A new paper by researchers at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics raises the possibility that the elongated dark-red object, which is 10 times as long as it is wide and traveling at speeds of 196,000 miles per hour, might have an "artificial origin".
Scientists have been confounded by the interstellar object first spotted tumbling past the sun a year ago via telescopes on Maui.
The object was said to be 10 times longer than it is wide and it traveled at speeds of almost 200,000 miles per hour.
The cigar-shaped rock is now speeding through the galaxy and is the first known interstellar object to enter our solar system.
Multiple telescopes focused on the object for three nights to determine what it was before it moved out of sight.
The technology, NBC news says, is still in its infancy on Earth, however.
Was it sent to us by intelligent alien life?
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"A survey for lightsails as technosignatures [scientific evidence of past or present technology] in the solar system is warranted, irrespective of whether Oumuamua is one of them", the paper said. For reference, Voyager 1, the spacecraft that's now leaving our solar system, is traveling at around 35,000 miles per hour. But Oumuamua didn't show typical signs of a comet, like a tail of dust and gas.
The solar sail would also be thinner than the authors of the new paper describe, he said. In order for it to be effective, Oumuamua needs to be less than a millimeter in thickness, like a sail.
"Its origin could be either natural (in the interstellar medium or proto-planetary disks) or artificial (as a probe sent for a reconnaissance mission into the inner region of the solar system)".
This year, the mystery of Oumuamua deepened further.
However, astronomers saw no visible evidence of these jets. The scientific community at large has changed its mind a few times since then, and at this point it's unclear what the majority of astronomers actually believe, but at least a couple of them are still entertaining the possibility that the object was actually an alien spacecraft. "What they have said is there is interesting and unusual and anomalous behaviour which could potentially be explained by it being an alien spacecraft".
The theory, which the scientists call "exotic", comes from a recent paper they wrote which was published online in November.
A massive flattened boulder-like object traveling through space with "peculiar acceleration" could be an alien craft, according to a new study.
"I have no problem with this kind of speculative study", Bailer-Jones added.
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