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Interstellar asteroid or space probe from extraterrestrial civilization?

Francisco Miraval

When I was a child, I read as much as I could about the possibility of intelligent life on another planets. Now, as an adult, I would like to find intelligent life on this planet, but we will talk about that at a later time. However, I would like to share a few thoughts about the debate focused on the space object known as Oumuamua: interstellar asteroid or something else?

Oumuamua entered the solar system on October 2017 and it is thought to be the first object from another star system to enter our system. The problem is that more than a year later the experts still don’t know what Oumuamua really is. In fact, a new study suggest it could be a solar sail sent by an interstellar civilization.

Before we laugh at that suggestion and dismiss it as pure fantasy, let’s keep in mind that, in this case, the experts are not those pseudo-experts talking at midnight on TV about extraterrestrial beings, and generation little o no confidence on what they are saying.

And I didn’t get the information from any obscure, or not so obscure web site dedicated to entertaining, but not informing, and more focused on conspiracy theories and sponsors than on any truth.

In fact, contrary to all that, the suggestion that Oumuamua could be an artificial object created by an extraterrestrial civilization came from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), based on the elongated shape of the object and the fact that the object changed trajectory and speed since it was first observed.

According to the experts at the CfA, Oumuamua “a gigantic alien solar sail”. “Sail” as in the one used by ships, but, in this case, using photons. In fact, the object could be “debris from an advanced technological equipment” that previously traveled through interstellar space.

If experts from the Harvard Smithsonian CfA say so, who are we to argue with them?

This not the first time that scientists working for universities suggest they found indications of an extraterrestrial civilization. On August 2017, Tabatha Boyajian (then at LSU), suggested that the significant variations of the light of star KIC 8462852 could be caused by some kind of artificial megastructure around the star. The most plausible explanation, of course, is cosmic dust.

But, what if Oumuamua is not just a simple asteroid. After all, it seems it has all the elements needed for interstellar travel. So, what is it? Scientist at CfA and at other institutions suggest it could be a space probe or a space shipwreck. Or, as they say, “an artificial relic which floated into our Solar System from interstellar space”.

If that’s the case and they can probe it, that will create “a new cosmic perspective about the meaning of human activities”, according to the experts at CfA.

Meanwhile, here we are more concerned about the new chapter of a soap opera or the latest game of our time than on an increasingly amazing and transformative reality.

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