‘Oumuamua, estimated to be 200m in diameter, is the first interstellar object ever found in the Milky Way and was first spotted in October 2017 by the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS1 telescope while it was looking for comets and asteroids near the Earth.
The long, cigar-shaped rock was observed by experts to be spinning and accelerating at a phenomenal speed, known as “non-gravitational acceleration,” with some scientists baffled as to why.
Most experts agree ‘Oumuamua is probably a new kind of comet propelled by a mechanism we simply don’t understand yet.
But Professor Avi Loeb, who runs the Department of Astronomy at Harvard University, insists the most rational explanation for it is that it’s alien.
Prof Loeb has deduced the rock is a “sail” being propelled through space by photons, and sails (used by scientists on Earth) have to be constructed as they are not naturally occurring.
And now, speaking on the Big Brains podcast, the professor has said humans could stand to gain an awful lot by learning about other civilizations through “space archeology”.
The professor says ‘Oumuamua could be a “technological relic” that’s billions of years old and that just as we would study the Mayans or other civilizations from Earth’s past, we should do the same for whoever or whatever sent ‘Oumuamua through our solar system.
He said: “So communicating with them might be an unlikely occurrence, but if you are adapting the approach of space archeology, you don’t care about that because you’re looking for relics they left behind.
“Of course, they would indicate that civilizations, but you can try and figure out why they died and perhaps avoid a similar fate for ourselves.
“So it could be a lesson in history for us, it would keep us modest and better equipped for the future.
“The other thing that could happen is if you find technologies that are far more advanced than ours, we can import them to earth.
“If we see an unusual object, we can in principle land on it, read off the label, ‘‘Made on planet X,’’ so we will know its origin, but also perhaps, copy that technology to earth.
“And, it might be a way of short-cutting into our future because it would take us many years to develop the same technology, so there are lots of benefits that I can imagine for humanity from just finding technological relics in space.”
The bizarre object shook the scientific community when it was found in 2017, not just because of its distant origin and strange shape but also its inexplicable speed.
He’s previously speculated that our solar system could be filled with quadrillion alien spaceships of which we have no knowledge.
And in a recent interview with The Economist, Professor Loeb has said that the bizarre cigar-shaped object may have actually been a message from a distant, more technologically advanced civilization.
By email@example.com (Joshua Smith)