Do you remember the headlines from a little over 3 years ago in October 2017? For the first time in the history of space exploration, scientists intercepted a mysterious interstellar object from deep space passing through the solar system. There was a lot of talk about the alien object now known as Oumuamua three years ago, but we haven’t heard any news about the research in a while.
And here, at the very beginning of 2021, we finally return to this very interesting topic.
The latest news is related to the upcoming book by the chair of Harvard’s Department of Astronomy, Avi Loeb, which focuses on Oumuamua and everything related to this unique case of an intercepted object from space.
The book’s title is “Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth” and will be released later this month on January 26th.
Oumuamua: Did we witness the first clear sign of alien life?
Let’s go back to the discovery of Oumuamua in 2017. October 19 is considered the official date of the discovery, but the object actually entered the solar system on September 6 and it took time before astronomers found it.
The sequence of its movement is interesting. Initial theories suggested that it was a comet and then an asteroid, but the reality is that it has not yet been confirmed what exactly it is.
In normal cases with space objects, when they are under the influence of the sun’s gravity, the speed and trajectory can be calculated, but in-depth observations have shown that Oumuamua does not move according to the calculations of experts.
In fact, on September 9, 2017, the alien object began its orbit around the sun at an incredible speed of 196,000 miles per hour before continuing past Venus, Earth, and then into the depths of space.
Perhaps most interestingly, Oumuamua’s speed increased gradually, but significantly according to the understanding of science.
This would normally mean that it is a comet because in such a movement along the sun one can expect acceleration, but in the case of Oumuamua, the typical tail of the comet is missing.
Avi Loeb’s New Theories About Extraterrestrial Life
The entire new book is focused on Loebs theory that goes against the common scientific beliefs. He believes that Oumuamua could be technology or trash left by an alien civilization.
As you can probably guess, most scientists hardly agreed with his claims. It is more than obvious how most people in high positions would rather not discuss the possible existence of alien life.
There were even responses in the form of articles that provided some evidence against his claims. On the other hand, there is almost nothing we know about Oumuamua anyway.
For example, let’s take the shape of the object. The series of observations made after the discovery suggested that Oumuamua had the shape of a cigar – about 400 meters long and 10 times smaller in width.
The world has never seen an object with this shape before although there have been theories of such in existence in space in the past.
Actually, Loeb has a different suggestion about the actual shape of Oumuamua. He believes the object may be a large disk-shaped sail which would explain how it moves through space and how it accelerates.
In contrast, scientists against his ideas suggested that Oumuamua may accelerate with the help of frozen hydrogen in a similar way to how comets move. Loeb’s team responded to this theory with a scientific paper that proves that the hydrogen would have evaporated long before the object reached us.
Just as there is no convincing explanation based on our current knowledge of extraterrestrial objects, there is no reason to rule out the possibility that Oumuamua may be of literal extraterrestrial origin. Whether it is a working technology, a forgotten one, or abandoned garbage of an alien civilization, is not as important as just proving it.
This was the first object of its kind and to me, this is more than we need to focus our efforts to research it and potentially discover more of its kind. If there is one, there should be more, right?
Following this logic, if there is life on Earth, there should be more somewhere else. Maybe our current technological level is not advanced enough to capture and observe such objects. It may become possible once the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope is launched this year (hopefully).
Overall, the only way to confirm any of Avi Loeb’s theories about Oumuamua and its origin is to find more similar objects in space. For now, we should see what Loeb actually wrote in his book to understand his ideas better.
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• Letzter, R. (2020, August 19). Mystery of Interstellar Visitor ‘Oumuamua Gets Trickier.
• Mann, A. (2019, March 14). ‘Oumuamua: The First Interstellar Object.
• ‘Oumuamua In Depth. (2019, December 19).
• Sutter, P. (2019, September 30). Why Was ‘Oumuamua So Weird? New Research Tries to Track Its Origins.
• Tucker, R. (2021, January 03). A Harvard professor says an alien visited in 2017 – and more are coming.
This content was originally published here.