Oumuamua May Have Been an Alien Spaceship, Astronomers Say

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A mysterious cigar-shaped object spotted tumbling through our solar system past year may have been an alien spacecraft sent to investigate Earth, astronomers from Harvard University have suggested. It was moving inexplicably fast but not circling the sun.

Scientists first called the object an asteroid, then later deemed it a mildly active comet.

But the object's unusual trajectory, high speed, and puzzling way it is speeding up as it moves through the solar system, have caused researchers to consider other possibilities.

"But it's important to distinguish that the researchers who wrote the new paper have expertise in solar sails, so they're suggesting that "Oumuamua could be like a solar sail, said Coryn Bailer-Jones of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy". But Oumuamua wasn't "coma", of the atmosphere and dust that surround the comet, when they melt.

But since Oumuamua's discovery, scientists have continued to wonder whether it could have originated from some intelligent life-form.

"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.

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New work by researchers at the Harvard Smithsonian center for astrophysics suggests the possibility that the elongated dark-red object, whose length is 10 times greater than the width, and the speed exceeds 315 thousand km/h, may have "artificial origin".

The pair say that after careful mathematical analysis that the object could be a spacecraft of the type know in space research circles as a "lightsail".

For example, the object's movement is not determined by the gravitational pull of the sun or planets, as is the case with asteroids.

The object was said to be 10 times longer than it is wide and it traveled at speeds of almost 200,000 miles per hour. These astronomers claim that the object could actually be "a lightsail of artificial origin" sent from some far-away civilization in the Universe. Given the name "Oumuamua" - which means messenger from afar arriving first, or scout, in Hawaiian - the object is believed to be the first interstellar visitor to our solar system. So the Harvard authors' "exotic" guesses are just as good as anyone's at this point.

Asked if he believed the hypothesis he put forward, Bialy told AFP: "I wouldn't say I "believe" it is sent by aliens, as I am a scientist and not a believer, I rely on evidence to put forward possible physical explanation for observed phenomena".

"I follow the maxim of Sherlock Holmes: When you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth", one of the authors, Abraham Loeb, said, according to NBC News.

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