It was around a year ago when NASA first reported on the presence of Oumuamua, a cigar-shaped asteroid that looks like one of the alien spaceships from Independence Day. This was the first interstellar object to enter our solar system from another part of the galaxy.
‘Oumuamua’ means “a messenger from afar arriving first” in Hawaiian and it’s been hurtling through our galaxy at a speed of 200,000 MPH. Around 9 months ago, when Dr. Stephen Hawking was still alive, it was reported that he and a group of scientists were looking into the possibility that Oumuamua could be an alien spaceship.
Flash forward to this week and news has spread that two researchers at Harvard’s astronomy department have co-authored a paper claiming Oumuamua could be an alien spacecraft being pushed through space, propelled by light hitting the surface of the spaceship. This theory stems from Oumuamua speeding up as it passed the sun.
In the research paper, they refer to Oumuamua as a potential “lightsail of artificial origin.” Shmuel Bialy and Avi Loeb, chairman of Harvard’s astronomy department, recognize that the idea of this being an alien spaceship is fairly radical and one that other scientists will be quick to reject but they are putting forth every possible explanation for why this bizarre structure is hurtling so fast through our solar system.
NBC News reports:
“It is impossible to guess the purpose behind Oumuamua without more data,” Avi Loeb, chairman of Harvard’s astronomy department and a co-author of the paper, told NBC News MACH in an email. If Oumuamua is a lightsail, he added, one possibility is that it was floating in interstellar space when our solar system ran into it, “like a ship bumping into a buoy on the surface of the ocean.”
Loeb and his collaborator, Shmuel Bialy, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, acknowledge that the alien spacecraft scenario is an “exotic” one. And perhaps not surprisingly, other space scientists have strong doubts about it.
“It’s certainly ingenious to show that an object the size of Oumuamua might be sent by aliens to another star system with nothing but a solar sail for power,” Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, said in an email. “But one should not blindly accept this clever hypothesis when there is also a mundane (and a priori more likely) explanation for Oumuamua — namely that it’s a comet or asteroid from afar.” (via)
If it IS an alien spaceship, what’s next?
I think Maddie’s onto something here:
This person’s thread on Twitter has some good arguments against this being an alien spacecraft but you’ll have to read the full Harvard paper to determine the legitimacy of these claims for yourself.
Evidence. We need some damn evidence.
It’s time to scramble Bruce Willis and his crew so we can shoot them into space and have them land on the alien spaceship and figure out for sure whatever this thing is. That’s our only course of action.
You can read the full published paper from Harvard here.