Harvard professor wrong? New study suggests Oumuamua is not an alien ship


It was around a couple of years ago that a weird interstellar structure named 'Oumuamua' initially grabbed the eyeballs of space scientists. After spotting the interstellar space body, scientists revealed that the object could be an asteroid that has been roaming in the darkness of space for many years. However, things took an unexpected turn when Avi Loeb, the chair of the Harvard Astronomy department claimed that Oumuamua could be actually an alien probe.

Loeb argued that the sudden change in Oumuamua's acceleration is a clear indication that it is of artificial origin. But now, a new study published in journal Nature has revealed that this cigar-shaped outer space object was not an alien spacecraft after all. This study was led by Matthew Knight, a researcher at the University of Maryland, and his report suggested that there are lots of natural reasons that explain the bizarre behavior of Oumuamua.

"We have never seen anything like 'Oumuamua in our solar system. It's really a mystery still. The alien spacecraft hypothesis is a fun idea, but our analysis suggests there is a whole host of natural phenomena that could explain it," said Matthew Knight, in a recently issued statement.

As per the research report, Oumuamua could have behaved bizarrely, but it does not mean that it is not the result of natural causes. One such theory put forward by researchers is that the object could have been ejected by a gas planet giant orbiting another star.

Knight also added that more objects like Oumuamua will be discovered in the future once the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) gets operational in 2022.

"In the next 10 years, we expect to begin seeing more objects like 'Oumuamua. The LSST will be leaps and bounds beyond any other survey we have in terms of capability to find small interstellar visitors. We may start seeing a new object every year. That's when we'll start to know whether 'Oumuamua is weird, or common. If we find 10-20 of these things and 'Oumuamua still looks unusual, we'll have to reexamine our explanations," added Knight.

A few weeks back, another research led by Yale graduate students Darryl Seligman and Gregory Laughlin had also shared similar views, and the report revealed that the reason behind Oumuamua's acceleration is due to a phenomenon called outgassing. As per the study report, the telltale spin of Oumuamua is actually caused by an invisible gas jet.