The first thing to visit us from another star system may be a spacecraft

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You know the scientists: they give the coolest explanation possible to the audience and then act like nerds and shoot after paper years saying something more ordinary. Thus, the entry of the first body into our solar system from a different place. Scientists, nicknamed “Oumuamua”, are still arguing about what the mysterious object is, and surprisingly, the coolest possible explanation – a spacecraft – still plays a big role.

Oumuamua, or “messenger” in the Native Hawaiian language, was first seen consecutively through the island’s existing high-powered lenses. observatory In 2017. It was clear from its speed and trajectory that Oumuamua came from outside the solar system, and it spat again shortly after it swung around the sun.

This gave scientists very limited time to study ‘Oumuamua’. The researchers were immediately excited to be the first to notice something from outside the solar system taking a U-turn across our region. At first a comet numbed, which was later classified as a type of asteroid due to the absence of a coma – the halo of dust, gas and steam covering the comet’s core.

But that doesn’t seem quite right either. For five years, astronomers have tried to better define Oumuamua based on the limited amount of information available, but they have stopped declaring with certainty that it is this or that. Could it be more than that? A clever design craft of some kind?

A new study published by Chinese researchers in Astronomy and astrophysics Wednesday lowers the possibility that Oumuamua is a ship due to the luminosity of its bright periods not bright enough to indicate a light photon thrust.

I’m no scientist, but that seems like a ridiculous reason to ignore the spacecraft theory. For example, while we’re on Earth, we think optical sails – sails that capture photons to propel spacecraft in a similar way to a sailing ship – are the latest science fiction technology that has only recently been used in space exploration on Earth, traveling between stellar systems there may be something More advanced. In addition, ‘Oumuamua appears to be using our sun as efficiently to drive rockets out of our solar system as effectively as launching them. Could that not be part of her push strategy? To jump from star to star, using its gravity to shoot distant points in our galaxy?

Harvard physicist Avi Loeb agrees. lobe said Daily Beast The spaceship theory still holds up. Even the Chinese researchers in the original paper downplayed the odd angle, acknowledging the possibility that it was still a craft of some sort:

So, as Oumuamua is slithering through the solar system, it should have been really bright at some points – and all but invisible at others. During ‘Oumuamua’ she did It has become brighter and darker than ours on its strange journey, it was not bright enoughShangfei said. “If it’s an optical sail, the brightness contrast should be much greater.”

But Loeb said another explanation for Oumuamua’s relative darkness is the shape of the possible sail. Chinese scholars hypothesize that if the Oumuamua was a light sail vehicle, it would have a flat sail. A flat sail reflects more light at the brightest moments than, for example, a concave sail.

The sail “doesn’t have to be flat,” Loeb explained. He noted that he’s working with the Breakthrough Initiative, a science startup founded by Russian-Israeli billionaire Yuri Borisovich, in the form of an umbrella as part of the Starshot spacecraft project.

The controversy surrounding a possible sail shape may be moot. Shangvi admitted that “Oumuamua could be a spacecraft ‘in other forms.’ In other words, it may not have a sail at all—and may instead rely on another type of propulsion system.

I didn’t think other scientists would have to insist that their colleagues use more imagination but I think it does. All I’m saying is, it might not be a spacecraft, but wouldn’t it be cooler if it was? Be realistic guys.