A massive flattened boulder-like object traveling through space with “peculiar acceleration” could be an alien craft, according to a new study.
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 Nov. 12 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Scientists have been confounded by the interstellar object first spotted tumbling past the sun a year ago via telescopes on Maui. It was dubbed ’Oumuamua, which means “scout” in Hawaiian.
Because of its unusual cigar shape and speed, some quickly speculated that it originated from an alien civilization. It was scanned for radio waves, but none were detected. Other scientists deemed it a comet, despite the lack of a traditional tail.
Now professor Avi Loeb, chairman of Harvard’s astronomy department, and post-doctoral fellow Shmuel Bialy have again raised the possibility that it’s an alien ship — or possibly a piece of one.
A certain “discrepancy” in the object’s movement “is readily solved if ’Oumuamua does not follow a random trajectory but is rather a targeted probe,” they write. Such a probe may have been intentionally sent for a “reconnaissance mission into the inner region of the solar system,” Loeb said in an email to Universe Today.
Alien-looking, otherwordly landscapes found on Earth
Alien-looking, otherwordly landscapes found on Earth
Dragon blood trees in rocky landscape, Homhil Protected Area, Socotra, Yemen
Mysterious moving rocks at a playa in Death Valley national Park called The Race Track
Turkey, Central Anatolia, Cappadocia, Unesco World Heritage Site, Uchisar village, the camel driver
Fire crater, gas crater, Door to Hell Darvaza crater, Derweze or Darvaza, Karakum Desert, Dasoguz Province, Turkmenistan
Kristal Icecave in BreiÃ°amerkurljÃ¶kul glacier in Iceland
The Haleakala silversword (Argyroxiphium sandwicense subsp. macrocephalum) is a rare plant found only the island of Maui on the dormant Haleakala volcano.Silverswords live between 3 and 90 years or more. They flower once, sending up a spectacular flowering stalk, and then die soon afterward, scattering drying seeds to the wind. Flowering events can differ dramatically from one flowering season to the next. The reasons for that are not understood.
Giant's Causeway on a cloudy day - Northern Ireland
Take in Athabasca Glacier, Jasper, Alberta, Canada
United States, Oregon, Dayville
Moeraki rocks found on the east coast of new zealand
High Angle View Of Grand Prismatic Spring In Yellowstone National Park
Frozen methane bubbles at Abraham lake at sunrise with beautiful sky.
A sand dune glows red at last light in this landscape image of the Namib Desert.
Salar de Uyuni hexagons at sunset
Colorful mountain in Danxia landform in Zhangye, Gansu of China.
The enchanting pools of Pamukkale in Turkey. Pamukkale contains hot springs and travertines, terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Deep underground cave exploration of Karst cave 'Krizna jama', Slovenia. Roughly 8-9 km long, from 30 to 125 m deep, lots of chambers, siphons, corridors, small islands and roughly 40 lakes, stalactites, stalagmites and other specifical Karst rock formations.
Dallol is volcano, Danakil desert, Ethiopia.
Michigan, United States of America
Snow covered wave taken during cold in Coyote Buttes North.
Egypt, Baharija, White desert
Cave halong bay
The blue ice cave at lake Baikal
This image was taken in the Fall of 2008 at Tufa State Park, Mono County, Mono Lake, California. This image is very rare as the lake water level is much higher now. I shot this at the cusp of dawn and no filters were used.
Zabriskie Point with Panamint Range in distance, Mojave Desert. Mutant nature Zabriskie Point is a part of Amargosa Range located east of Death Valley in Death Valley National Park in California, United States noted for its erosional landscape. It is composed of sediments from Furnace Creek Lake, which dried up 5 million years ago long before Death Valley came into existence.
Baobab trees (Adansonia Grandidieri) reflecting in the water under the milky Way, Morondava, Toliara province, Madagascar.
(GERMANY OUT) Western Australia - Nambung National Park - limestone formations, called Pinnacles, at dusk (Photo by Mayall/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Fingal's Cave on the Scottish Inner Hebrides island of Staffa.
Rocky cliffs reflected in the calm waters of Horseshoe Lake, Jasper National park, Alberta, Canada.
Abstract nature of Lower Antelope Canyon. The canyon is part of a series of slot canyons on Navajo land in Arizona, USA.
Sweden, Halsingland, Voxnan River at sunrise, winter
Huang Shan, Anhui Province, China
Nieve penitente is a spike or pillar of compacted snow or ice caused by differential melting and evaporation.
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It’s possible the object is propelled through space through some naturally occurring phenomenon. Or it could be an extraterrestrial spacecraft that relies on an “artificial” light sail that relies on solar radiation pressure to generate propulsion, according to Loeb.
“There is data on the orbit of this object for which there is no other explanation. So we wrote this paper suggesting this explanation,” Loeb told the Boston Globe. “The approach I take to the subject is purely scientific and evidence-based.”
Andrew Siemion, director of the Berkeley SETI Research Center, called the paper “intriguing” in an email to the Globe.
“Observational anomalies like we see with Oumuamua, combined with careful reasoning, is exactly the method through which we make new discoveries in astrophysics — including, perhaps, truly incredible ones like intelligent life beyond the Earth,” he wrote.
But SETI senior astronomer Seth Shostak said in an email to NBC that “one should not blindly accept this clever hypothesis when there is also a mundane explanation for ’Oumuamua — namely that it’s a comet or asteroid from afar.”
’Oumuamua is the first interstellar object ever observed in the solar system. Now it’s hurtling away and may never be seen again.