Scientists Now Say Interstellar Object May Have Been Alien Probe
Harvard scientists reexamined the bizarre, interstellar space object known as “Oumuamua,” which rocketed through our solar system late last year, resurrecting the possibility that it may be an alien probe. Academics and scientists were quick to write off the cigar-shaped object as a previously unknown type of bolide – a comet or asteroid – propelled in a highly unusual manner, but their observations are once again, being challenged.
Oumuamua, which means “a messenger sent to reach out in advance,” was first observed by Robert Weryk at the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii. He measured the object to be several hundred meters in length, or the size of a large sports stadium.
The size and shape of the object were calculated to be able to hold up to collisions with space dust and debris while maintaining enough momentum to travel the vast distance between stars, but recent examinations found a discrepancy in its mass-to-area ratio that doesn’t quite add up.
“Known solar system objects, like asteroids and comets, have mass-to-area ratios orders of magnitude larger than our estimate for ‘Oumuamua,” said Shmuel Bialy and Abraham Loeb of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
“If radiation pressure is the accelerating force, then ‘Oumuamua represents a new class of thin, interstellar material, either produced naturally, or of an artificial origin.”
They went on to speculate about the possibility of Oumuamua as a type of artificial satellite known as a lightsail, which is currently in development by the Breakthrough Initiative program founded by Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking. Loeb is a member of the Breakthrough Starshot Initiative.
“The lightsail technology might be abundantly used for transportation of cargos between planets or between stars. In the former case, dynamical ejection from a planetary system could result in space debris of equipment that is not operational anymore and is floating at the characteristic speed of stars relative to each other in the Solar neighborhood. This would account for the various anomalies of ‘Oumuamua, such as the unusual geometry inferred from its lightcurve,” Bialy and Loeb said.
Oumuamua hurdled through our solar system at 58,000 mph when it was discovered on Oct. 19, 2017. The object was then propelled by the Sun’s gravity, causing it to blast off on a hyperbolic trajectory out of our solar system at a rate of 196,000 mph.
This exit speed was initially attributed to a combination of a gravity assist from the Sun and outgassing – the release of gasses from a comet as its surface heats. But scientists noticed that Oumuamua didn’t show the typical “coma,” or cloud of gas, one might expect from an outgassing comet, making its high escape velocity especially strange.
This led Loeb and Bialy to consider another potential for Oumuamua… a more exciting one.
“Alternatively, a more exotic scenario is that ‘Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization,” the authors said.
Unfortunately it’s way too late for us to send a probe to Oumuamua or even to photograph it so that it could be studied properly, due to simply to its sheer speed and the distance it’s already travelled from Earth. Instead, Bialy and Loeb suggest we keep our eyes out for similar objects careening through our local celestial neighborhood.
For more on the potential techno-signatures of extraterrestrial civilizations watch this episode of Deep Space :
How to Prepare for Upcoming Solar and Lunar Eclipses
Eclipse season will be here soon, here’s what you can expect and how to prepare for this cosmic dance between the Sun, Moon, and Earth.
Both solar and lunar eclipses hold strong energy in astrology. They can shake us up and stimulate change within ourselves to reach our highest power. We will soon see a partial solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse. What can we expect from these cosmic events?
“Eclipses take place when we have lunar events, which are full moons or new moons that fall close to the nodal axis,” Astrologer Mercedes Arnus Arraut said. “So what is the nodal axis? The nodal axis is the axis of intersection between the orbit of the moon around the Earth and the orbit of Earth around the Sun. That intersection has a north and south, and those points are called nodes. So, the north node represents our destiny; or future, where we’re headed as humanity, what is our destination, what is our direction, where do we need to focus on. In the south, the south node represents our past; what we need to purge, what we need to cleanse, what we need to integrate, what we need to let go…”.
The first eclipse will be on April 30, but Arraut says we will feel it a lot sooner.
“We usually start feeling it around a month before the first eclipse takes place. So, this first eclipse that takes place, the 30th of April, brings many changes into our lives, since all eclipses are like catalysts that align us with our highest purpose. Eclipses literally will cleanse, detox, and be used as tools to show us what path we need to follow,” Arraut said.
Soon after the solar eclipse,we will see a lunar eclipse in May. How does this relate to the solar eclipse we just had?