A physicist has solved the mystery surrounding the interstellar object Oumuamua, which flew past Earth in 2017 at an unusually high speed.
Harvard professor Avi Loeb said in an interview with Salon that the fast cigar-shaped object may have been an interstellar spacecraft.
“Initially, astronomers suggested that it must be a comet, because these are the objects that are least associated with the stars,” Loeb said. “The problem with that was that there was no comet tail.”
Loeb wrote a book on the subject entitled “The Alien: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth.” The book is due out next week.
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“Some people say, ‘Okay, this isn’t a comet, maybe it’s just a rock.’ But the problem is that about half a year later, it was reported that there was an unnecessary push in addition to the force of gravity acting on it from the sun, “he continued. “It was showing some extra force. Usually that force comes from the rocket effect of the comet tail, but there was no comet tail. So the question was, what causes this unnecessary boost?”
Loeb said on the website that another object had been discovered that showed an unnecessary boost, called the 2020-SO, which he said was ultimately a rocket booster from a failed lunar landing mission, Surveyor II, launched in 1966. He said because this an object is artificially made and without a comet path, it “provides evidence” that we can distinguish between a rock and an object – like a rocket amplifier – that is pushed out by sunlight.
“For me, this demonstrates the case that maybe” Oumuamua was artificial, definitely not made by us, because it is only a few months close to us. We couldn’t even chase him with our best missiles, “he told Salon.
Loeb added that he was at the “brighter end of all the objects we have seen from the solar system.”
In November 2018, a study published by Loeb and others at the Harvard Smithsonian’s Center for Astrophysics suggested that Oumuamua could be a “light canvas of artificial origin” sent by another civilization. However, the researcher who discovered Oumuamua, Canadian physicist and astronomer Robert Verrick, said that the idea of being from another civilization was just “wild speculation”.
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Oumuamua, which means “tracker” or “scout” in Hawaiian, was first classified as an asteroid when it was spotted in 2017, traveling at 196,000 mph. Recently, however, it was found to be closer to the comet.
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NASA has confirmed that this is “the first object ever seen in our solar system that is known to have originated elsewhere.”
Fox News’ Chris Chiacha contributed to this report