The physicist and astronomer who discovered Oumuamua, the first interstellar object ever discovered in the solar system, said the theory that the object is "a solar candle of artificial origin" is wild speculation.
A study of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics published this month suggested that the 400-meter-long object could be a "solar sail."
A solar sail is a propulsion method for probes and spacecraft that are alternative to or complementary to the use of motors that capture impulses produced by sources external to the vessel itself.
"There is a maximum speed at which you can travel to gravitationally connect to the sun," astronomer Robert Weryk told CBC. "When we first saw this object, it traveled faster than that, so we know in fact that it comes from outside our solar system. We decided that it was a comet that had a bit of degassing that was not visible from the ground, so it did not look like a comet. "
He added: "(The Harvard researchers) have decided to focus on another aspect of this, which is an alien spacecraft that has a solar sail material that is causing the non-gravitational trajectory, but in reality we believe that this is not true based on the data we have obtained. "
Oumuamua, he told CBC, is probably a "remnant of another solar system." "It happened to us by chance, and we were very lucky to have operated the telescope that night and looking that way," he said.
Harvard researchers told Fox News on Nov. 12 that the study "tries to explain the excess of force" that it acted in Oumuamua.
"Our work follows standard scientific methodology: an anomaly is observed in the data, the standard explanation does not explain it, so an alternative interpretation is proposed," Loeb told Fox. He added that Weryk's comment "shows prejudice."
"Any misunderstanding can be discarded when more data is published about Oumuamua or other members of its population in the future." A reaction of the kind you cited shows prejudice, "he said.
Weryk's work focuses mainly on the search for asteroids that represent a danger to the Earth.
Results of the study
"Considering an artificial origin, one possibility is that Oumuamua is a solar candle, floating in interstellar space as detritus of advanced technological equipment," the researchers said in the Nov. 1 article at Harvard. They observed that the object had a "peculiar acceleration" through space.
"This acceleration is naturally expected for comets, driven by evaporative material. However, recent observational and theoretical studies imply that Oumuamua is not an active comet," the researchers said.
The Harvard study adds, "Sails of similar size are designed and built by our own civilization, including the IKAROS project and the Starshot Initiative." Solar sails technology can be used to carry loads between planets or between stars.