Astronomy / Space Could 'Oumuamua be an extraterrestrial solar sail?

An interesting article - but my biggest fear is that this is going to make its way into Ancient Aliens.

"I'm not saying it's aliens... But it's aliens..."
 
Man, if only we had tech that allowed us to catch up with this leaving visitor.
That would truly be an interesting mission..

Sadly we're basically still using WW2 (ze Germans) tech and slingshots to get anywhere :p
 
It came closer to Earth than the moon, which seems like a hell of a coincidence. But then again, we may not have seen it had it not so maybe it isn't such an unusual thing after all.
 
It came closer to Earth than the moon, which seems like a hell of a coincidence. But then again, we may not have seen it had it not so maybe it isn't such an unusual thing after all.
No it didn't. Closest approach to Earth was ~0.276au (just over 41 million km). The Moon is "only" 384,400 km away. You're off by 2 orders of magnitude and then some.

https://earthsky.org/space/oumuamuas-solar-system-trajectory-ottewell


EDIT: Wikipaedia puts the closest approach at 0.22AU (~33million km), and Space.com quotes ~24million km. Those are still off by 2 orders of magnitude but minus some.
 
Last edited:
Arstechnica had an update article on the harvard scientists paper:

Predictably, online media go nuts over ‘Oumuamua and Harvard scientists':

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/11/ignore-all-the-stories-about-oumuamua-the-harvard-paper-and-aliens/

I would posit a few things in this kind of debate (that i normally would steer clear off).

1. If it was an alien probe, why would it behave as 'strangely' as it did? If you want your probe to remain unnoticed you'd probably do a better job of making it do just that.

2. If it was an alien probe, and they wanted us to know it, why go to the trouble of making it seem like it could be a natural (but unusual) object?

The only other option i have is that it is some kind of test, to gauge our re-action (which with a lack of space ships would rely on them listening to our communications, and being able to filter out everything except the stuff on oumuamua, which would be difficult probably?) or it really was just a slightly freakish natural object like we have not seen before, like a real 'anomaly' that you'd get in a fun sci-fi series etc.
 
I would posit a few things in this kind of debate (that i normally would steer clear off).
3. It could be a malfunctioning (ie, loss of attitude control) alien probe.


Personally I'm firmly on board with the "slightly odd natural object" interpretation unless proven otherwise.
 
Top Bottom