A strange visit came to our solar system in 2017. It absolutely does not correspond to what astronomers knew before. Vigilant observers in Hawaii were the first to discover it through their telescopes and gave it the name “Oumuamua,” which means something like “a messenger from the distant past.” Since then, scientists have been puzzled as to what this alien celestial body might be.
Messenger from the distant past
Oumuamua was unusually bright, brighter than regular asteroids, and appeared to have a very elongated shape as well as flat. The typical appearance of comets is also unrecognizable: the release of gases at the rear end of the object was missing. The search for a scientifically coherent classification began frantically.
Avi Loeb introduces an unusual and controversial premise in play. The astrophysicist from Harvard University is not afraid to publish unconventional works in his field. About Oumuamua, in his book Extra Earth, he now makes his own considerations: The object could come from a distant civilization, either a junk space or a small spacecraft, as humanity has already sent it with Voyager probes.
Avi Loeb is not a fanatic. His scientific work is well-founded and his arguments are understandable. In addition to his professor, he is the chair of the advisory committee for the “Breakthrough Starshot Initiative”, which aims to send super-light, sail-shaped small spaceships to the nearest solar system with the help of laser light. This is the direction many of his speculations about Oumuamua are targeting. The strange path can be traced back to sunlight pressing on the man-made missile. This is undoubtedly an odd hypothesis, but no more absurd than many other hypotheses that attempt to explain strange flight characteristics – at least Loeb thinks.
The astrophysicist’s second thesis goes in a different direction: Oumuamua may have long ago been extraterrestrial technical equipment created with a specific purpose. For example some kind of buoy. Loeb’s theory: the buoy is at rest and our solar system is advancing rapidly. But why would aliens bother building such a thing? Perhaps some kind of beacon, warning system, or navigation sign, the author doubts and goes on to explain that one should assume with these explanations that Oumuamua has an extraterrestrial origin – and therefore we are not the only intelligence in space.
Loeb deals extensively with this conclusion. He is convinced that there is life in the vastness of the universe and calls for a new scientific branch: space archeology. Like archaeologists, astronomers must search for technical civilizations by “drilling” into space.