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Space & Astronomy

Mystery of 'Oumuamua has finally been solved... or has it ?

By T.K. Randall
March 25, 2023 · Comment icon 7 comments

An artist's impression of 'Oumuamua. Image Credit: CC BY 4.0 ESO / M. Kornmesser / Nagualdesign
Scientists believe that they have definitively proven that the interstellar visitor 'Oumuamua was not an alien spacecraft.
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 have even been suggestions that the object could be some sort of alien spacecraft.

Now, though, two scientists have put forward a new explanation for the enigmatic space rock that would seem to put to bed, once and for all, any notion that it is an artificial structure.
In particular, the pair explain 'Oumuamua's peculiar burst of speed as it moved through our solar system by way of the presence of molecular hydrogen which turned into gas when it neared the Sun.

"Given the information that we have, I think that this is our best hope of explaining ‘Oumuamua without having to resort to more sensational ideas, or, as we might say in the science community, ‘fine-tuned' ideas," said study leader Jennifer Bergner of the University of Berkeley.

"We're excited about this idea because it seems very generic, and a natural explanation for a process that should be happening anyways."

Not everyone, however, is convinced - especially Avi Loeb, a Harvard astronomer who has long argued that 'Oumuamua could be an extraterrestrial spacecraft.

"This is unreasonable because it is impossible for all the hydrogen trapped deep in the object's interior to leave to the surface without releasing the oxygen atoms with them along the way," he told Motherboard.

"Keep in mind that 'Oumuamua had the size of a football field (100-200 meters)."

"How can all the hydrogen from a depth of tens of meters reach the surface while leaving an object of pure oxygen behind? This is implausible."

Source: | Comments (7)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by OverSword 1 year ago
That makes sense.  I still would like to think it's a galactic derelict spacecraft possibly built by intelligent aliens millions or billions of years ago.  
Comment icon #2 Posted by Tatetopa 1 year ago
Outgassing of hydrogen as it heats up seems expected.  Still, kind of like firing directional jets for course correction. Now I'm not sayin' this except for fun, but maybe somebody moved the  right sized pocket of ice  to the right side at the right time to head off to the next stop.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Skulduggery 1 year ago
Honestly, even if it was an artificial spacecraft, it'd be difficult to identify as one. But, that isn't very likely probably.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Ell 1 year ago
I am satisfied with the explanation.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Earl.Of.Trumps 1 year ago
I'm a big UFO buff but I have never had one moment where I considered Oumuamua to be an intelligently crafted cruise ship. Ridiculous. At the rate that this object travels, it would take thousands of years to go from star to star. Not an intelligent way to travel, IMO
Comment icon #6 Posted by Buzz_Light_Year 1 year ago
Comment icon #7 Posted by qxcontinuum 1 year ago
Unless it was a life bottle , one to seed planets with life originating from far away, or maybe even traveller's in  cryogenic sleep or who knows , a message in the bottle like voyager carries.

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