A new "alien spacecraft" paper poses a challenge for astrophysicists

An artist's illustration of a UFO in a forest

An artist's illustration of a UFO in a forest Image Shutterstock Ursatii

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 object, nicknamed 'Oumuamua, meaning "a messenger that reaches out from the distant past" in Hawaiian, was discovered in October 2017 by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii.

Researches found the object to be unusual, elongated shape and unexpected trajectory ruled out conventional possibilities, including an asteroid.

According to the recent reports, Avi Loeb, chair of Harvard's department of astronomy observed a mysterious object that flew close to the sun previous year to be an Alien Spacecraft. Further observations gave evidence the object was interstellar in nature, and it left the solar system even faster than it came in after slinging around the sun and reaching 196,000 miles per hour, according to NASA.

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Oumuamua, the first interstellar object known to enter our solar system, accelerated faster away from the Sun than expected, hence the notion that some kind of artificial sail that runs on sunlight - known as a light sail - may have helped push it through space. But 'Oumuamua didn't have a "coma", the atmosphere and dust that surrounds comets as they melt. "Alternatively, a more exotic scenario is that 'Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization". Some people point out that the speed of displacement of Oumuamua is compatible with that of a "comet " expelled" from his system, others criticise the method of calculation, recalling that the thesis of the space probe was discarded after the discovery of the meteor. Loeb says that astronomers should be scanning the sky for other interstellar objects, including possible light-sails.

"Like most scientists, I would love there to be convincing evidence of alien life, but this isn't it", said Alan Fitzsimmons, an astrophysicist at Queens University, Belfast. "And some of the arguments in this study are based on numbers with large uncertainties". "Most probably, our paper is wrong and there's a more simple explanation [for 'Oumuamua]", he says.

Katie Mack, an astrophysicist at North Carolina State University, also disagrees.

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

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