Note 1: Please refer to my blog of October 30, 2017, “A Mysterious Object from Deep Space passed through our Solar System,” and my blog of July 6, 2018, “NASA said, ‘Your Momma did what?’” for some additional background on this topic.
Note 2: Regarding claims that I am a “space nerd,” I must plead guilty. I hope some of you find this story as interesting as I do, or at least mildly interesting.
The object we’re referring to again here is named “Oumuamua” (Pronounced: ooh-moo-eh-moo-eh. It is a Hawaiian term meaning “scout,” “pathfinder” or “messenger”). It is the first interstellar object ever spotted in our system, and it’s been described as a “metallic or rocky object” approximately 1,312 feet in length and 131 feet wide.
NASA and the European Space Agency may have ruled the object to be a comet (A comet with no tail!), but a new study from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CFA) says it could be something much more exciting! It could be “a light sail of artificial origin” sent from another civilization!
That is definitely more exciting! Wait…, what’s a “light sail?”
A “light sail,” also known as a “solar sail” or a “photon sail,” is a kind of space propulsion method which uses radiation pressure exerted by sunlight on large mirrors. It’s kind of like a sail on a sailboat. The light exerting a force on the mirrors is like a sail being blown by the wind.
The study, which was posted online earlier this month, suggests that Oumuamua’s strange “excess acceleration” could be artificial in nature.
“Considering an artificial origin, one possibility is that Oumuamua is a light sail, floating in interstellar space as a debris from an advanced technological equipment,” researchers wrote in the paper.
The paper continues: “Light sails with similar dimensions have been designed and constructed by our own civilization, including the IKAROS project and the Starshot Initiative. The light sail technology might be abundantly used for transportation of cargos between planets or between stars.”
They even theorized that Oumuamua “may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth’s vicinity by an alien civilization.”
The paper was written by postdoctoral researcher Shmuel Bialy and Professor Abraham (Avi) Loeb, the director at the CFA’s Institute for Theory and Computation.
Other studies have suggested that other “Oumuamua-like objects” will potentially enter our solar system, with some potentially carrying “life.”
Oumuamua was discovered in October 2017 by the PanSTARRS1 telescope after it spotted a new spot of light coming from a strange direction at an unusually fast speed.
Oumuamua is now traveling away from the Sun at a rate of approximately 70,000 mph, towards the outer part of the solar system. In approximately four years, it will fly past Neptune’s orbit, on its way to exiting our solar system.
Thanks to Chris Ciaccia of Fox News for contributing to this article.
NOTE: If you’re not already “following” me and you liked my blog(s) today, please scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the “Follow” button. That’ll keep you up to date on my latest posts.
Thank you, MrEricksonRules.