Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Why Harvard researchers' suggestion of an alien space probe is probably wrong

Interstellar object Oumuamua may be ‘alien probe’ Harvard scientists Click for full image
Sandra Phillips | 09 November, 2018, 21:44

But the current telescope technology available found nothing of note on the asteroid.Still, there were some unusual things about 'Oumuamua: Normally, scientists would assume that an interstellar object would be a comet. Second, it seemed to be getting faster-and not through the gravitational pull of other objects, as researchers would expect.The mystery prompted Shmuel Bialy, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and Avi Loeb, another Harvard astronomer, to attempt to figure out what was going on with 'Oumuamua.

Harvard researchers have suggested a mysterious interstellar object that was spotted floating in space in 2017 could be an "alien" spacecraft sent on a reconnaissance mission to probe the Earth.

The theory is based on the object's "excess acceleration", or its unexpected boost in speed as it traveled through and ultimately out of our solar system in January.

In June 2018, Marco Micheli of the European Space Agency and colleagues showed that the trajectory of the object through the solar system can not be explained exclusively by the gravitational attraction of the Sun, planets and large asteroids.

We may never know if they are correct.

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"'Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization", they wrote in the paper, which has been submitted to the Astrophysical Journal Letters. "It has already been shown that the observed characteristics of the object are consistent with those of a comet-like body ejected from another star system", he says. For this to happen, however, 'Oumuamua must less than 1 mm thick and be just a few metres across - which is much smaller and thinner than previously thought. Bialy and Loeb concluded maybe it came from an "artificial origin", implying that it was made by something other than natural formation.

"Like most scientists, I would love there to be convincing evidence of alien life, but this isn't it", said Dr Alan Fitzsimmons of Queens University Belfast.

At least, that's what astronomers from Harvard University suggest in a research paper. His main interest is to have been in 2017, the first object identified in the process of passing through our solar system so that it is not native.

"It is impossible to guess the objective behind Oumuamua without more data", Loeb was quoted as saying.

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