From the last few months, the astronomy association has been muttering about what is the Solar System’s first established interstellar guest. This cigar-shaped object was captured by the computerised telescope which seemed as if it had been released on the Solar System from above, an angle that suggests it came from somewhere else. Scientists will try to see if they can catch any radio signals coming from this exceptional object that lately hurtled past Earth and that almost inevitably comes from another star system.
Oumuamua took the attention of the scientific world when it was verified as the first observed object from outside the solar system. Now, scientists want to see if it’s the first symbol of life beyond our planet. On Wednesday, the project to identify potential proof of alien life plans to utilise the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope to see the asteroid over four radio bands for 10 hours.
“Most assuring it is of natural origin, but because it is so strange, we would like to verify if it has any sign of artificial origin, such as radio radiations,” Avi Loeb, professor of astronomy at Harvard University said. “If we do identify a signal that appears artificial in origin, we’ll know instantly.” According to a news release, it will take less than a minute to discover a transmitter with the energy of a cell phone.
“We don’t want to be dramatic in any way, and we are very practical about the chances this is unnatural,” Yuri Milner, the Silicon Valley billionaire behind the Breakthrough Initiatives, stated. “But because this is a different circumstance, we think mankind can afford 10 hours of examining time using the best equipment on the planet to investigate a low-probability hypothesis.”
Initially listed as a comet, ’Oumuamua revealed no comet-like action after passing the sun, which prompted cosmologists to reclassify it as an “interstellar asteroid.” “We also found that it had a reddish colour, alike to objects in the outer solar system, and validated that it is completely inactive, without the vaguest hint of dust around it,” Karen Meech of the Institute for Astronomy in Hawaii spoke in a NASA news release. Meech, who is the leader of the team that discovered ’Oumuamua, told that “our observations are completely consistent with it being a natural object.”
NASA also stated that “Preliminary orbital computations recommend that the object came from the approximate direction of the shining star Vega, in the northern constellation of Lyra. However, it took so long for the interstellar object to make the journey, even at the speed of about 26.4 kilometres per second that Vega was not near that position when the asteroid was there approximately 300,000 years ago.”
The object, which passed Earth at roughly 85 times the distance of the moon, will cross Jupiter next year and Saturn the following year before leaving the solar system and heading toward the constellation Pegasus