Astronomers think that the Solar system called for a probe of aliens

Astronomers think that the Solar system called for a probe of aliens

Astronomers from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) have detected an unexpected boost in speed and shift in trajectory in the red object named Oumuamua as it passed through the inner solar system. So there's evidence both for and against the hypothesis that Oumuamua is a comet or comet-like.

And scientists still don't know if it represents an entirely new class of objects - neither comet nor asteroid - that are hurtling through the galaxy. For reference, Voyager 1, the spacecraft that's now leaving our solar system, is traveling at around 35,000 miles per hour.

"Beyond that, it becomes hard to trace because of the motion of the stars and any hypothetical alien civilisation would face the same issue in charting a course that long in the first place (aside from arguments about whether they would want to launch a craft they knew would not reach its destination for many millions of years)", Jackson said.

And it looks and acts a lot like the Starshot Initiative and the IKAROS project, both of which humans built to do pretty much the same thing the astronomers think Oumuamua was doing. They find that solar radiation pressure - i.e., the force the sun's radiation exerts on objects - is a plausible explanation for the object's acceleration, especially when they consider Oumuamua's odd elongated shape.

Despite the Harvard researchers' work, most scientists, NBC News says, are urging caution in assuming there's any other civilization beyond Earth's atmosphere - and that it's actively seeking us out. "Even if it was left deployed the dust accumulation would be primarily on the leading side like bugs on a windshield". In order for it to be effective, Oumuamua needs to be less than a millimeter in thickness, like a sail.

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The change in course and speed was so pronounced they concluded it "might be a lightsail of artificial origin".

This year, the mystery of Oumuamua deepened further. The scientific community at large has changed its mind a few times since then, and at this point it's unclear what the majority of astronomers actually believe, but at least a couple of them are still entertaining the possibility that the object was actually an alien spacecraft.

"They do", Dr David said.

"The likelihood of Galactic panspermia is strongly dependent upon the survival lifetime of the putative organisms as well as the velocity of the transporter", Manasvi Lingam and Loeb from this current study said in another paper published previously in the Astrophysical Journal.

Loeb said he is not definitively claiming the object is alien, but said it is important to acknowledge the possibility. There are plausible natural processes that might have done the trick, or maybe it really was aliens.

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