Chinese scientists shoot at idea oddly shaped Oumuamua asteroid is STRANGE, despite Harvard professor insisting it could be ‘thin craft’ sending probes to Earth
- Chinese scientists say it’s ‘extremely unlikely’ that the oddly shaped Oumuamua asteroid first sighted in 2017 is an alien ship
- If it were such a ship, perhaps it would have to be propelled by an extremely thin light sail that captures particles from stars to create motion
- The peer-reviewed Chinese study analyzed data to poke holes in Harvard professor Avi Loeb’s theory that the ship is propelled by light sails
- “The possibility that Oumuamua is a light sail is extremely unlikely,” Shangfei Liu, an astronomer and co-author of the study, told The Daily Beast.
Scientists in China say it’s highly unlikely that the elongated Oumuamua asteroid that raced into our solar system is an alien spacecraft — despite claims by a controversial Harvard professor to the contrary.
The first known interstellar object to visit our solar system, which is anywhere from 300 to 3,000 feet long, was first observed in October 2017 by the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS1 telescope and caused quite a stir.
Astronomers were stunned — some said it was a comet and others claimed it was an alien craft or a remnant of a Pluto-like planet.
Harvard physicist Avi Loeb wrote in his 2021 study of the object’s possible origin: “Each of these models of natural origin has major quantitative flaws, so the possibility of an artificial origin for Oumuamua must be considered. Oumuamua’s anomalies suggest that it may have been a thin vessel – with a large surface area per unit mass – propelled by the reflection of sunlight.’
A new peer-reviewed study by a group of Chinese scientists is analyzing the data we have on Oumuamua to poke holes in Loeb’s claim about how such an alien craft could move through space.
Scientists in China say it’s highly unlikely that the elongated Oumuamua asteroid (seen above in an artist’s rendering) zipped into our solar system is an alien spacecraft — despite a controversial Harvard professor’s claims to the contrary
This very deep combined image shows the interstellar asteroid Oumuamua in the center of the image. It is surrounded by the trails of faint stars smeared out as the telescopes tracked the moving asteroid
In order for the rocky, cigar-shaped object that zoomed past the sun at 196,000 miles per hour to to be being an alien ship, it may have to be pushed forward by some sort of extremely thin light sail that catches particles from stars.
Harvard physicist Avi Loeb (above) wrote in his research into the possible origins of Oumuamua that something artificial should be considered
The scientists wrote in their paper that has been accepted for publication in the log Astronomy and Astrophysics: ‘The dynamics of an intruding light sail, if it exists, has clear perceptual characteristics, which can be quantitatively identified and analyzed in future studies with our methods.’
“We conclude that the possibility that Oumuamua is a light sail is extremely unlikely,” said Shangfei Liu, an astronomer at Sun Yat-sen University in Zhuhai, China. The everyday beast.
Light sails, also known as shade sails, use photons – tiny particles of electromagnetic energy – much like a sailboat uses wind. If they were part of a spacecraft, they would reflect either a lot of light or very little.
Shangfei, one of the study’s co-authors, explained to the Daily Beast that Oumuamua should have been very bright in some areas and then essentially invisible in others. Although the oddly-shaped object got brighter and darker, it didn’t get bright enough, he says.
“If it was a light sail, the brightness variation would have to be much greater.”
However, Loeb told the news channel that the asteroid’s fuzzy appearance could be explained by the shape of its sail — which could be flat or more like an umbrella.
Oumuamua could be a spacecraft “in other forms,” Shangfei told the Daily Beast — meaning it could simply be powered by another system that doesn’t require light sails.
Although Oumuamua’s mysterious properties have not yet been completely unraveled by this new paper, scientists hope that future technology — in the form of more powerful telescopes — could help them analyze future objects that could penetrate our solar system.
Our first interstellar visitor sailed past Earth at 97,200 mph in 2017, but what exactly was Oumuamua?
A cigar-shaped object called ‘Oumuamua sailed past Earth at 156,428 km/h in October.
It was first spotted by a telescope in Hawaii on October 19 and was observed 34 different times the following week.
Named for the Hawaiian term for “scout” or “messenger,” it passed over Earth about 85 times the distance from the moon.
It was the first interstellar object seen in the solar system and it amazed astronomers.
It was initially thought that the object could be a comet.
However, it does not exhibit any of the classic behaviors expected from comets, such as a dusty tail of water ice particles.
The asteroid is up to 400 meters long and very elongated – maybe 10 times as long as it is wide.
That aspect ratio is greater than that of any asteroid or asteroid seen to date in our solar system.
But the asteroid’s slightly red hue—particularly pale pink—and varying brightness are remarkably similar to objects in our own solar system.
About the size of the pickle skyscraper in London, some astronomers believed it was piloted by aliens because of the enormous distance the object traveled without being destroyed — and the proximity of its journey around Earth.
Alien hunters at SETI — the Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence based at Berkeley University, California — said there was a possibility the rock was “an alien artifact.”
But scientists at Queen’s University Belfast took a close look at the object and said it appears to be an asteroid, or “planetesimal” as originally thought.
Researchers believe the cigar-shaped asteroid had a “violent past,” after looking at the light bouncing off its surface.
They don’t know exactly when the violent collision happened, but they think the tumbling asteroid will continue for at least a billion years.