The Hush Post: Earth has a visitor. Rather the universe has one. It’s cylindrical, dark and reddish, 400-metre long. The object is on the move constantly. This fall, astronomers announced that the thing came blazing into the galaxy at speeds of up to 196,000 mph. It is now headed away as quickly as it came.
The object’s flight trajectory is so strange and its speeds are so blistering that it probably did not originate from within our solar system. Its discoverers concluded that the object is a rare interstellar traveller from beyond our solar system.
Astronomers at the University of Hawaii, who discovered the object with the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope, said the visitor is an asteroid. They have named it ‘Oumuamua – Hawaiian for “messenger.” It appears rocky and doesn’t one bit look like a comet.
Other scientists say, ‘Oumuamua is natural, and they have not yet ruled out more extraordinary origins. “The possibility that this object is, in fact, an artificial object – that it is a spaceship, essentially – is a remote possibility,” Andrew Siemion, director of the Berkeley Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Research Center, told The Washington Post on Monday.
Siemion is a member of the Breakthrough Listen initiative: a $100 million project, backed by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, to hunt for extraterrestrial intelligence. This week, researchers with the Breakthrough Listen initiative announced that a radio telescope will probe ‘Oumuamua for signs of technology. The telescope, nestled within the hills of the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia, begins its search on Wednesday. ‘Oumuamua behaves oddly. Planets and asteroids circle the sun on the same plane, like water swirling around a basin. ‘Oumuamua dipped into the solar system from outside the plane, as if leaked from a cosmic faucet into a specific direction with force.