Is it a comet? Is it an astreroid? Is it… an alien spaceship? Ever since ‘Oumuamua came tumbling into our solar system in late 2017 (and left almost just as quickly), it has been up for debate. The object visited our solar system only briefly so there was little time to investigate. Still, we know some things about the object. On November 12 (2018), a paper written by Harvard researchers will be published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters and it raises a peculiar question: Could ‘Oumuamua be an alien spacecraft?
It isn’t the first time this option comes up. Quickly after the news of ‘Oumuamua spread, the internet became to speculate about a possible alien invasion. Was it an alien craft that was damaged in its own solar system and became adrift speeding through our solar system? The object is reddish and has a flattened, elongated shape. It behaved unusual for any object that we know of. For instance, the object seemed to accelerate which is strange behavior for a comet. It’s one of the main things this particular paper is focusing on.
That we see the UFO and alien community getting excited about this object was to be expected. Even outside this field people started to speculate and fantasies. What if this is a spaceship adrift? It would be the finding of, well since forever to be quite frank. And I personally am one of the people who wants to believe. Who wouldn’t want ‘Oumuamua to be an alien spaceship? But to find a paper by researchers from Harvard published in a science publication is remarkable.
The first science reactions have already been given, some call the paper “poop” on twitter, some say the paper is weak in its claims (aka it lacks solid claims). The paper uses words like probably, maybe and could be a lot. Science is researching all possibilities and ‘Oumuamua being an alien spaceship is indeed a possibility. The paper looks very scientific with its equations indeed. If it is worth a science publications is now up for debate. It doesn’t say it’s an alien spaceship. Only that it could be, maybe and perhaps.
As long as we haven’t ruled out it being one, it could be. It can be anything. And researchers have every right to speculate. It’s part of their job. I would like to see ‘Oumuamua to be an ancient alien spacecraft, that got lost, damaged and desperate finding its way home. A bit like the Voyager in one of the Star Trek series. But it could be a space rock. Whatever it is, it’s from outside our solar system and that in itself should be exciting enough in itself. It is possible to travel across various systems. And that, that is cool too.
It’s still a wild guess as to why the researchers have chosen to publish this paper. You can’t conclude from the paper that they believe the thesis itself. It’s actually the media attention that is putting the focus on the alien spaceship, the actual paper has as a title “Could solar radiation pressure explain ‘Oumuamua’s peculiar acceleration?” This acceleration is baffling indeed. And yes, it could be explained by aliens who would have used the light-sail technique. This technique isn’t unknown to us but is rather taking baby steps at the moment, especially compared to the alien spaceship. If it is one.
It’s too bad we can’t study ‘Oumuamua anymore and perhaps we should have paid more attention, even though we did as much as we could. Unless the owners of the spaceship will contact us, asking whether we had seen their ship passing by, we will never know what it really was. But it has raised questions and triggered new ways of thinking of how our universe works. And we have scientists who dare to take the words Aliens and Extraterrestrial Intelligence into their mouths. And that is worth something as well