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‘Oumuamua Wasn’t Sent By Aliens – Weird Comet Controversy Is Over

European Southern Observatory/M. Kornmesser

Since the invention of telescope that could peer into space, humanity has found out a great deal about space. We’ve discovered comets, asteroids, and other planets out in space. Some objects have been harder to identify than others, stirring up controversy and Oumuamua is no different.

The object known as Oumuamua’s slender shape was believed to be similar to that of a comet but had no tail like a comet. And size means it’s definitely not a planet.

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It is about 800 meters long and 80 meters wide. The weirdest thing about isn’t the lack of a contrail, but the fact that it was moving due to an unseen force and changed direction and speed a few times during its vacation in our cosmic neighborhood.

One theory for why Oumuamua behaved the way it did is something called “outgassing,” a process where comets release gas from their surface and increase velocity.

The object was observed for about three months by the Hubble Space Telescope before it entered our solar system. It was then tracked by ground telescopes for about two weeks before passing us at 196,000 miles per hour.

Two scientists who work at Harvard University’s Physics Department, physicist Avi Loeb, and postdoc Shmuel Bialy think it might be a spaceship propelled by a ‘lightsail.’ This hypothetical technology would accelerate the craft using the light of the sun.

Some people believe that the theory presented in Loeb’s paper may simply be a tactic to give a boost to his career. I don’t think anyone would risk their reputation and possibly career by sharing a theory they didn’t adamantly believe in.

So far, all signs point to a comet that doesn’t give off an ice trial. But if Oumuamua is a spaceship, whoever was driving it might circle back around.

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