Oumuamua: this space object was not sent by aliens to save us

Illustration of Oumuamua

Illustration of Oumuamua

The object, dubbed "Oumuamua", immediately captured the attention of the astronomy world, in part because of its unusual look and behavior, but also because it was the first observed object from outside the solar system.

When Oumuamua was spotted previous year, scientists observed that its speed had increased after passing the Sun.

Although it's been called a comet or an asteroid in the past, it's still unclear exactly what the elongated, red-tinged object is and where it came from.

Scientists first discovered the mysterious interstellar object now known as "Oumuamua" in late 2017 when it was spotted by thePan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii.

In a new paper, scientists from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics break down the case for the cigar-shaped object being of extraterrestrial origin. It was moving inexplicably fast but not circling the sun.

Since scientists are not able to explain the unusual features of a celestial body and its origin, giving it finally a new class of "interstellar objects". It's also possible Oumuamua was just created to wander through space, collecting information, and our solar system just happened to be in its way - its operators weren't necessarily looking to pry into the lives of humans.

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.

But since Oumuamua's discovery, scientists have continued to wonder whether it could have originated from some intelligent life-form. The paper, due to be published November 12 in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, focuses on how an object like Oumuamua could be a "light sail" which uses solar radiation pressure to propel an object ahead.

The researchers aren't claiming outright that aliens sent Oumuamua. NBC News reports that denizens of this planet have launched their own lightsail probes, mostly to investigate other star systems, now unreachable by humans.

"There was something affecting its motion other than the gravitational forces of the Sun and planets", Marco Micheli of the European Space Agency, which was tracking the object, said in a June press statement. Astronomers originally thought the flattened, stadium-sized object was a comet or asteroid that came from our own solar system.

"One possibility is that Oumuamua is a lightsail, floating in interstellar space as a debris from an advanced technological equipment", the paper says. It is expected to shoot past Saturn and leave the solar system in early 2019, according to the agency.

The paper, written by Abraham Loeb, professor and chair of astronomy, and Shmuel Bialy, a postdoctoral scholar, at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, points out that comparable light-sails already exist on earth.

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