Is ‘Oumuamua, the first interstellar visitor we’ve encountered, really just an odd space rock swinging its way through the solar system?
Or is it an alien probe, disguised as an asteroid, sent to our solar system by an advanced alien civilization to study us?
Despite the time astronomers have taken to carefully study the object, they still are struggling to explain why the oddly-shaped object changed direction as it swung around the sun last year.
Now, according to Metro, NASA has supposedly admitted that we still can’t entirely rule out the possibility that ‘Oumuamua is an actual space probe sent by aliens.
A video posted by NASA shows that ‘Oumuamua drastically changed its trajectory as its traveling towards the outer planets.
As explained by Metro, a blog discussing ‘Oumaumaua’s “unexpected trajectory”, Nasa indicated that “speculation” about the true origins of “Oumuamua was still ongoing.”
In the blog post, NASA linked to a study which offers a theory suggesting that ‘Oumuamua could be ” a piece of tech debris” like “a solar sail discarded by an alien civilization and now tumbling through interstellar space.”
This controversial theory was set forth by none other than experts from Harvard University.
Shmuel Bialy and Abraham Loeb from Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have taken a great interest in studying ‘Oumuamua.
They believe that the mysterious object could be “a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization.”
However, they also say that the interstellar visitor could be a lightsail-powered spaceship, which uses a massive sail to propel itself across the solar system using the Sun’s energy.
But despite the controversy, NASA still believes that the leading explanation for ‘Oumuamua is a natural one.
“The leading natural hypothesis for this unexpected deviation is internal gas jets becoming active on the Sun-warmed asteroid – but speculation and further computer simulations are ongoing,” NASA wrote.
“Oumuamua will never return, but modern sky monitors are expected to find and track similar interstellar asteroids within the next few years,” the US space agency concluded.