Buckle your seatbelts, skywatchers. Objects in the sky my be more alien than they appear. The mysterious Oumuamua space object that scientists discovered in 2017 may be an alien spacecraft, according to the speculation of Harvard researchers.  

In a paper that will be published November 12th in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, two Harvard researchers present a theory that the strange object, Oumuamua, is alien technology.  

The theory is based on a few things. Oumuamua, scientists agree, came from outside our solar system. In addition, the object is a strange shape (flat and elongated), has an unusual trajectory, and it sped up as it traveled through our solar system. That last fact led researchers to postulate that the object could be an alien lightsail probe. Lightsails are spacecrafts powered by light hitting their surface, and a familiar concept. We have sent them into space. Our earthly lightsail tech is in its infancy, but the paper’s authors call this one a “lightsail of artificial origin.” 

Avi Loeb, chairman of Harvard’s astronomy department and his co-author, Shmuel Bialy, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, admit that the theory is “exotic” according to nbcnews.com. And, other scientists seem to be firmly in another camp. They suggest that the most logical explanation for Oumuamua is that it is a comet or an asteroid from somewhere in distant space. In fact, four dwarf stars far beyond our solar system have been identified as possible origins of the object.  

When challenged with a lack of evidence to support the claim, Loeb invoked one of the great mystery solvers of all time. He said, “I follow the maxim of Sherlock Holmes: When you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”  

We may never know. Oumuamua has left the solar system. It sped right past the sun and out into the void. It can no longer be seen with telescopes. If it comes back, though… I’d say we can pretty much bank on that spacecraft theory. Elementary! 

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Jenny Flack

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