Is ‘Oumuamua an alien probe? Scientists release first results after ‘listening’ to the mystery object

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The first observation block ran for a period of six hours gathering 90 terabytes of data during a 2-hour observation of the interstellar asteroid itself. The mystery object was observed in four radio frequencies, covering individual channels from the range of 1 to 12 GHz. Until now, only the data of the S-frequency (from 1.7 to 2.6 GHz) have been processed so far.

Scientists have begun the search for radio signals in order to verify or rule out whether or not ‘Oumuamua is an alien spaceship with broken engines.

The first readings have been made public.

Whether or not we are looking at an alien space probe is still a mystery, but researchers are going through a huge amount of data to find out.

Experts belonging to the Breakthrough Listen project have pointed the world’s largest radio telescope in Green Bank, West Virginia, USA, towards the alleged comet/asteroid ‘Oumuamua.

The main goal was to detect any potential electromagnetic signals, no stronger than those emitted by a mobile phone, to show if the object is, as some astronomers suggest, of artificial origin.

‘Oumuamua was discovered in October of 2017 as it made its way through our solar system. The object, first thought to be a Comet, then declassified to an asteroid, and then called out as being a potential broken-down alien spaceship is about 230 by 35 meters in size, although some astronomers suggest it may be up to 400 meters long.

Astronomers have discovered so far that ʻOumuamua is tumbling rather than smoothly rotating, and it is moving so fast through space relative to the Sun that there is no chance it originated in the Solar System. Experts believe that this interstellar object came from the direction of the star Vega in the constellation Lyra.

It’s the first object of its kind, and experts note that ʻOumuamua’s system of origin and the amount of time it has been traveling among the stars are unknown. ʻOumuamua comes from Hawaiian, meaning “scout.”

An artist’s impression of the ‘Oumuamua asteroid, which scientists are scanning for signs of intelligent life. Photograph: ESO/M Kornmesser/PA

So far, and according to the initial readings, no evidence was found that artificial signals are emanating from the object.

However, the volume of data obtained is huge (about 90 terabytes of raw data!), So it will take some time to reach a definitive conclusion.

It will take some time to go through all the data obtained by experts, who plan to conduct three more blocks of observations.

“It is great to see data pouring in from observations of this novel and interesting source,” Andrew Siemion, director of the Berkeley SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Research Center in California, said in a statement. “Our team is excited to see what additional observations and analyses will reveal.”

The first observation block ran for a period of six hours gathering 90 terabytes of data during a 2-hour observation of the interstellar asteroid itself, Breakthrough Listen team members said.

“A search for signals that may be of artificial origin has begun, but despite the impressive computational power of the Breakthrough Listen computing cluster at Green Bank, the large data volumes mean that this will take some time to complete,” Breakthrough Listen representatives said in the same statement.

The hyperbolic trajectory of ʻOumuamua through the inner Solar System, with the Sun at the focus, showing its position every 7 days. The planet positions are fixed at the perihelion on September 9, 2017. Shown from a three-quarter perspective, roughly aligned to the plane of ʻOumuamua’s path. CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikimedia Commons.

“Technically, Oumuamua is an extraterrestrial object, it comes from another star. Now, if it’s artificial … it’s already a remote possibility.

We spend most of our time analyzing prosaic objects, but occasionally something special can happen before our eyes, “add scientist.

“With our current technology, all we can do is pay attention and observe.”

Breakthrough Listen has observed the object in four radio frequencies, covering individual channels from the range of 1 to 12 GHz. Until now, only the data of the S-frequency (from 1.7 to 2.6 GHz) have been processed.

The analysis of the three remaining frequencies is still to be made which means while even though no signals have yet been found, there’s still hope that this may be a long-lost, broken down alien spaceship tumbling through our solar system, so stay tuned.

Source: Breakthrough Listen

Featured image credit: http://www.nss.org/settlement/calendar/AsteroidSettlement_Koshime.htm

Ivan

Ivan is editor-in-chief at ancient-code.com, he also writes for Universe Explorers.
You may have seen him appear on the Discovery and History Channel.

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