Natural or alien tech: How interstellar object Oumuamua got its strange shape

Avi Loeb, a top Harvard researcher had previously suggested that Oumuamua could be most probably an alien probe


It was in 2017 that astronomers discovered Oumuamua, a cigar-shaped interstellar object that reached the solar system from the deep nooks of the universe. The weird shape of the object literally perplexed astronomers, and it even made experts like Avi Loeb believe that this mysterious body could have an alien origin. Now, scientists have revealed the exact reason behind the odd shape of Oumuamua.

Oumuamua had a violent past

Scientists believe that they now know the true origin of Oumuamua which is actually an asteroid, and they revealed that it had an extremely violent past. As per the new research report, the space rock could have been violently ripped apart by a distant star before being flung at a mindblowing speed towards the solar system.

The new finding clearly indicates that Oumuamua was once the part of a giant space body. Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of California, Santa Cruz who took part in the study revealed that the weird shape of this interstellar body could be the result of its ripping off from a giant body that took place in the past.

Most planetary bodies consist of rocks that have coalesced due to gravity. They're similar to sandcastles floating in space. A tidal encounter between a planet or small body and a star is a tug-of-war game between the gravitational pull of the star and the self-gravity of the flyby body.

"On average, each planetary system should eject in total about a hundred trillion objects like 'Oumuamua. The tidal fragmentation scenario not only provides a way to form one single 'Oumuamua' but also accounts for the vast population of asteroid-like interstellar objects," said Yun Zhang, co-author of the study in a statement.

Experts ruled out alien possibility

A few months back, Robert Weryk, a Canadian astronomer who discovered this interstellar visitor had assured that the idea of Oumuamua being an alien probe is undoubtedly wild speculation. Weryk had suggested that Oumuamua could be a comet that gained massive acceleration due to a phenomenon called outgassing.