It has been a while since I have got across something as interesting as this bizarrely-shaped celestial object that has recently appeared on our system. Its name is Oumuamua, and it has got instant notoriety around the globe.
The first question people have been asking is: how can a celestial body be shaped like that? It must be an alien vessel of some sort. No kidding -alien apart, the strange shape of Oumuamua has produced all sorts of speculation.
But even though is no UFO, the asteroid is really interested nonetheless. Among the many articles appeared on this subject, I have selected this for a good reading:
Interstellar object ‘Oumuamua covered in ‘thick crust of carbon-rich gunk’. This article of the Guardian gives a good description of the object. “The mysterious interstellar object ‘Oumuamua that is shooting through our solar system is wrapped in a thick coating of carbon-rich gunk that built up on its cosmic travels, astronomers have found. New observations of the cigar-shaped body found evidence for a deep surface layer that formed when organic ices – such as frozen carbon dioxide, methane and methanol – that make up the object were battered by the intense radiation that exists between the stars.The 400-metre-long object is the first confirmed interstellar body to visit our solar system. It was spotted in October by researchers on the Pan-Starrs telescope in Hawaii after it barrelled past the sun on its way through. The name is taken from the Hawaiian word for “messenger” or “scout”.”
No alien ‘signals’ from cigar-shaped asteroid: researchers. As you could expect, “no alien signals have been detected from an interstellar, cigar-shaped space rock discovered travelling through our Solar System in October, researchers listening for evidence of extraterrestrial technology.” More here.
“Oumuamua Update” A lot of investigations have been carried out on the “alien” Researchers have found that “the surface of Oumuamua is similar to small solar system bodies that are covered in carbon-rich ices, whose structure is modified by exposure to cosmic rays.” Here the whole story.
If you have not followed Oumuamua’s story, I suggest you have a look at this video:
Incidentally, it might well be that the fancy object is not an asteroid, after all. As a recent study published in Nature says,”we didn’t see any signs of typical spectroscopic signatures that you would expect from the minerals on the surface of an asteroid we see in our solar system.” The next best guess is that Oumuamua is actually interstellar comet which, due to its long trip through deep space, has been stripped of its surface ice.
Only future studies will tell us the truth -but you can bet, it’s not an alien vessel seeking (first) contact.
In the meantime, if you’re starving for UFO news, here’s the story about the mysterious Pentagon programme. “The shadowy program — parts of it remain classified — began in 2007, and initially it was largely funded at the request of Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who was the Senate majority leader at the time and who has long had an interest in space phenomena. Most of the money went to an aerospace research company run by a billionaire entrepreneur and longtime friend of Mr. Reid’s, Robert Bigelow, who is currently working with NASA to produce expandable craft for humans to use in space.” Interesting, isn’t it? (Full disclosure: I believe alien life does exist: in our Solar System, probably in the depth of Enceladus and Europa, maybe on Titan, as amoeba-type organisms. Intelligent life? Sure it does, but not anywhere nearby. Sorry guys, no UFO for me).