Is it possible that we’ve missed welcoming an alien visitor into our solar system?
According to experts, it’s possible that an alien probe from a distant solar system may have entered our solar system, disguised as a ‘comet’.
The mystery comet dubbed as Oumuamua is currently being investigated by astronomers for signs of extraterrestrial technology, as there are doubts among experts that the cigar-shaped comet isn’t just a comet.
Now, alien-hunting scientists led by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner are set to scan the enigmatic object before it sails beyond Earth’s telescopes. They are looking for signs of advanced, or alien, technology.
Oumuamua is the first interstellar object to have entered our solar system.
Alien-hunting scientists say they are looking for ‘radio singles’ claiming that the mystery visitor from another solar system could, in fact, be an alien probe, exploring the cosmos.
Yuri Milner is the tycoon behind the project Breakthrough Listen—a $100 million (£75m) search for intelligent extraterrestrial life.
According to reports from the Atlantic, Mr. Milner received last week an email from one of his chief scientists, where he mentioned the enigmatic object sailing through our solar system.
“The more I study this object, the more unusual it appears, making me wonder whether it might be an artificially made probe which was sent by an alien civilization,” Professor Avi Loeb, the chair of Harvard’s astronomy department and one of Milner’s advisers on Breakthrough Listen, wrote in the email.
According to Professor Loeb, the mysterious elongated shape of the comet is odd for a space rock but perfect for a space probe traveling between solar systems.
Now, the Breakthrough Listen project has announced it will scan ‘Oumuamua this week for signs of radio signals.
‘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 minimize friction and damage from interstellar gas and dust,’ the research firm said in a statement.
‘While a natural origin is more likely, there is currently no consensus on what that origin might have been, and Breakthrough Listen is well positioned to explore the possibility that ‘Oumuamua could be an artifact.’
To search Oumuamua for alien technology, scientists will use the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia.
Despite the fact that the enigmatic object is now located at twice the distance between our planet and the Sun, the Green Bank Telescope can pick up the slightest signal, if of course there is anything to pick up.
Researchers from the Breakthrough Listen project want to gather as much info as they can about the object before it leaves our solar system. In 2018, the mystery object will fly past Jupiter and will arrive at Pluto by the 2020s.
“‘Oumuamua’s presence within our solar system affords Breakthrough Listen an opportunity to reach unprecedented sensitivities to possible artificial transmitters and demonstrate our ability to track nearby, fast-moving objects,” said Listen’s Andrew Siemion, Director of Berkeley SETI Research Center. “Whether this object turns out to be artificial or natural, it’s a great target for Listen.”
Experts at Breakthrough Listen have also made it clear that even if no signal or other evidence of extraterrestrial technology is heard, Listen observations will cover portions of the radio spectrum in which the object has not yet been observed, and could provide important information about the possibility of water/ice, or the chemistry of a coma (gaseous envelope), neither of which have yet been identified.