Since it was discovered on October 19, 2017 with the Pan-Starrs1 telescope on Maui in Hawii, lo very strange celestial body baptized Oumuamua it has generated the most extravagant hypotheses about its origin. The mysterious shape and the investigations carried out at a distance provide some clues about its nature but to explain where it comes from, the hypotheses flourish without neglecting even that of being an alien spaceship traveling in sidereal spaces. The new and most recent interpretation now comes from two astronomers from the University of Arizona (USA). According to Alan Jackson and Steven Desch, the asteroid with a flat and oblong shape of about 400 meters in diameter would be nothing more than a fragment of a frozen planet similar to our Pluto belonging to a solar system around a star in the galaxy. The impact on this planet of a full-bodied object he would have lifted the fragment into the cosmos which also arrived in our sky.
Research from the University of Arizona
In short, an “exo-Pluto”, as he was baptized, that it seems more convincing than the other interpretations so far advanced. The result was presented in an important context, the 52nd Conference of Lunar and Planetary Sciences, and published in the authoritative Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets. The same authors, however presenting their conclusions, affirm that the question of the enigmatic object should be considered “Probably solved”, correctly leaving – as scientists – the door open to other investigations. Also because the advanced theories (and the last one appears to be the most convincing, in fact) explain some aspects but leave others unresolved.
The asteroid Oumuamua, all the hypotheses
Oumuamua, which in Hawaiian means “messenger” or “explorer”, has been explained in several ways: cosmic iceberg, alien space wreck and also as an interstellar comet. It certainly comes from outside our solar system now moving away from our sun at the speed of 80 kilometers per second. One had been thought of wandering comet because our planetary procession is surrounded by the Oort cloud which is precisely a reservoir of comets and sometimes due to gravitational interference some come out of the cloud and reach the solar vicinity. But Oumuamua did not generate any tail or gaseous cloud and therefore the hypothesis had been abandoned in favor of a stray asteroid in our space.
A “metal object”?
Last January the publication of a book on the subject made headlines (Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth) written by Avi Loeb, a respected astronomer at Harvard University, who claims that Oumuamua is the artifact of an alien technology that we cannot quite explain. Loeb points out that there are dubious aspects including its orbit and its progressive acceleration as it moves away from the Sun, possibly caused by the generation of hydrogen. Then he points his finger on its particular brightness similar to that of a metallic object (but that there are metallic asteroids is normal and known). He also went so far as to speculate that it is some sort of alien sail similar to that of the Breakthrough Starshot project to reach Alpha Centauri, adding that so far the explanations of his fellow scientists have been too conservative.
The Oumuamua asteroid: things to know
What if the asteroid was an iceberg?
Another hypothesis advanced last year by dr. Laughlin of Yale University is that of a primordial hydrogen iceberg formed in the chill of a cosmic cloud. But hydrogen ice has never been seen in nature, Desch says, adding that when NASA’s New Horizons probe transited into spaces beyond Pluto it found a world of nitrogen ice. So Jackson and Desch imagine that Oumuamua also has the same nitrogenous ice nature. So, in conclusion, it is judged a uncommon but not exotic cosmic object. At least for now. But the story continues.
March 24, 2021 (change March 24, 2021 | 15:48)