Astronomers have just published a new study in which they suggest that the large asteroid called Oumuamua may actually be a solar sail that has been sent by aliens to search for signs of life in faraway civilizations.
According to the Daily Mail, astronomers that hail from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) have put forward the theory that what we think of as just an ordinary comet/asteroid may in actuality be "a lightsail of artificial origin."
The new study on Oumuamua was undertaken by Shmuel Bialy, a postdoctoral researcher at the CfA's Institute for Theory and Computation (ITC), and Professor Abraham Loeb, who is the director of the ITC and the Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University.
Bialy and Professor Loeb have suggested that the mysterious acceleration of the asteroid could be coming from solar radiation that is propelling the massive solar sail. This may not be as far-fetched as it sounds after they describe how a sail of this kind only needs to be 0.3-0.9 mm thick to successfully make its way through the entirety of the galaxy without collapsing.
In their new research, they explain, "Considering an artificial origin, one possibility is that Oumuamua is a lightsail, floating in interstellar space as a debris from an advanced technological equipment. Alternatively, a more exotic scenario is that Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization."