A long, flat spacecraft that has been circulating scientists since it sailed past our last year's planet may actually be a strange technology, according to a new paper from Harvard researchers.
A paper written by Abraham Loeb, chairman of astronomy and Shmuel Bialy, a researcher at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics – was delivered to Astrophysical Journal Letters.
There they think that "Oumuamua – a terrible object that lagged behind us from a distant star system" can be a fully functioning probe, deliberately transmitted to the globe through strange civilizations. "
I pay Sherlock Holmes a fee. When you have left impossible impossible, what is left, but unlikely, must be the truth.– Abraham Loeb, astronomical chair at Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysics Center
"I'll pay Sherlock Holmes a fee," Loeb told reporters As it happens host Carol Off. "When you have left the impossible impossible, what is left, but unlikely, must be the truth."
Paper has not yet been reviewed in the peer review, and many researchers, including Oumuamua, are skeptical of Loeb's conclusions.
"Oumuama was discovered in October 2017 by Canadian astronomer Robert Weryk of the Hawaiian University Astronomy Institute.
It is our first known interstellar visitor – and scientists have struggled to explain it.
"It's very weird, we have not seen it before," Loeb said. "It seems to be an extreme shape that is based on the reflection of sunlight that has very strange dimensions, at least five times ten times as wide as it is."
Initially, scientists reported "Oumuamua as an asteroid" – most of the rock mostly contains very little water. In a closer inspection, it was later considered a comet consisting mainly of dust and ice.
But & # 39; Oumuamua does not behave like a comet.
What's more about "Oumuamuaa?
One has deviated from the trajectory that was expected to travel, given the gravity of the sun.
A comet can do it when it releases gases, creating a rocket effect outgassing. But & # 39; Oumuamua there is no related comet outgassing.
In addition, outgassing should have sent & # 39; Oumuamua spinning but no rotation has been detected.
So what sent this great mystery figure that went to space faster than speed at its natural course?
"In addition to gravity, something weighs it," Loeb said.
"The possibility we are suggesting is that it is sunlight – solar radiation gives a push and in order to be effective it must be very thin."
So thin, he says, it may be artificial.
Sailing in sunlight
One thing that fits in this description is a light sail, also known as a solar cell – a kind of propulsion by which a spacecraft moves with the sunlight by the force of radiation that is reflected in large mirrors.
Essentially light sailing with spacecraft flying in space in the sunlight.
Loeb is a breakthrough chairman of the Starshot Advisory Committee, which aims to launch light sailing to the nearest star, Proxima Centaur.
"Oomuama, he says, may be the alien version of this same technology.
"This may be a debris that is hardware, it can be dry, it may not be in operation," Loeb said.
"But at the same time, it could be the residual space ruin of another civilization, just because it is so special and not the rocks we see in the solar system."
"No reason to believe" alien theory: a scientist
Canadian researcher Weryk, who found Oumuamua and has examined it, has questioned Loeb's extracurricular theory.
"There is no reason to believe" Oumuamua is nothing more than a natural object (a comet from another solar system) based on the observations I received from my working group, "Weryk told the parent company as vice president.
"It's true that we really have a lot, we do not know interstellar comets, and it will bring us to find more of them to better understand them. This can take some time, but now that we know they're there we will look at each new [near-Earth object] we find it. "
Arts Technican author Eric Berger suggested that the news has gripped Loeb's undeniable theory for its "classic clickbait" title.
But like Loeb, he says that he is motivated only by curiosity and searching for truth.
"I do not play it based on what I expect my colleagues to say, I did it on the basis of my own interests," he said. "And the fact that the audience is interested is useful."
Written by Sheena Goodyear from Nicole Mortillo. Interview with Abraham Loeb, produced by Tracy Fuller.