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Space & Astronomy

'Oumuamua was 'ripped from an alien world'

April 15, 2020 | Comment icon 11 comments



Oumuamua may not be that unusual. Image Credit: ESO / M. Kornmesser
A new study has highlighted the potentially violent origins of this mysterious interstellar visitor.
The 400-meter-long object, which flew past our planet back in October 2017, became the focus of much debate and intrigue after it was found to have come from a distant solar system.

Even today, the exact nature and origins of 'Oumuamua (from the Hawaiian word for 'scout') continue to remain a major point of study, with scientists attempting to determine exactly what the object is made of, where it came from and how long it has been traveling through space.

There has also been speculation that the object could have been sent by an extraterrestrial intelligence, however attempts by SETI and others to corroborate this - including using radio telescopes to listen for any signals that might be coming from it - have so far come up empty.

Now a new study by an international team of scientists has all-but put to bed any possibility that this long-distance traveler is anything more than a naturally occurring object.

"We showed that 'Oumuamua-like interstellar objects can be produced through extensive tidal fragmentation during close encounters of their parent bodies with their host stars, and then ejected into interstellar space," said study author Douglas N. C. Lin from the University of California.
In other words, long shard-like objects are produced in large numbers and cast out into the interstellar void when a planet or other large body strays too close to its star and is violently torn apart.

This also suggests that objects like 'Oumuamua may actually be quite common.

"The discovery of 'Oumuamua implies that the population of rocky interstellar objects is much larger than we previously thought," said study co-author Yun Zhang.

"On average, each planetary system should eject in total about a hundred trillion objects like 'Oumuamua."

Source: CNET.com | Comments (11)



Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by Hammerclaw 2 years ago
One could just as well speculate it was von Neumann probe, with an equal paucity of evidence. There's billions of years of junk flying around the galaxy and beyond. We just happened to be looking when this rock chanced by.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 2 years ago
That will be true of most, if not all, interstellar objects given that they have to have had sufficient velocity to break free from their own star's gravitation field.
Comment icon #4 Posted by NCC1701 2 years ago
"We showed that 'Oumuamua-like interstellar objects can be produced through extensive tidal fragmentation during close encounters of their parent bodies with their host stars, and then ejected into interstellar space," said study author Douglas N. C. Lin from the University of California. In other words, long shard-like objects are produced in large numbers and cast out into the interstellar void when a planet or other large body strays too close to its star and is violently torn apart."   There is no proof at all for this theory, we only saw one elongated extrastellar object - ever-. Extraord... [More]
Comment icon #5 Posted by bison 2 years ago
Difficulties with the new scenario proposed for the creation of the object 'Oumuamua:  A consolidation of broken-up debris, essentially a 'rubble pile' asteroid, seems unlikely to remain in a relatively fragile, highly elongated form while being whipped violently around its parent star.  The proposed scenario of this fragmented object becoming fused together in one piece requires it retain the elongated shape before and during this fusing process. It also appears to allow a very short time for this fusing to occur.  
Comment icon #6 Posted by L.A.T.1961 2 years ago
I think the idea is that a large rocky body is broken apart leaving smaller shards which are then jettisoned from the original star system. This would allow an object of Oumuamua's composition and shape to be created and then travel interstellar distances.   
Comment icon #7 Posted by jbondo 2 years ago
Yeah, it seems they look for every possible theory rather than admitting it might be of intelligent origin. It's as if denying the possibility is SOP in the world of science. Quite common, yet we've only glimpsed only one and frankly, we are only guessing as to what it really looked like. Do I think it's from an intelligent source? I have no idea, but lets not bury the possibility everytime it's tabled.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 2 years ago
Totally and utterly untrue. The idea that it might be of intelligent origin WAS suggested and WAS investigated. Absolutely no evidence was found to support the hypothesis. When a hypothesis has no supporting evidence it can be disregarded.  They don't have to admit that it might be of intelligent origin because they have established that it almost certainly wasn't
Comment icon #9 Posted by NCC1701 2 years ago
And SETI assumes that ET is still using radio communication to call back home at the moment it flies past the sun. When they hear nothing is is assumed it was not ET. Probably ET uses something different to communicate (Photons, Gravity waves, Quantum entanglement) or other exotics that we do'n know of.
Comment icon #10 Posted by bison 2 years ago
They might  send signals through what is known as 'bulk space' in M- Theory (String Theory), assuming it exists. This would, in effect, allow bypassing most of the distance of normal space. It is this distance that causes signals to weaken, and causes time delays between sending and receiving the signal.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 2 years ago
Why would a probe of alien origin just sail through a solar system containing intelligent life and make no attempt to manoeuvre close to the planet that they live on? You can add as much science fiction as you like, the fact remains that there is zero evidence for an artificial origin for 'Oumuamua and plenty of evidence for a natural origin. If it looks like a rock of natural origin and acts like a rock of natural origin then there is a very good chance that it IS a rock of natural origin.  


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