Was ‘Oumuamua alien technology?


Fact Box

  • The University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS1 telescope team discovered ‘Oumuamua on October 19th, 2017. 
  • ‘Oumuamua is Hawaiian for “a messenger from afar arriving first.”
  • According to NASA, comets are “cosmic snowballs of frozen gases, rock, and dust.” As they get closer to the Sun, they “heat up and spew gases and dust into a glowing head that can be larger than a planet,” while asteroids are “small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun.”
  • According to the National UFO Reporting Center, California, Florida, and Washington state report the most UFO sightings per year in the US.

Matthew (Yes)

Interstellar space probes designed by intelligent beings are nothing new. Voyagers 1 and 2 are evidence of this. It is, therefore, not far-fetched to think that ‘Oumuamua could be an example as well. 

Because there are no photographs of ‘Oumuamua, only artistic renderings, the exact dimensions are unknown precisely but must be within certain parameters. For instance, the way in which this object moved every eight hours and reflected light indicated that it is 5 to 10 times longer than wide and most likely of a pancake shape, moving end over end. Known natural objects are no more than three times longer than wide and never flat. 

The leading 'natural phenomenon' explanation is that ‘Oumuamua is a hydrogen iceberg. However, this explanation doesn't address the regions of space that could birth such a thing, as hydrogen is only solid at 14 degrees above absolute zero. Faint and distant starlight is warmer; thus, a hydrogen iceberg could theoretically move like ‘Oumuamua, but not for the time or distance required to make the journey. 

‘Oumuamua, the only known and observed object to enter and leave our solar system, came in at 58,000 mph, a speed too slow to account for its ejection from only but .002 of other nearby and relatively young regions that could have done so. Further, on its departure, ‘Oumuamua accelerated continuously, not impulsively, to 196,000 mph. This velocity gain is not naturally possible, considering only a slingshot effect from the Sun's gravity. 

So what is it? The explanation of a light sail, powered by solar radiation, is consistent with the light reflected, the parameters of shape, and the velocity gain observed. Alien technology, no matter how “unlikely,” cannot yet be ruled out.    

Elliot (No)

Despite the recent hysteria about UFO sightings on planet Earth, 'Oumuamua is not an interstellar spacecraft or evidence of alien technology of any kind. The technology required to travel between star systems is beyond our current level of comprehension, let alone our level of technology. It goes without saying that a craft capable of interstellar travel should be moving at a velocity that approaches the speed of light. 'Oumuamua is not doing this, and it is moving at the same velocity as a typical asteroid. An alien craft would likely utilize technology and propulsion methods that are completely unrecognizable to us. 

Further, if the solar system were, in fact, visited by aliens, we probably wouldn't have any idea that it was happening. We would only be aware of them if they wanted us to be aware of them. And if they wanted us to be aware of them, they would make their presence known in a much more transparent manner, perhaps even spectacularly so. Otherwise, they would undoubtedly have some type of cloaking technology

In contrast, 'Oumuamua looks exactly like a random piece of debris tumbling through space: which is exactly what it is. Much has been said about the asteroid's 'pancake' shape. But if it were an alien craft, it would be spinning like a boomerang instead of tumbling through the void like a poorly thrown football. In the end, the widely accepted theory is probably correct: 'Oumuamua is the remnant of a Pluto-like planet from another system.

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