A Harvard University astronomer has said that an extraterrestrial object skimmed through space close to Earth in 2017.

Harvard professor Avi Loeb, in his book ‘Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth‘ which is to be published this month, has said it was the first sign of intelligent life outside Earth.

According to the marketing summary of the book, scientists at a Hawaiian observatory saw “an object soaring through our inner solar system, moving so quickly that it could only have been from another star.”

The object, named 1I/2017 U1 ‘Oumuamua’ by Nasa, wasn’t a natural occurrence but a bit of space junk sent to us by aliens from another galaxy, Leob said.

“There was only one conceivable explanation: the object was a piece of advanced technology created by a distant alien civilization,” according to book’s publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH).

According to Nasa, 1I/2017 U1 ‘Oumuamua’ was the first known interstellar object to visit our solar system that was discovered October 19, 2017, by the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS1 telescope, funded by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations (NEOO) Program. The program finds and tracks asteroids and comets in Earth’s neighbourhood.

Oumuamua was originally classified as a comet, however, observations revealed no signs of cometary activity after it slingshotted past the Sun on September 9, 2017, at a blistering speed of 196,000 miles per hour (87.3 kilometers per second), as per information available on solarsystem.nasa.gov.

Nasa’s findings say that the space object had been wandering through the Milky Way Galaxy, unattached to any star system, for hundreds of millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system.

Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington had said in November 2017, that for decades scientists have anticipated that such interstellar objects are out there, and for the first time they had direct evidence that they existed.

According to the Businessinsider report, in the book-jacket blurb, Anne Wojcicki, CEO and co-founder of 23andMe, wrote that Loeb’s new book “convinces you that scientific curiosity is key to our future success.”

“An exciting and eloquent case that we might have seen a sign of intelligent life near Earth – and that we should search further,” Businessinsider quoted WWojcicki as saying.

In his upcoming book Avi Loeb lays out a compelling case for why Oumuamua that wandered into our solar system was not just another asteroid but most likely a disk less than a millimeter thick, with sail-like proportions that would justify for its unusual acceleration as it moved away from the sun, reports New York Post.

The report further said that Loeb believes the only way to look for alien civilizations is to look for their trash, like investigative journalists who look through celebrities’ trash.

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