JAKARTA, NNC - A new study has claimed that a is the first interstellar object ever seen in the solar system that could be a massive alien solar sail sent to look for signs of life.
Astronomers from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) analyzed the object, and found an unexpected boost in speed and shift in trajectory as it passed through the inner solar system last year. They concluded that the strange asteroid might be a lightsail of artificial origin.
The study, which was titled 'Could Solar Radiation Pressure Explain 'Oumuamua's Peculiar Acceleration?' recently appeared online. The study itself was conducted by Shmuel Bialy, a postdoctoral researcher at the CfA's Institute for Theory and Computation (ITC) and Professor Abraham Loeb, the director of the ITC, the Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University, and the head chair of the Breakthrough Starshot Advisory Committee.
The researchers say the strange acceleration could be the result of solar radiation pushing a giant solar sail. They found that a sail that was only a fraction of a millimeter thick (0.3-0.9 mm) would be sufficient for a sheet of solid material to survive the journey through the entire galaxy.
“Oumuamua could be the first known case of an artificial relic which floated into our Solar System from interstellar space,” Professor Loeb wrote in Scientific American, as reported by the Daily Mail, (11/5/2018).