- The mysterious cigar-shaped asteroid that passed through our solar system in 2017 may have been a piece of alien space junk.
- Harvard professor Avi Loeb suggests that the object could be a piece of garbage discarded from an alien civilization that resided nearby.
- The asteroid shape and bizarre behavior led Loeb to this theory, although he is not the only one who suggested it.
In 2017, something very strange went through our solar system. It was the first interstellar object ever seen by mankind, and it was unlike anything astronomers had ever seen. It was a long cigar-shaped object that spun quickly and was dark red in color. At first, scientists believed it was an asteroid, but then the consensus seemed to shift to a comet before the scientific community agreed that it had to be an asteroid.
Amid all that confusion and rapid data collection as the object traveled back to interstellar space, some began to wonder if the object could be evidence of an alien civilization. Was a probe sent to monitor the Earth? Was it a spaceship with an alien crew inside? Or maybe a piece of trash thrown towards our planet after being discarded by an alien race that goes into space? Avi Loeb, Harvard professor published an article shortly after the discovery suggesting the possibility that the object, called Oumuamua, had alien origins, and he ‘has not given up since then.
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At the time, Loeb’s article was considered highly controversial. Many in the astronomical community have openly criticized it, suggesting that Loeb had written it simply to get attention and that it had little or no scientific merit. However, there are a number of things about Oumuamua that have not yet been fully explained.
To begin with, the shape of the object was highly unusual. The researchers have proposed theories that potentially explain how an asteroid can take the shape of a cigar over time, but the fact that we have never seen anything even remotely similar is noteworthy. In addition, the object actually accelerated as it exited the solar system. After an object revolves around the Sun, it must slow down as it moves away from the star due to the pull of gravity. This did not happen with Oumuamua.
Some scientists have proposed that the object was “releasing gas” or proposing and gaining speed due to the heated gases that escaped from it after its close encounter with the sun. This is possible, but Loeb suggests another explanation.
Like SlashGear reports, Loeb is about to launch a new book in which he argues that, based on new calculations, the object may not have been long and cylindrical, but actually thin and disk-shaped. Loeb argues that it may have been a remnant of a solar sail, which is still a largely theoretical component of a propulsion system that would use particles that move away from a star to actually charge an object and eventually reach high speeds.
Now that the object is long gone and the little data we have about it has been studied continuously, it is unlikely that we will ever be able to say definitively what Oumuamua really was. Still, Loeb’s theory is tempting, as it would mean that there is an alien civilization possibly residing nearby, and if we are seeing its trash, we may eventually be able to see who did it.