Berlin, Jan 13 (RT) .- It can not be ruled out that Oumuamua, the first interstellar asteroid detected in the Solar System, is a probe sent by extraterrestrial "intelligent beings". This is said in an interview with Spiegel by Professor Avi Loeb, director of the Department of Astronomy at Harvard University, who says that "thinking about distant civilizations is not speculative."
"The more we discover, the stranger it becomes"
Loeb, author of more than 700 articles on astrophysical phenomena, explains that Oumuamua – which was discovered in October 2017 and whose name means "first messenger" in Hawaiian – has a number of characteristics that are difficult to explain. "The more we discover" about this object, "Strange" becomeshe says.
Thus, its brightness "changes drastically", suggesting that it has "a very rare form", probably that of a disc or a cigar. On the other hand, the Oumuamua orbit "differs significantly" from one formed only by the gravitational field of the Sun, which points to the existence of an "additional force" acting on this cosmic object.
"As long as there is no natural explanation" for the mysteries related to the asteroid, "we have the possibility that it is an artificial product," Loeb considers a "candle of light made by intelligent beings."
In the same vein, he points out that "if Oumuamua is a random wandering object, each solar system would have to produce millions of billions of such objects," so it does not rule out the possibility that it is "a mission." directed, "even from a space probe sent on reconnaissance missions.
"Thinking of distant civilizations is not speculative"
The astronomer emphasizes that we "live in a special time" in terms of the possibilities of finding an answer to "the most fundamental of all questions": whether we are alone in the universe. On the one hand, in recent years we have discovered "how life can be diffused in our galaxy," explains the scientist, noting that the Kepler satellite taught us "that every fourth star has a planet similar to Earth, with favorable temperatures for the emergence of life. " Secondly, "today we have the necessary technology" to investigate the possible existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life.
The professor argues that "thinking about distant civilizations is not speculative." "We know that we exist, at least one way of life has developed advanced technology, and we know that there are conditions similar to those of Earth in a quarter of all planetary systems around other stars," the scientist adds,Why, then, should there not be intelligent beings elsewhere?"
- The nature of Oumuamua has been surrounded by an aura of mystery since the day it was discovered by astronomers at the University of Hawaii in October 2017.
- Recently, researchers at the SETI Institute reported that long-term observations did not detect artificial radio signals on the surface of this rocky object, but they still do not rule out that it could be of an alien nature.