You know the scientists: they give the coolest explanation possible to the audience and then act like nerds and release paper years later saying something more mundane. Thus, the entry of the first body into our solar system from a different place. Scientists, nicknamed “Oumuamua,” are still arguing about what the mysterious object is, and surprisingly, the coolest possible explanation – a spacecraft – still plays a big role.
Oumuamua, or “messenger” in Hawaiian aboriginal language, was first seen streak through high-powered island lenses based observatory In 2017. It was clear from its speed and trajectory that Oumuamua came from outside the solar system, and it spat again shortly after it swung around the sun.
This gave the scientists very limited time to study ‘Oumuamua. The researchers were immediately excited to be the first to notice an object from outside the solar system taking a U-turn across our region. At first it numbed a comet, which was later classified as a type of asteroid due to the absence of a coma – the halo of dust, gas and vapor covering the comet’s core.
But that doesn’t seem quite right either. For five years, astronomers have tried to better define Oumuamua based on the limited amount of information available, but they have stopped declaring with certainty that it is this or that. Could it be more than that? A clever design craft of some kind?
A new study published by Chinese researchers in Astronomy and astrophysics Wednesday lowers the possibility that Oumuamua is a ship due to the luminosity of its bright periods that aren’t bright enough to indicate light photon thrust.
I’m no scientist, but that seems like a ridiculous reason to ignore the spacecraft theory. For example, while we are on Earth we believe that optical sails – sails that capture photons to propel spacecraft in a similar way to a sailing ship – are the latest science fiction technology that has only recently been used in space exploration on Earth, aliens capable of traveling between star systems There might be something more advanced. In addition, ‘Oumuamua appears to be using our sun as efficiently to eject rockets from our solar system as effectively as their launch. Could that not be part of her push strategy? To jump from star to star, using its gravity to shoot distant points in our galaxy?
Harvard physicist Avi Loeb agrees. Loeb told Daily Beast That spaceship theory is still holding. Even the Chinese researchers in the original paper downplayed the odd angle acknowledging that it could still be a craft of some sort:
So, because Oumuamua is slithering through the solar system, it should have been really bright at some points – and all but invisible at others. And during ‘Oumuamua she did It’s getting brighter and darker than ours on its strange journey, it wasn’t bright EnoughShangfei said. “If it was an optical sail, the brightness contrast should be much greater.”
But Loeb said another explanation for Oumuamua’s relative darkness is the shape of the possible sail. Chinese scientists hypothesize that if Oumuamua was a light-sail vehicle, it would have a flat-sail. A flat sail reflects more light at its brightest moment than, say, a concave sail.
The sail “doesn’t have to be flat,” Loeb explained. He noted that he’s working with the Breakthrough Initiative, a science startup founded by Russian-Israeli billionaire Yuri Borisovich, in the form of an umbrella as part of the Starshot spacecraft project.
The controversy surrounding a possible sail shape may be moot. “Oumuamua could be a spacecraft ‘in other forms,'” Shangvi admitted. In other words, it may not have a sail at all – and may instead rely on another type of propulsion system.
I didn’t think other scientists would have to insist that their colleagues use more imagination but I do think it does. All I’m saying is, it might not be a spacecraft, but wouldn’t it be cooler if it was? Be realistic, folks.