Harvard scientists say mysterious space object may be from ‘alien civilization’

An illustration of ‘Oumuamua the first object we’ve ever seen pass through our own solar system that has interstellar origins

". Alternatively, a more exotic scenario is that 'Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization".

The team suggests it could be a "lightsail of artificial origin" sent on a journey by an alien civilization residing somewhere in deep space.

Light sail technology has already been developed by scientists here on Earth, such as Japan's IKAROS project and the Starshot Initiative, the authors write.

Oumuamua, which translates as "distant messenger from the past" in Hawaiian, can reach speeds of up to 196,000mph.

It withstood collisions with gas and dust-grains, as well as stresses from the rotation and tidal forces of space, according to researchers.

The object shot past our Sun last October, being observed as something literally from out of this world (i.e. not from our solar system).

"Two very capable, very bright astronomers, from a very credible organization, Harvard, have come out with the notion that Oumuamua could be alien in origin", Diamond said.

Similar to how a sailing boat uses the wind in its sail to push it forward, a spacecraft with a light sail uses the light from a nearby star to propel it, with radiation pressure exerting a tiny amount of force.

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A new paper from the Harvard scientists Shmuel Bialy and Abraham Loeb suggests that quirks in Oumuamua's rotation and speed could be the result of solar-powered movement.

The object's flat, elongated shape and reddish colour is from outside our solar system, according to the researchers. Loeb is saying that the Oumuamua doesn't exhibit the type of characteristics seen in other comets and asteroids.

The mysterious space object has fascinated scientists ever since it was observed traveling past the sun a year ago. In fact, some scientists seem to think that the simplest explanation for the object is probably the most plausible.

"Any functional spacecraft would nearly certainly retract its solar sail once in interstellar space to prevent damage", Mr Jackson said.

Astronomers originally thought the flattened, stadium-sized object was a comet or asteroid that came from our own solar system.

Of course, the pair aren't claiming that Oumuamua's definitely of alien origin.

Governments do have secret plans in place for the possibility of an alien landing, but they'd fall apart instantly if it ever actually happened, an astronomer has told LBC.

"The likelihood of Galactic panspermia is strongly dependent upon the survival lifetime of the putative organisms as well as the velocity of the transporter", Manasvi Lingam and Loeb from this current study said in another paper published previously in the Astrophysical Journal.

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