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Scientists push back against Harvard ‘alien spacecraft’ theory

Scientists push back against Harvard ‘alien spacecraft’ theory

The object's "excess acceleration" when it travelled through our solar system and its peculiar trajectory distinguishes it from comets and asteroids, the researchers explained.

Scientists with the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics published a new study discussing the origins of such an object, including the possibility that it might be a "lightsail of artificial origin, designed for interstellar travel".

A pair of scientists in Harvard have announced that a mysterious object which recently passed near the planet may have been an alien spacecraft.

It was moving at 59,030mph when it was first tracked by scientists.

The idea that the object could have been part of some massive alien solar-powered technology may seem far-fetched, but the authors suggest an even more "exotic" explanation: "that Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilisation".

Similar to how a sailing boat uses the wind in its sail to push it forward, a spacecraft with a light sail uses the light from a nearby star to propel it, with radiation pressure exerting a tiny amount of force.

Now, a new paper by researchers at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics raises the possibility that the elongated dark-red object, which is 10 times as long as it is wide and traveling at speeds of 196,000 miles per hour, might have an "artificial origin".

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"One possibility is that Oumuamua is a lightsail, floating in interstellar space as a debris from an advanced technological equipment", the paper says.

"Not 'where is the lack of evidence so that I can fit in any hypothesis that I like?"

"It's certainly ingenious to show that an object the size of Oumuamua might be sent by aliens to another star system with nothing but a solar sail for power".

He raised questions in particular about the object's tumbling motion. They also discussed the likelihood that people on the left will find a way to blame President Donald Trump for yet another alien invasion during his administration.

"Any functional spacecraft would nearly certainly retract its solar sail once in interstellar space to prevent damage", Mr Jackson said.

But Harvard's research team says they're not giving up hope that it's a sign of alien life: they "follow the maxim of Sherlock Holmes: When you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth". It's also possible Oumuamua was just created to wander through space, collecting information, and our solar system just happened to be in its way - its operators weren't necessarily looking to pry into the lives of humans.


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