Strange object enters out solar system

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#1 Posted by uninspiredcup (29285 posts) -

Extraterrestrial at it again. Or it's a rock.

A prob seems more plausible than saucers trying to stay hidden but clearly in plain site to some guy with a camera.

http://sputniknews.com/society/201811021069466353-harvard-study-oumuamua-alien-reconnaissance-mission/

‘Oumuamua, the mysterious interstellar object that has caused much head scratching in scientific circles, now has a new possible origin: part of a reconnaissance mission initiated by an alien civilization wanting to check out other galaxies

The latest theory on ‘Oumuamua comes from a study published on Thursday by Shmuel Bialy and Abraham Loeb, a pair of astronomers with the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

When scientists reviewed data collected by the Pan-STARRS-1 survey of ‘Oumuamua's closest flyby of the sun on September 9, 2017, they noted that the mysterious rock gained speed, rather than slowing down. Researchers at the time explained that the increase in ‘Oumuamua's velocity was likely explained by outgassing, the release of gas trapped or frozen inside the rock. The object itself was later classified as a comet by officials.

However, this explanation didn't sit right with Bialy and Loeb, who argue that had outgassing been the cause of ‘Oumuamua's increased velocity, it would've sent the interstellar object into a spin, which wasn't observed.

The pair suggested that ‘Oumuamua could actually be a light sail, a spacecraft that relies on radiation pressure for power, that's been sent from an alien civilization looking for signs of life in our solar system.

"We explain the excess acceleration of ‘Oumuamua away from the sun as the result of the force that the sunlight exerts on its surface. For this force to explain measured excess acceleration, the object needs to be extremely thin, of order a fraction of a millimeter in thickness but tens of meters in size," Loeb told Universe Today via email.

"This makes the object lightweight for its surface area and allows it to act as a light sail. Its origin could be either natural (in the interstellar medium or proto-planetary disks) or artificial (as a probe sent for a reconnaissance mission into the inner region of the solar system)."

Bialy and Loeb later explained in their work that should their theory prove true, there is the slight possibility that the light sail could even just be a "defunct sail floating under the influence of gravity and stellar radiation."

But then again, alien civilizations.

"The alternative is to imagine that ‘Oumuamua was on a reconnaissance mission. The reason I contemplate the reconnaissance possibility is that the assumption that ‘Oumumua followed a random orbit requires the production of ~10^{15} such objects per star in our galaxy. This abundance is up to a hundred million times more than expected from the solar system, based on a calculation that we did back in 2009," Loeb wrote.

"A surprisingly high overabundance, unless ‘Oumuamua is a targeted probe on a reconnaissance mission and not a member of a random population of objects."

Questions remain regarding the origin of ‘Oumuamua, and considering the rock is no longer in our solar system and is much too far away for researchers to observe, the lab coats might be in the dark for some time on the matter.

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#2 Posted by DEVILinIRON (4487 posts) -

I've heard about this possibly artificial object before. It's fun to imagine the possibilities.

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#3 Edited by Jag85 (12410 posts) -

Interesting hypothesis.

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#4 Posted by DaVillain- (33086 posts) -

Armageddon anyone?

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#5 Posted by jaydan (1667 posts) -

Is aliens

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#6 Posted by skipper847 (7292 posts) -

Yeah heard about this but I guess we will never no that why they are publishing it.

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#7 Edited by MrGeezer (59715 posts) -

So...are there any potentially habitable worlds nearby that are capable of sustaining a civilization that is capable of sending 10^{15} light sails into space?

Furthermore, if they were actually capable of sending that much mass into space (and targeting that mass towards other solar systems), then why haven't we gotten any kind of radio contact from them, or something? I mean, we're not talking Star Trek technology with faster-than-light technology. We're supposedly just talking about solar sails. And I have a hard time believing that any civilization CAPABLE of sending this many spacecraft out into interstellar space wouldn't have pretty freaking soon realized that that's a waste of resources and just started putting that effort into beaming electromagnetic signals into space. Hell, we did the Voyager stuff, but we sure as hell aren't pumping out the resources to send out 10^{15} of those things.

What, are these aliens somehow far more capable of extra-terrestrial contact than we are, despite being VASTLY more stupid? If they wanted to look for signs of life in other solar systems, wouldn't there be FAR better ways to do that than making an absolute s***-ton of probes and sending them out AT RANDOM and AT SUB-LIGHT SPEED? If these alien jack-asses are THAT freaking wasteful, then what the hell are the odds that their civilization stil exists? I mean, Jesus. Humans can be pretty stupid, but even WE are smart enough to not waste our time and resources on that kind of crap.

And again, if this was a mission specifically targetting US, then why the hell haven't we gotten any kind of "contact" beyond just seeing a kind of weird looking object in our sun's orbit? Surely it took a LONG-ASS TIME for this thing to get here if it was sent by an alien civilization. So if they targeted us and knew we were here, then why the hell haven't we gotten any kind of contact from them in the long-ass time that it took for this alleged spacecraft to reach our solar system?

Honestly...I used to think that alien speculation (even if I knew it was a fantasy) was kind of fun to indulge in. But I've seen enough of that stuff over the years that I'm sick of it. It has the same effect on me as people telling me about god or ghosts. I'm all for that stuff, I actually want to be convinced otherwise, because that would be utterly mind-blowing. But it's probably not going to happen. So unless you've got some actual hard proof, then please just shut up and stop talking about it (not talking about the person who posted this thread, but the astronomers peddling the alien hypothesis).

tl,dr version: no, it's not the ****ing aliens.

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#8 Posted by Jag85 (12410 posts) -
@MrGeezer said:

Surely it took a LONG-ASS TIME for this thing to get here if it was sent by an alien civilization. So if they targeted us and knew we were here, then why the hell haven't we gotten any kind of contact from them in the long-ass time that it took for this alleged spacecraft to reach our solar system?

There's a simple answer to that: Human civilization in the past was not advanced enough to receive any alien signals. Humans did not have radio technology or space research until the 20th century. If aliens had attempted to send any signals before that, we would not have been able to receive them.

Which leads me to another possible scenario: The alien civilization in question may no longer exist. It could just be a remnant of an alien civilization that existed a long time ago in the past, and no longer exists today.

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#9 Posted by MrGeezer (59715 posts) -

@Jag85 said:
@MrGeezer said:

Surely it took a LONG-ASS TIME for this thing to get here if it was sent by an alien civilization. So if they targeted us and knew we were here, then why the hell haven't we gotten any kind of contact from them in the long-ass time that it took for this alleged spacecraft to reach our solar system?

There's a simple answer to that: Human civilization in the past was not advanced enough to receive any alien signals. Humans did not have radio technology or space research until the 20th century. If aliens had attempted to send any signals before that, we would not have been able to receive them.

Which leads me to another possible scenario: The alien civilization in question may no longer exist. It could just be a remnant of an alien civilization that existed a long time ago in the past, and no longer exists today.

Kind of my point:

1) If this is alien technology and the aliens were just sending a shitload of probes out into space randomly, then the aliens are almost certainly dead by now for being stupid wasteful little jerks.

2) If these aliens knew we were here THAT long ago...long enough for them to have sent a solar sail to us and for that solar sail to arrived here before they devised a means of communicating to us before the solar sail ever arrived here...then the aliens are almost certainly dead by now. If they were specifically trying to contact US, and if using a solar sail was their first choice, then it would've taken so long for that solar sail to reach us that they should have already contacted us by other methods if their civilization wasn't gone.

Either way, IF this was the aliens, they're probably already dead.

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#10 Posted by ArchoNils2 (10232 posts) -

People these days:

How about we go through the likely stuff before going to the unlikely? Did you guys learn nothing from when you thought you found a Dyson sphere?

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#11 Edited by Jag85 (12410 posts) -

@MrGeezer:

I think you may have misinterpreted the 10^15 part...

"The alternative is to imagine that ‘Oumuamua was on a reconnaissance mission. The reason I contemplate the reconnaissance possibility is that the assumption that ‘Oumumua followed a random orbit requires the production of ~10^{15} such objects per star in our galaxy. This abundance is up to a hundred million times more than expected from the solar system, based on a calculation that we did back in 2009," Loeb wrote.

...He isn't saying that the aliens produced 10^15 probes, but that they only sent a single probe (or a few probes). What the astronomers are suggesting is that the alternative to the alien hypothesis is that there are 10^15 such objects per star across the Milky Way. That would mean, for ~250 billion stars, there are more than 10^26 such objects across the Milky Way. What the astronomers appear to be implying is that, going by Occam's razor, a single probe from an alien civilisation is a simpler hypothesis than there being more than 10^26 such objects across our galaxy.

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#12 Edited by JennyCheerCheer (8 posts) -

Interesting!

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#13 Posted by mobius_basic (551 posts) -

@MrGeezer said:

What, are these aliens somehow far more capable of extra-terrestrial contact than we are, despite being VASTLY more stupid? If they wanted to look for signs of life in other solar systems, wouldn't there be FAR better ways to do that than making an absolute s***-ton of probes and sending them out AT RANDOM and AT SUB-LIGHT SPEED? If these alien jack-asses are THAT freaking wasteful, then what the hell are the odds that their civilization stil exists? I mean, Jesus. Humans can be pretty stupid, but even WE are smart enough to not waste our time and resources on that kind of crap.

I guess Stephen Hawking is just a dumbass then.....look up Project Breakthrough Starshot. Back in 2016 they started devising a plan to building small spacecraft and send them off to the Alpha Centauri system. With laser powered light-sails these tiny spacecraft, it was calculated they could reach the system in less than 30yrs. With Hawking's unfortunate death....I am not sure what is going to happen with the project but it did have the financial backings from billionaire Yuri Milner. A few others had jumped on board as well. Very interesting stuff and I hope they continue with the project. Not to say that they were going to do it in the next 5 years as there are still hurdles to overcome. Essentially if they could overcome those hurdles....that was the plan to send tons of these probes to different star systems.

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#14 Edited by MrGeezer (59715 posts) -

@mobius_basic said:

I guess Stephen Hawking is just a dumbass then.....look up Project Breakthrough Starshot. Back in 2016 they started devising a plan to building small spacecraft and send them off to the Alpha Centauri system. With laser powered light-sails these tiny spacecraft, it was calculated they could reach the system in less than 30yrs. With Hawking's unfortunate death....I am not sure what is going to happen with the project but it did have the financial backings from billionaire Yuri Milner. A few others had jumped on board as well. Very interesting stuff and I hope they continue with the project. Not to say that they were going to do it in the next 5 years as there are still hurdles to overcome. Essentially if they could overcome those hurdles....that was the plan to send tons of these probes to different star systems.

People plan a whole bunch of stuff that is never going to happen.

It's a moot point anyway, since I misread the article. What these guys were proposing is that the aliens weren't just randomly sending a bunch of probes out to different star systems.

I also like how you specifically mentioned Alpha Centauri, aka the system that's close to us at only 4 light years away. Regardless, it doesn't really change my point. Even assuming that these alien actually live in Alpha Centauri and are capable of sending a probe here within 30 years, they should have already contacted us before the probe ever even got here. So why haven't we received any signals from them yet?

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#15 Edited by mobius_basic (551 posts) -

@MrGeezer

People plan a whole bunch of stuff that is never going to happen.

Very true and this happens all the time. I for one hope it does happen and the project continues. Just thought I'd share a plan/project that Hawkings was seriously working on with others.

I also like how you specifically mentioned Alpha Centauri, aka the system that's close to us at only 4 light years away.

Apha Centauri was specifically mentioned because that is their primary planned destination. It wasn't something I pulled from thin air to bolster a point.

Regardless, it doesn't really change my point. Even assuming that these alien actually live in Alpha Centauri and are capable of sending a probe here within 30 years, they should have already contacted us before the probe ever even got here. So why haven't we received any signals from them yet?

Think you have it backwards.....the plan is for us to send probes there. As far as your point...the only point of yours I was even countering is the one in regards to humans sending several probes to different star systems: "Humans can be pretty stupid, but even WE are smart enough to not waste our time and resources on that kind of crap."

For the topic of Oumuamua, I personally do not believe it was some kind of probe.

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#16 Posted by CrimsonBrute (25229 posts) -

I don't know about you guys but I, for one, welcome our new alien overlords.

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#17 Edited by theone86 (22328 posts) -
@davillain- said:

Armageddon anyone?

Bout time!

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#18 Posted by Todddow (893 posts) -

They actually decoded a message from that thing:

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#19 Posted by Jag85 (12410 posts) -
@MrGeezer said:

Even assuming that these alien actually live in Alpha Centauri and are capable of sending a probe here within 30 years, they should have already contacted us before the probe ever even got here. So why haven't we received any signals from them yet?

We don't know how long the probe would've taken to arrive here. The aliens could've sent the probe a century ago, and sent signals at the same time. But since human civilisation wasn't advanced enough to pick-up the signals at the time, the aliens may have gave up on their search for life, only for their probe to reach us a century later.

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#20 Posted by Jag85 (12410 posts) -
@todddow said:

They actually decoded a message from that thing:

Loading Video...

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#21 Posted by MrGeezer (59715 posts) -

@mobius_basic said:

@MrGeezer

People plan a whole bunch of stuff that is never going to happen.

Very true and this happens all the time. I for one hope it does happen and the project continues. Just thought I'd share a plan/project that Hawkings was seriously working on with others.

I also like how you specifically mentioned Alpha Centauri, aka the system that's close to us at only 4 light years away.

Apha Centauri was specifically mentioned because that is their primary planned destination. It wasn't something I pulled from thin air to bolster a point.

Regardless, it doesn't really change my point. Even assuming that these alien actually live in Alpha Centauri and are capable of sending a probe here within 30 years, they should have already contacted us before the probe ever even got here. So why haven't we received any signals from them yet?

Think you have it backwards.....the plan is for us to send probes there. As far as your point...the only point of yours I was even countering is the one in regards to humans sending several probes to different star systems: "Humans can be pretty stupid, but even WE are smart enough to not waste our time and resources on that kind of crap."

For the topic of Oumuamua, I personally do not believe it was some kind of probe.

I realize that. The thing is, it is the primary planned destination because it's really freaking close. And you only brought up this plan in order to show that it's actually viable to be shooting space probes all over the place. But the comparison to us and the speculated aliens sort of breaks down after that point, because we aren't planning on sending probes to Alpha Centauri at random. We chose Alpha Centauri because it's really close to us (cosmically speaking). The plan loses feasibility when we're talking about anywhere that isn't extremely close to us (it WOULD be a waste of resources for us to just randomly pick star systems say, 100 light years away, and start throwing probes at them).

Again, I have to reiterate that this is a moot point anyway. As someone else pointed out above, I misread the quote and thought that these guys were speculating that the aliens WERE just throwing around space probes willy nilly. In fact, they were saying the opposite, that it likely wouldn't just be a random encounter since doing that randomly would be stupid, and that they'd have to throw out a ridiculous number of probes in order for the chances of any of them getting here being remotely likely. The part of my post that you're arguing against is precisely what the people in the article were arguing against. I don't think that's feasible, and they don't either. I was just disagreeing with them on THAT point because I initially misread what they were saying.

But yeah, like you said...not aliens. If this was the aliens, they'd have to be really close to us and likely already know that we're here. So if they have the technology to be sending actual space probes here, then we should have heard from them long before those space probes ever got here. Also, Occam's Razor. If I'm understanding the article correctly, the entire alien hypothesis rests on the object not displaying the kind of spin that would be observed if it was a simple comet. So what's more likely? That this actually IS an alien probe from a nearby alien civilization that has been able to do interstellar travel and has sent probes here, but has somehow not yet made ANY contact with us in the time that it took that probe to get here? Or that it's actually just a comet with a weird spin?

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#22 Posted by MrGeezer (59715 posts) -

@Jag85 said:

We don't know how long the probe would've taken to arrive here. The aliens could've sent the probe a century ago, and sent signals at the same time. But since human civilisation wasn't advanced enough to pick-up the signals at the time, the aliens may have gave up on their search for life, only for their probe to reach us a century later.

Fair enough, but unless the hypothetical aliens went extinct or had a total collapse of their civilization, then wouldn't they still be listening (assuming that the probe was MEANT to come here)?

I mean, it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to send a probe to a location and then stop listening to the probe's data before the probe ever even gets to where it was supposed to be going. That kind of defeats the purpose of sending a probe in the first place.

If this was aliens, and if their civilization is still intact, and if our solar system was the probe's planned destination, then the aliens should still be receiving data from the probe.

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#23 Edited by Jag85 (12410 posts) -

@MrGeezer said:
@Jag85 said:

We don't know how long the probe would've taken to arrive here. The aliens could've sent the probe a century ago, and sent signals at the same time. But since human civilisation wasn't advanced enough to pick-up the signals at the time, the aliens may have gave up on their search for life, only for their probe to reach us a century later.

Fair enough, but unless the hypothetical aliens went extinct or had a total collapse of their civilization, then wouldn't they still be listening (assuming that the probe was MEANT to come here)?

I mean, it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to send a probe to a location and then stop listening to the probe's data before the probe ever even gets to where it was supposed to be going. That kind of defeats the purpose of sending a probe in the first place.

If this was aliens, and if their civilization is still intact, and if our solar system was the probe's planned destination, then the aliens should still be receiving data from the probe.

Several other hypothetical scenarios:

  • The aliens sent signals a century ago and didn't receive any signals back, so they assumed there is no life in our solar system and thus gave up on searching for life in our solar system.
  • The aliens sent the probe from a very distant star system, and eventually lost track of the probe.
  • Our solar system was not the planned destination of the probe.
  • Aliens don't exist.
  • The aliens gave up on their search for alien life after they said to themselves "aliens don't exist."