CBS NEWS – A pair of Harvard scientists say that a massive, quick visitor to our solar system may have been a probe sent by alien civilization. Most astronomers believe that Oumuamua is Hawaiian for "messenger" or "scout" – a comet or asteroid, except half a mile long. But there are things about my behavior that I can not fully explain. Enter two Harvard scientists with the idea even to admit it is a bit over there, CBS correspondent Nevs Toni Dokoupil reports.
When Oumuamua was discovered in October last year, the sun passed to 196,000 miles per hour. There was a cigarette in a reddish object. Others thought it was shaped like pancake.
"It looks very different from the objects we found in the solar system," said Avi Loeb, chairman of the Harvard University Astronomical Department. Loeb said Oumuamu did not behave like a common asteroid or extinguish like a comet.
"There seemed to be an additional force that pushed him, and it's not clear what this pressure is," he added.
In the forthcoming article, he and his colleagues offer what they call "a more exotic scenario … Oumuamu is perhaps a fully operational probe that deliberately went into the land near extraterrestrial civilization."
According to their calculations, Oumuamua is smaller than a millimeter thin but very wide as the core, using solar radiation to launch – similar to the space ship Count Dooku used in Star Wars films.
"I just want everyone to take it with a giant grain of salt," said Jackie Faherty, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History. She said that Oumuamu did not broadcast any signals indicating that it was a spaceship.
"If you say the top 10 list of explanations does not include an alien probe, what's in the list of the first 10 explanations?" He asked Dokoupil.
"It's a comet, or an asteroid or a rock," Faherty said.
"Where is alien civilization on the list of explanations?"
"I do not know, really low, really low, really, really low," Faherty said.
Faherty suspects that the appearance of Oumuamua means that we are on the verge of extraterrestrial encounters like the one in the film "Arrival".
"Oumuamua, as it stands, is a phenomenal discovery and a really important goal for students and for the public to excite themselves," Faherty said. "It's OK that it's not an alien."
Oumuamua is so far away that we can no longer see it with our satellites. Faherty had a theory of why we continue with these exotic explanations: how difficult it is to achieve the existence of aliens, it is obviously even more difficult to understand the idea that we are alone.