and analyze the dynamics of an intruding light sail, if it exists, with our methods in future surveys.” But Professor Loeb, however, believes his data is conclusive and is sticking to his initial conclusion. In an interview, he told The Daily Beast, “the authors have missed a few points.”
According to the international team led by Shangfei Liu, an astronomer at Sun Yat-sen University in Zhuhai, China, ‘Oumuamua would have featured a large, flat surface if it were a light sail, and the light reflected from it would have been more than that observed from the mysterious object. Shangfei told Beast that if it had been a light sail, the brightness variation would have been much greater. The sail itself, however, could have been shaped in a way that reflected light unexpectedly, according to Loeb’s own research.
Additionally, Loeb spoke about his collaboration with Breakthrough Initiative, a science company founded by Russian-Israeli billionaire Yuri Borisovich, to develop umbrella-shaped solar sails for Starshot’s space probes.
It is even possible that the ‘Oumuamua sailed through our star system as a piece of alien spacecraft debris- a piece of alien spacecraft detritus that just happened to fly through our solar system, the astronomer told Beast. It goes without saying that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Unfortunately, it’s exceedingly rare to encounter an interstellar object like ‘Oumuamua. In fact, to date, we have only spotted two, one being ‘Oumuamua and the other being interstellar comet 2lBorisov.
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