In 2017, the first object is known to have visited Earth’s solar system from deep space raced. One top scientist thought it was an extraterrestrial spaceship.

Researchers declared Wednesday that they had a simple and “compelling non-alien explanation” for the interplanetary interloper’s strange behavior, but not everyone was convinced.

‘Oumuamua, Hawaiian for “scout,” puzzled scientists when an observatory in Hawaii saw it six years ago.

Scientists have searched interstellar space for comet-like objects entering the solar system but had never found one. NASA called ‘Oumuamua “the first object ever spotted in our solar system that is known to have originated outside,” but its origins were unclear.

‘Oumuamua was unlike other comets that enter the solar system. It had no tail or coma—a hazy halo created by dust and gas heated in the Sun’s radiation.

Researchers provide a fresh explanation for the strange interstellar visitor

Its elongated form was unique among comets and asteroids. Its circumference was 100 meters, around the size of a football pitch, but it was 10 times longer than broad, like a pancake or cigar.

The sun glinted off the thing, making it appear to be falling.

The oddest thing was that ‘Oumuamua sped up and veered from its projected track after slingshotting around the sun, driven by an unknown force out of the Solar System.

Four months of seemingly contradicting data led scientists to several conclusions.

Jennifer Bergner, a Berkeley astrochemist and co-author of a recent research, told AFP that many of the proposals “stretched the imagination.”

In 2017, a top astronomer said the first object from outer space to enter Earth’s solar system was an extraterrestrial ship.

Researchers declared Wednesday that they had a simple and “compelling non-alien explanation” for the interplanetary interloper’s strange behavior, but not everyone was convinced.

‘Oumuamua, Hawaiian for “scout,” puzzled scientists when an observatory in Hawaii saw it six years ago.

Scientists have searched interstellar space for comet-like objects entering the solar system but had never found one. NASA called ‘Oumuamua “the first object ever spotted in our solar system that is known to have originated outside,” but its origins were unclear.

‘Oumuamua was unlike comets that enter the solar system from the outskirts. It had no tail or coma, a hazy halo created by dust and gas warming in the Sun’s radiation.

Its elongated form was unique among comets and asteroids. Its circumference was 100 meters, around the size of a football pitch, but it was 10 times longer than broad, like a pancake or cigar.

The sun glinted off the thing, making it appear to be falling.

The oddest thing was that ‘Oumuamua sped up and veered from its projected track after slingshotting around the sun, driven by an unknown force out of the Solar System.

Four months of seemingly contradicting data led scientists to several conclusions.

Jennifer Bergner, a Berkeley astrochemist and co-author of recent research, told AFP that many of the proposals “stretched the imagination.”

Her theory is that ‘Oumuamua was a water-rich comet.

Penetrating cosmic rays transformed some of its water into hydrogen gas that became stuck in its body throughout interstellar journeys.

She stated ‘Oumuamua’s “thruster boost” was released when it approached the sun.

“Jenny’s clearly accurate about the imprisoned hydrogen,” said Nature study co-author Darryl Seligman of Cornell University.

“We had all these silly ideas, like hydrogen icebergs and other weird stuff, and it’s simply the most general answer,” he remarked.

“Offers maybe the first straightforward and physically feasible explanation of the features of this object,” said European Space Agency scientist Marco Micheli in Nature.

Unconvinced.

In his 2021 book “Extraterrestrial: The First Evidence of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth,” famed theoretical physicist Avi Loeb claims that ‘Oumuamua was extraterrestrial technology.

In his book, Loeb said the item was extraterrestrial space trash from many light years distant. Humans are constructing “light sails” to explore space.

In 2021, he told CBS Boston that it may be a probe or space trash. “We don’t know because we didn’t collect enough data, enough proof and I’m simply telling everyone to check for stuff like that so that next time one comes by we will investigate it more closely.”

“Like saying an elephant is a zebra without stripes,” Loeb told AFP.

In 2019, 2I/Borisov, the second known extrasolar visitor, had a massive cometary tail.

“There seems to be an additional power” pushing ‘Oumuamua, Loeb told CBS News correspondent Tony Dokoupil in 2018. “It’s not apparent what this push is from.”

Roman Rafikov of Cambridge University in UK previously shown that trapped gas would have “dramatically” modified ‘Oumuamua’s spin rate, which did not happen.

Rafikov called such notions “extremely suspicious” but favored “an explanation that does not require aliens or heavenly forces.”

‘Oumuamua was smaller than any comet, including 2I/Borisov, according to Bergner.

That may change shortly.

The Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time in Chile, which will begin imaging in 2025, may find many more comets, maybe from outside the solar system.

Bergner said tiny comets without tails and comas that released stored hydrogen may support her idea.

“That depends what degree of proof you require to invoke aliens,” she added.

“We wasted our chance to discover ‘Oumuamua,” she remarked. “For now, I think we have a convincing non-alien explanation.”

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