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Chinese scientists shoot down idea oddly shaped Oumuamua asteroid is ALIENS despite Harvard University professor insisting it could be a ‘thin craft’ transmitting probes to Earth

Science Sep 16, 2022 at 08:31

Chinese scientists shoot down idea oddly shaped Oumuamua asteroid is ALIENS despite Harvard University professor insisting it could be a 'thin craft' transmitting probes to Earth

Chinese scientists say it’s ‘extremely unlikely’ that the oddly shaped Oumuamua asteroid first observed in 2017 is an alien ship
If it was such a ship, it might need to be propelled by an extremely thin light sail that captures particles from stars to create movement
The peer-reviewed Chinese study analyzed data to poke holes in Harvard professor Avi Loeb’s theory that the ship is being propelled by light sails
‘The possibility of Oumuamua being a light sail is extremely unlikely,’ Shangfei Liu, an astronomer and study co-author, told The Daily Beast

Scientists in China say it’s very unlikely that the oblong Oumuamua asteroid that zipped into our solar system is an alien spacecraft – despite the claims of a controversial Harvard professor to the contrary.

The first known interstellar object to visit our solar system, which is somewhere between 300 and 3,000 feet in length, was first observed in October 2017 by the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS1 telescope and it caused quite a stir.

Astronomers were baffled by it – some said it was a comet and others claimed it was an alien craft or a remnant of a Pluto-like planet.

Harvard physicist Avi Loeb wrote in his 2021 study of the object’s potential origins: ‘Each of these natural-origin models has major quantitative shortcomings, and so the possibility of an artificial origin for Oumuamua must be considered. Oumuamua’s anomalies suggest that it might have been a thin craft – with a large area per unit mass – pushed by the reflection of sunlight.’

A new peer-reviewed study by a group of Chinese scientists analyzes the data we have about Oumuamua to poke holes in Loeb’s claim about how such an alien craft could be moving through space.

In order for the rocky, cigar-shaped object that zoomed past the sun at 196,000 miles per hour to be an alien ship, it might need to be pushed forward by some type of extremely thin light sail that captures particles from stars.

The scientists wrote in their paper that’s been accepted for publication in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics: ‘The dynamics of an intruding light sail, if it exists, has distinct observational signatures, which can be quantitatively identified and analyzed with our methods in future surveys.’

‘We conclude that the possibility of Oumuamua being a light sail is extremely unlikely,’ Shangfei Liu, an astronomer at Sun Yat-sen University in Zhuhai, China, told The Daily Beast.

Light sails, which are also known as solar sails, use photons – tiny particles of electromagnetic energy – in the way that a sailboat uses wind. If they were part of a spacecraft, they would reflect either a lot of light or only a little.

Shangfei, one of the study’s co-authors, explained to the Daily Beast that Oumuamua should have been very bright at certain points and then basically invisible at others. Although the strangely-shaped object did get brighter and darker, it didn’t get bright enough, he says.

‘If it was a lightsail, the brightness variation should be much larger.’

However, Loeb told the news outlet that the asteroid’s dim appearance could be explained by the shape of the sail – which may be flat or may be more shaped like an umbrella.

Oumuamua could be a spacecraft ‘in other forms,’ Shangfei told the Daily Beast – meaning that it may simply be driven by some other system that doesn’t involve light sails.

Although Oumuamua’s mysterious traits have not been entirely laid to rest by this new paper, scientists hope that future technology – in the form of more powerful telescopes – could help them analyze future objects that could enter our solar system.