'Oumuamua: Comet or Alien Probe?

Illustration of Oumuamua

Illustration of Oumuamua

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".

"It's certainly ingenious to show that an object the size of Oumuamua might be sent by aliens", says SETI Institute astronomer Seth Shostak.

IThe 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 2018.

It withstood collisions with gas and dust-grains, as well as stresses from the rotation and tidal forces of space, according to researchers.

Oumuamua has now left the solar system and is no longer visible even with telescopes. Studies re-examining the light signals more carefully suggest that Oumuamua could be very elongated cigar-shaped to pancake-shaped."What is clear is that it can't have a shape that is almost spherical - like normal rocks we know", he said.Loeb said the mystery of Oumuamua's origin remains. "Technology light sails may be used to transport cargo between planets or between the stars".

Since scientists could not explain its unusual shape and the exact origin, so at first called it a comet, and then an asteroid before giving it a title: a new class of "interstellar objects". Other scientists deemed it a comet, despite the lack of a traditional tail.

For the first time, a mysterious space object "Omului" was seen at the end of 2017.

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.

Since its discovery, scientists have found themselves puzzled due to the unusual features of the interstellar object.

Some are not so sure the cigar-shaped 'Oumuamua is a solar sail, however.

Mr Bailer-Jones led a group of scientists earlier this year who identified four dwarf stars as likely origin points for Oumuamua.

Solar sails also can't change course after being launched, so if 'Oumuamua was truly a solar sail, it would be traceable back to its origin.

In December 2017 it was announced the astronomers were going to scan Oumuamua for signs of alien life. "Even the authors probably do not believe it themselves".

"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.

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