Tech & Science 'Oumuamua might have been a space-yacht - scientists

01:56  04 november  2018
01:56  04 november  2018 Source:   msn.com

Scientists say interstellar object may be probe sent by "alien civilization"

Scientists say interstellar object may be probe sent by But others say take that with a "gigantic grain of salt"

Interstellar space object is not an asteroid or an alien spacecraft but a comet from another solar system, a new paper in the journal Nature says. Observations show that the interstellar visitor " Oumuamua " was traveling through space for millions of years before its chance encounter with our

But Listen's scientists may have been onto something: Whether there's life aboard or not, ' Oumuamua kind of has the makings of an interstellar "That was a real surprise," says University of Hawai'i astrobiologist Karen Meech, who has also published findings on ' Oumuamua in recent weeks

'Oumuamua might have been a space-yacht - scientists© Video - JPL/NASA; Image - ESO 'Oumuamua remains is a mystery.

Mysterious interstellar visitor 'Oumuamua might have been an ancient alien relic, researchers have suggested.

'Oumuamua appeared without warning late last year, zipping through the solar system from above. After months of analysis of the little data collected, scientists in June declared it was a comet.

Its strange movements were blamed on gas, but researchers at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics now say that might not be the case.

They're suggesting it sped up as it rounded the sun, rather than slow down, because it had a sail.

"We explain the excess acceleration of 'Oumuamua away from the sun as the result of the force that the sunlight exerts on its surface," researcher Abraham Loeb told space news site Universe Today.

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New research suggests the interstellar visitor may be a comet in disguise. An artist's impression shows the mystery space object ' Oumuamua . Although it looks like an asteroid, the first interstellar object spotted passing through the solar system, called ' Oumuamua , may be more like a comet in disguise.

Using data from the European Space Agency's Gaia probe, scientists have identified four stars that could have been home to the mysterious Oumuamua space One is a reddish dwarf star known as HIP 3757, another is a sunlike star called HD 292249; little is known about the other two stars.

"For this force to explain measured excess acceleration, the object needs to be extremely thin, of order a fraction of a millimetre in thickness but tens of meters in size. This makes the object lightweight for its surface area and allows it to act as a light-sail."

But where might the space-yacht have come from, and who built it? They're not so sure, suggesting it could have formed entirely naturally - or belong to a long-gone ancient alien civilisation.

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But a team of scientists has announced they may have made major progress on that second question, narrowing down the object's origins to just four stars. The research is based on data gathered in June that suggested ' Oumuamua wasn't just hurtling through space willy-nilly.

With scientists puzzled, ‘ Oumuamua was classed as an asteroid, and then when its origins were discovered it was relabelled as the first in the new class of “interstellar objects”. Now scientists say that as well as this designation, ‘ Oumuamua might be a comet after all. Writing in the journal Nature

"The assumption that 'Oumumua followed a random orbit requires the production of 10^15 such objects per star in our galaxy. This abundance is up to a hundred million times more than expected from the solar system, based on a calculation that we did back in 2009 - a surprisingly high overabundance, unless 'Oumuamua is a targeted probe on a reconnaissance mission and not a member of a random population of objects."

'Oumuamua was only barely spotted, and Prof Loeb suggests there could be many, many more probes just like it buzzing by, without us noticing.

The idea of a solar sail isn't science fiction - Japan launched a probe in 2010 called IKAROS which uses a sail as its main form of propulsion.

Asteroid Will Pass Earth Closer Than the Moon Saturday.
The space rock will barrel past Earth at four miles a second.

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