'Alien Artifact' That Passed Close to Earth Could Have Been Probe, Harvard Scientists Speculate

Aliens are real and they have come close to Earth, at least according to two Harvard scientists who claim an alien probe passed through the solar system in 2017.

In a paper to be published Nov. 12 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, two Harvard researchers claim Oumuamua, a cigar-shaped foreign body that entered the solar system in 2017, “may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization."

Oumuamua, named after a Hawaiian term meaning messenger or scout, first caught the attention of an astronomer when it managed to escape the sun’s orbit, which was only possible due to how fast it was traveling. Initially deemed an asteroid, Oumuamua was said to cigar-shaped, an odd shape given that gravitational forces typically shape asteroids into spheres. It was also said to absorb 96 percent of the light that hit its surface.

The strange object immediately sparked interest, and scientists began scanning it for signs of extraterrestrial life, something that Harvard scientists Shmuel Bialy and Abraham Loeb seem to think extremely possible.

Bialy and Loeb came to their conclusion that the object is an alien probe following careful mathematical analysis of the way in which it sped past the sun, which led them to the possible conclusion that Oumuamua could be a “lightsail of artificial origin."

“It is impossible to guess the purpose behind Oumuamua without more data," Avi Loeb, chairman of Harvard's astronomy department and a co-author of the paper, told NBC News MACH, adding that it is possible the object was floating through space when our universe ran into it, “like a ship bumping into a buoy on the surface of the ocean."

“I follow the maxim of Sherlock Holmes: When you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth,” Loeb said of his conclusion, which he said was “purely scientific and evidence-based.”

Other scientists are not as eager to accept the theory, including Coryn Bailer-Jones, an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany.

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“In science," he said. “We must ask ourselves, 'Where is the evidence?' not 'Where is the lack of evidence so that I can fit in any hypothesis that I like?'"

While Earthlings will likely never know the truth of whether or not Oumuamua is an alien probe given that it has since left the solar system and is no longer visible even with telescopes, astronomers have confirmed that it was from an entirely different solar system.