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Visiting asteroid has 'strange organic coat'


Posted on Monday, 18 December, 2017 | Comment icon 17 comments

It remains unclear what lies beneath the asteroid's surface. Image Credit: ESO / M. Kornmesser
Oumuamua, the first ever confirmed visitor to our solar system, has a thick layer of organic insulation.
The 400-meter-long space rock, which flew past our planet back in October, became the focus of much debate and intrigue after it was found to have come from a distant solar system.

Now scientists studying the asteroid have revealed that it is wrapped in what appears to be a thick crust of carbon-rich gunk that may be concealing the presence of ice beneath its surface.

"In the end this was a nice result because we've expected all along that the majority of objects that would visit our solar system would be icy in nature," said study author Alan Fitzsimmons.

"It has been a puzzle that this thing looked like a big lump of rock. Our study says that this object could well be icy in nature but we didn't detect that ice due to the fact it's been baked by energetic radiation between the stars for hundreds of millions of years, or even billions of years."

It continues to remain unclear exactly what the interior of the asteroid is composed of.

"What we didn't see is the signatures of the rocks you'd usually find on Earth, or you might find on the inner asteroid belt surrounding our sun," said Professor Fitzsimmons.

Source: Independent | Comments (17)

Tags: Oumuamua, Asteroid

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #8 Posted by taniwha on 18 December, 2017, 20:27
Very odd... not an asteroid and not a comet, something in between or something else entirely.
Comment icon #9 Posted by qxcontinuum on 19 December, 2017, 4:48
Or an alien probe isolated. The fact it didn't probed for life after a full scan means nothing. We have a thing unusual shaped unlike any asteroids or meteorites, it enters our solar system, does use suns gravitational pull to fly by doesn't melt and puff is gone. The world applauds the new finding whilst it goes back to ignorance. God. Why does aliens have to communicate like we do? What is Hubble telescope doing? Can it take a picture of the thing? By far this is the most mysterius cosmic event our galaxy have seen in a few millions of boredom!   
Comment icon #10 Posted by AZDZ on 19 December, 2017, 16:40
There isn't much to see but real images do exist.  This shows the object tumbling:   
Comment icon #11 Posted by White Unicorn on 19 December, 2017, 16:43
I think discoving the organic layer is a great plus to science for the theory of pansporia from space objects. 
Comment icon #12 Posted by Aardvark-DK on 20 December, 2017, 10:05
Guys, its a Chinese Star Destroyer, only very suspect quality...they can't copy anything right !
Comment icon #13 Posted by DirtyDocMartens on 20 December, 2017, 12:57
Seanjo, I love it when kids are willing to think for themselves. Keep at it, friend, and university will be a breeze! Any thoughts on what you might like to study?
Comment icon #14 Posted by oranje on 21 December, 2017, 9:10
ha ha, wouldn't be surprised if it is a Chinese space ship! with their unlimited money, manpower, tech advances, etc., they are far advanced in some areas of research. prestigious journals (latest being Nature) have highlighted how china has been trailblazing in edge cutting research from biotech to space venture research to quantum comms, etc. they even got the biggest, newest and most advanced astronomical observatory now. heck, even the pentagon and nasa and boeing have publicly said china could be quietly in the lead in some areas. I and my colleagues used to joke about this, but stereotyp... [More]
Comment icon #15 Posted by The singularity on 22 December, 2017, 18:13
Truly fascinating. I hope there will be a probe landed on it so that we can learn even more about this very unusual object.
Comment icon #16 Posted by taniwha on 22 December, 2017, 19:53
Oumuamua is a naturally occurring space probe.  All we need to do is rig it with the necessary technology and let it on its way.
Comment icon #17 Posted by taniwha on 23 December, 2017, 20:29
It looks more like a space vegetable, perhaps an organic potato and I wonder what it would taste like.


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