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Is it true that the asteroid Oumuamua is an alien messenger?

I don't know if you know, but October 18, 2017there was a real invasion of our solar system. The mysterious object "Oumuamua", which means scout or messenger from afar in Hawaiian, was discovered by astronomers using the Pan-STARRS telescopes in Hawaii and was originally classified as an interstellar comet. However, further observations with the VLT telescope at the European Southern Observatory did not reveal any signs of a comet, and Oumuamua soon acquired the status of an asteroid. It is noteworthy that the speed of this celestial guest was so high that after the discovery, astronomers had only four months to observe - 120 days after its discovery, the object moved too far from the Sun and all observations were stopped. But how and why did Oumuamua get into our rather inconspicuous solar system? Avi Loeb, a professor in the Department of Astronomy at Harvard University, seems to have found the answer to this and other questions. But the scientific community is not in a hurry with conclusions.

The figure shows the interstellar object Oumuamua as a mass of fragments displaced into an elongated shape by stellar tidal forces.

Interstellar guest

Asteroid Oumuamua is unlike any other objectwhich astronomers have ever seen. It moved too fast to be native to our solar system, its orbit was unusual, and it also had no traditional signs of an asteroid or comet. Moreover, the analysis of the data showed that the asteroid has an unusual elongated cigar-like shape and moves at a speed of about 26 kilometers per second relative to the Sun.

In 2018, researchers from the Institute of AstronomySociety of Max Planck found that Oumuamua, with a high degree of probability, came from the constellation Cetus, located 77 light-years from Earth. Other candidates are the constellation Monoceros 135 light years from us and a point close to the solar apex in the constellation Lyra Solar apex - this is a point on the celestial sphere in the direction which this or that space object is moving at a given moment in time.

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Considering that objects like Oumuamua scientistsnever seen before, astronomers around the world became interested in the mystery of its origin. In the spring of 2020, astrophysicists at the University of California and the National Astronomical Observatories of China used computer simulations to show how objects like an interstellar visitor can be formed by tidal forces like those affecting Earth's oceans. Their theory of education explains all of Oumuamua's unusual characteristics.

Oumuamua's trajectory looks like this.

“We have shown that interstellar objects likeOumuamua, can be formed as a result of extensive tidal fragmentation during close collisions of their parent bodies with the host stars, and then ejected into interstellar space, ”the University of California website quoted the University of California website as professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics.

Authors of the article published in the journal NatureAstronomy also argue that, on average, each planetary system should emit a total of about 100 trillion objects similar to Oumuamua. But not all scientists agree with the findings. Among those who believe that the interstellar visitor is not as simple as it seems is the professor of astronomy at Harvard University Avi Loeb. He suggested that Oumuamua's unusual characteristics could be attributed to ... alien interference.

See also: If aliens contact us, will we understand them?

Oumuamua - an alien ship?

Israeli-American theoretical physicist Avi Loeb,Dean of the Faculty of Astronomy at Harvard University is one of the most inventive and eloquent scientists in the world. He writes frequently for Scientific American and publishes articles on a wide range of topics. In his new book, Aliens: The First Signs of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth, the professor makes a compelling scientific case for Oumuamua's otherworldly origins and delves into why his colleagues are so hostile to the idea of ​​life outside our planet.

First, according to Loeb, we simply did not have timecollect enough data on Oumuamua to be confident in the origin of the object. Plus, no one expected him to be so strange. Only a year after the discovery of the asteroid, the scientific community realized that this interstellar traveler was unusual, and he received additional acceleration without the release of gas. Loeb asserts that it cannot be ruled out thatDue to its similarity with the light probe, Oumuamua is part of an alien research mission.

Asteroid Oumuamua next to the Sun as seen by the artist. Scientists have no real photographs of this mysterious object.

The document, published on the portal of the Cornell University library, does not exclude that Oumuamua may be a purpose-built man-made object.

Second, as The New York Times writes, central to Loeb's argument is what he calls "Wager Oumuamua" - the speech about the famous Pascal's bet thatthe positives of believing in God far outweigh the negative. Likewise, the belief that Oumuamua is an alien spacecraft can only make us more alert and receptive to thinking outside the box.

“If we dare to bet that Oumuamua- a sample of advanced extraterrestrial technology, we will only win, ”writes Loeb. “About a quarter of the 200 billion stars in our galaxy are around planets that are potentially habitable, like Earthlings. Given the many worlds with such favorable conditions for life, it is highly likely that intelligent organisms evolved elsewhere. "

Asteroid Oumuamua could indeed be a spaceship.

Third, Loeb compares the study of interstellarobjects with the collection of shells washed ashore. Studying seashells, we learn about their different origins, but not all of them are the same - sometimes we come across what was once a plastic bottle. Just like we study seashells on the seashore, astronomers must study any object in the solar system and study its properties. Indeed, the discovery of alien life would be the greatest discovery in the history of science and human civilization. Do you think Avi Loeb is right? We will wait for the answer here, as well as in the comments to this article.