Published: Wed, November 07, 2018
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Cigar-shaped object could be alien spacecraft, Harvard researchers claim

Cigar-shaped object could be alien spacecraft, Harvard researchers claim

The truth is out there regarding the origins of a mysterious cigar-shaped object seen tumbling through the solar system a year ago, according to researchers from Harvard University who argue it may have been an alien spacecraft sent to investigate Earth. The team termed the possible propulsion system a "lightsail of artificial origin".

At the time, scientists described the object as "less than a quarter-mile in diameter" with a red surface, and astronomers said that it was moving "remarkably fast".

In a paper to be published November 12 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, the pair declare that the reddish, elongated, stadium-sized object "may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization", NBC News reported.

In a new scientific paper, Shmuel Bialy and Abraham Loeb of Harvard University in the U.S. will say cigar-shaped "Oumuamua" could be a spaceship.

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. According to the study, "this would account for the various anomalies of 'Oumuamua, such as the unusual geometry inferred from its lightcurve, its low thermal emission, suggesting high reflectivity, and its deviation from a Keplerian orbit without any sign of a cometary tail or spin-up torques".

The research paper said: "Considering an artificial origin, one possibility is that Oumuamua is a lightsail, floating in interstellar space as a debris from an advanced technological equipment".

'Oumuamua is the first object ever seen in our solar system that is known to have originated elsewhere.

"In science", he said in an email, "we must ask ourselves, "Where is the evidence?, not "Where is the lack of evidence so that I can fit in any hypothesis that I like?" "The approach I take to the subject is purely scientific and evidence-based".

Another scientist, also studying Oumuamua - and who identified four dwarf stars that could be Oumuamua's point of origin - says the object moved too haphazardly to collect any valuable information, even if it was a probe.

He raised questions in particular about the object's tumbling motion.

A certain "discrepancy" in the object's movement "is readily solved if 'Oumuamua does not follow a random trajectory but is rather a targeted probe", they write. 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.

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