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 are still trying 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. As we covered earlier that this object took the attention of the scientific world when it was first observed experts said that it came from outside the solar system. Now, scientists want to see if it’s the first symbol of life beyond our planet.
Eminent physicist Stephen Hawking has commented on the large cigar-shaped asteroid dubbed Oumuamua; he stated that this unidentified flying object is something Earthlings should be aware of as it could be a part of an alien probe or an unseen natural phenomenon.
“Researchers working on long-distance space transportation have previously suggested that a cigar or needle shape is the most likely architecture for an interstellar spacecraft since this would minimise friction and damage from interstellar gas and dust. While a natural origin is more likely, there is currently no consent on what that source might have been, and Breakthrough Listen is well located to examine the possibility that Oumuamua could be an artefact,” he added.
The search for extraterrestrial life (SETI) research team based in Mountain View, California is also observing the super-sized grain of space rice, although it hasn’t turned up any new signs of life, either.
Both investigation teams are planning to conduct more telescope observations on ‘Oumuamua, and continuing ciphering through data they’ve already collected. Current radio-telescope technology has enabled scientists to take measurements and readings of the object even when it’s twice as far from Earth as the Earth is from the sun. But the asteroid has been speeding away from Earth and our solar system at a whopping 196,000 miles per hour. If there is extraterrestrial life on ‘Oumuamua, scientists will have to act fast to find it.
Avi Loeb, professor of astronomy at Harvard University and a member of the Breakthrough Listen initiative, explained the importance of their team’s efforts. “The possibilities that we’ll hear something are very small, but if we do, we will notify it immediately and then try to understand it,” Loeb said.
“It would be reasonable just to check and look for signals. Even if we get an artefact that was left over and there are no signs of life on it, that would be the biggest thrill I can imagine having in my lifetime. It’s one of the fundamental questions in science; perhaps the most fundamental: are we alone?” he concluded.