A strange object passing by the orbit of Jupiter just may prove the existence of aliens, at least according to one Harvard professor.
Avi Loeb, one of the top astronomy professors in the world who boasts decades of Ivy League professorships and hundreds of publicized works, is standing behind his claim that a cigar-shaped foreign body dubbed Oumuamua is from another civilization.
Loeb, as well as fellow Harvard professor Shmuel Bialy, laid out their theory in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, a paper published in November of 2018, writing that Oumuamua "may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization."
Loeb and Bialy came to this conclusion following careful mathematical analysis of the way in which the strange object, a cigar-shaped foreign body, sped past the sun. Their study led them to conclude that Oumuamua could be a "lightsail of artificial origin."
"Many people expected once there would be this publicity, I would back down," Loeb told the Washington Post. "If someone shows me evidence to the contrary, I will immediately back down."
"It changes your perception on reality, just knowing that we're not alone," he continued. "We are fighting on borders, on resources…It would make us feel part of planet Earth as a civilization rather than individual countries voting on Brexit."
Speculation surrounding Oumuamua's origins has been floating around for some time. The object, which is said to absorb 96 percent of the light that hits its surface and possibly contains hydrocarbons, the building blocks of life, first came under astronomer's radar in 2017. The object caught the attention of astronomers when it managed to escape the sun's orbit, which was only possible due to how fast it was traveling.
The object was given the name "Oumuamua" after a Hawaiian term meaning messenger or scout, and while a number of theories have risen regarding its origin, Loeb's theory has been the most controversial. Ohio State University astrophysicist Paul M. Sutter dubbed Loeb and Bialy's paper an insult to "honest scientific inquiry," but Loeb isn't letting the criticism deter him from his belief.2comments
"The mainstream approach [is] you can sort of drink your coffee in the morning and expect what you will find later on. It's a stable lifestyle, but for me it resembles more the lifestyle of a business person rather than scientists," Loeb said. "The worst thing that can happen to me is I would be relieved of my administrative duties, and that would give me even more time to focus on science. All the titles I have, I can dial them back. In fact, I can dial myself back to the farm."
While speculation remains regarding whether or not Oumuamua is an alien spacecraft, it has been confirmed that the object is from out of this world, as its speed confirmed that it is from a different solar system.