Scientists are urging NASA to investigate asteroids for evidence of alien technology.
In October 2017, a mysterious 300-foot-wide object was spotted passing through our Solar System. The object, later christened Oumuamua was travelling on a path that revealed it had come from another star system.
Some astronomers even suggested that Oumuamua, which accelerated as it passed by the Earth in a way that scientists still can’t explain could have been an interstellar probe launched by an alien civilisation.
Others disagree, but the question can’t be resolved until we can get a close look at another interstellar visitor.
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So a group of scientist has proposed that NASA should be ready with a spacecraft of its own to rendezvous with the next Oumuamua-type object that comes along.
Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb, one of the astronomers that first suggested that Oumuamua did not have a natural origin, believes that the mysterious visitor may somehow be connected to the recent rash of UFO sightings reported by US military personnel.
In an article for Scientific American discussing the origins of the UFOs – or UAPs as the US military prefers to call them, – he wrote: “If UAP originated from China or Russia and were a national security risk, their existence would have never been revealed to the public.
“Hence, it is reasonable to conclude that the U.S. government believes that some of these objects are not human in origin.
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“This leaves two possibilities: either UAP are natural terrestrial phenomena or they are extraterrestrial in origin. Both possibilities imply something new and interesting that we did not know before."
Now a postgraduate pupil of Loeb’s Amir Siraj, has proposed a mission to examine the next Oumuamua.
He says that any such mission would require a rapid response from NASA: “If you're going to go after an interstellar object with a billion dollar spacecraft, you probably want it to look a little bit unusual,” he told Motherboard.
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“For an ‘Oumuamua-sized object, it's a couple of months for the trip and for an object 10 times dimmer than ‘Oumuamua, meaning a third of the size of ‘Oumuamua, the trip would be a couple of weeks, so you would need to really decide very quickly.”
There may be an alternative to a rapid-launch space mission. There may be an interstellar object already here on Earth.
A fireball that exploded and landed in the South Pacific Ocean in January 2014 may have been an object from another solar system. Using classified government tracking data, Dr. Loeb, thinks it might be possible to identify the spot where it landed and launch a submarine mission to pick it up.
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He’s interested in the object because, he says, it’ made of “very tough material”.
He wrote on his personal blog that its behaviour when entering the atmosphere suggested its hardness was much higher than that of any “stony meteorites and two times larger than that of the toughest iron meteorites.
"The first interstellar meteor could not have been a stony meteorite similar to most solar system asteroids.”
He adds: “anomalous properties of interstellar objects like [the 2014 meteorite] and Oumuamua, hold the potential for revising conventional wisdom on our cosmic neighbourhood.
"The expedition to the ocean floor around Papua New Guinea will illustrate metaphorically how scientific evidence expands our island of knowledge into the ocean of ignorance that surrounds it.”
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