When they first saw it, in October 2017, several telescopes had their course for three nights until they lost sight.
It was not an ordinary object. It was measured at a length of 400 meters, its width was ten times larger and its surface was reddish. He turned quickly, had a chaotic trajectory, and his clarity changed abruptly.
Those who have seen it before, the astronomers of the Pan Stars' ongoing sound system, from the University of Hawaii, named it Omamua, which means "a distant messenger coming first" in Hawaii.
At first, the discussion of what Omuwa had had two possible answers: Comet or asteroid.
"We have tested many reasonable alternatives, and the most realistic thing is that Omamu should be a comet and that the resulting gases cause a small change in orbit," said David Parnoch, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Others, however, said that it was not a comet, because in observations they did not recognize the characteristic tail of the dust and ice particles that these travelers normally have from space.
Dr. Wes Fraser of the University of Queens in Belfast said in February this year His strange movement was probably meant to be hit by another object At some point in her history.
Now, a new study by some scientists from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in the US says that Omamu can be formed in a natural process "not yet known in interstellar space. [ISM, por sus siglas en inglés] Or on planetary-planetary disks. "
But another possibility they are consideringwhat Its origin, perhaps, is "artificial".
"Full Operational Test"
By saying "an artificial source," astronomers Shmuel Bailey and Abraham Loeb, authors of the new study, published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, said that " Oumuamua It could be a fully operational test sent to the Earth's environment by a foreign civilization"
Or it could be "a piece of advanced technological equipment", especially a solar sail, a device driven by solar radiation or solar wind plasma.
Bialy and Lob come to this conclusion due to the exceptionally high speed and trajectory that the telescopes were able to capture from Oumuamua during the three nights of their sight.
"This is the first object discovered in the solar system outside the solar system." Since his discovery, Oumwama has shown unusual features that make him a rare object, belonging to a group of objects not seen before, "Loeb told the BBC.
"What can accelerate the acceleration of Oumwamah? This is the basic question we are trying to answer. If it is not the tail of a kite that pushes it, what else can it be? We suggest that it is solar radiation." Explained the scientist.
- The Big Outer Invasion: What happened when six flying saucers landed in England
Loeb compares Oumuamua with solar sails created by our civilization, such as the IKAROS, the first interstellar probe powered by the Solar Sail, launched by the Japanese Space Exploration Agency (JAXA) in 2010 to Venus Star.
"If (Omuamu) is part of a collection of objects, Must be more revealed in the future. Only a small part of interstellar objects will be the technological remains of a foreign culture. But we have to examine everything that enters the solar system from interstellar space to know the true nature of Omuamua or other mysterious objects, "the scientist said.
"I'm not very convinced and I really believe that research is pretty flawed […] Carl Sagan once said: "Exceptional claims require extraordinary evidence," and this document has no evidence and no unusual evidence, "said Alan G. Jackson, a member of the Center for Planetary Science at the University of Toronto.
Jackson believes it If Umuahua is a solar sail, it will be thinner than the authors think Of the investigation.
In addition, it confirms that if it was a ship in operation "I'll have a much smoother ride And the acceleration is probably driven by radiation. "And if this is flawed, Jackson says that his movement"Will be affected much more by the radiation forces Of what you see. "
- Where do the mysterious radio signals that repeatedly come to Earth from space appear to be attributed to an extraterrestrial civilization?
Bialy and Bob make it clear in his article that observations of objects made by telescopes "are not conclusive enough to provide a clear picture of Umamua, and only one can speculate on his natural geometry and nature."
"Although periodic variations are observed in its considerable volume, There are still too many degrees of freedom – for example, the angle of observation, not uniform reflective, etc. – to clearly define its geometry. "
Alan Fitzsimons, an astrophysicist at Queen's University in Belfast, pointed out in an interview with Agence France-Presse: "Some of the arguments in this study They are based on numbers with large uncertainties"
At the expense of her tweeter, astrophysicist Katie Mac of the University of North Carolina said: "Scientists are happy to post an exaggerated idea if they do not have a" very easy "chance to make a mistake, they do not make it until the other options have been exhausted a dozen times.
Is Oumuamua proof that life exists on other planets? Lobov answered this question to the BBC: "I follow the Sherlock Holmes case:" When you remove any logical solution to the problem, the unreasonable, though impossible, is always true. "
You can now receive messages from BBC News World. Download the new version of our app and launch them so you do not miss out on our best content.