The first mysterious object to reach our solar system was originally thought to be a comet or an asteroid from within the system. But now, physicist Stephen Hawking is leading an investigation into whether or not this object is a spaceship from an alien civilization.
Soon after the celestial object reached our solar system, scientists discovered that it is neither a comet nor an asteroid as previously assumed. The object’s official name is A/2017 UI but has been dubbed “Oumuamua”, which loosely means “a messenger that reaches from the distant past” in Hawaiian. Scientists also discovered that the object had traveled unimaginable distances through interstellar space at almost 200,000 mph.
All these findings grabbed the attention of renowned physicist, Stephen Hawking. A scientific body led by Hawking is now trying to decipher whether the “cigar-shaped” object is an alien probe or a previously unseen natural phenomenon. Astrophysicists theorize there are between one and ten “visitors” per year in our solar system but they move so quickly that we have never seen one before
“Perhaps the aliens have a mothership that travels fast and releases baby spacecraft that freely fall into a planetary system on a reconnaissance mission,” said Avi Loeb, a professor of astrophysics at Harvard University. “If this object is natural in origin, there should be many more like it in the solar system… and even if most of them are natural, perhaps one of them will be found to be of artificial origin, some space device or junk from an alien civilization, he said. “The more I study this object, the more unusual it appears, making me wonder whether it might be an artificially made probe which was sent by an alien civilization.”
The £75 million program that searches for evidence of intelligent life beyond Earth called Breakthrough Listen is led by Hawking,and is attempting to detect any evidence of alien technology transmitting from the object. Andrew Siemion, research center director at the Search for Extraterrestrial Life (SETI)– which works for Breakthrough – said it would begin a ten-hour observation tomorrow for specific signs of alien technology.
It will search on the electromagnetic spectrum using the Green Bank telescope in West Virginia. “It’s like a radio station you tune into with your car stereo,” said Dr. Siemion. “Nature doesn’t broadcast on a very specific frequency, its smears it out across color and time. Technology behaves differently. It can compress electromagnetic energy and so we look for those specific signs and for repeating patterns which nature doesn’t tend to do. We look for structure.”
Researchers say a long cylindrical shape like Oumuamua’s would reduce damage from interstellar gas and dust. Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, a leader a Breakthrough Listen said: “Whether it’s artificial or not, we will definitely know more about this object.”