Our Planet Sucks So Bad That Space Aliens Flew By And Didn't Even Stop for a Bathroom Break

European Southern Observatory / M. Kornmesser

Almost a year ago, the first space object confirmed to be from another star system blew by us, and while the science community was pretty jazzed, most people were too concerned with Brexit, the United States turning into a dictatorship, and the disaster that was Justice League to pay much attention. They named it Oumuamua, because the University of Hawaii discovered it. The name translates as "visitor from afar arriving first." Just be happy it wasn't my alma mater, UC Berkeley, that discovered it, because it would be called FuckStanford instead. That translates as "we wish buffoonery and hijinks in a friendly competitive way to our esteemed rival across the bay."

Now, people who know, aka scientists, keep telling me it's an asteroid. I mean, sure, it seems like it should be one, but it sure as hell does not look like or act like one. Cigar shaped and the length of four football fields?

Karen Meech of the Institute for Astronomy in Hawaii said this about the odd visitor:

Oumuamua varies in brightness by a factor of ten as it spins on its axis every 7.3 hours. No known asteroid or comet from our solar system varies so widely in brightness, with such a large ratio between length and width. The most elongated objects we have seen to date are no more than three times longer than they are wide. This unusually big variation in brightness means that the object is highly elongated: about ten times as long as it is wide, with a complex, convoluted shape. We also found that it had a reddish color, similar to objects in the outer solar system, and confirmed that it is completely inert, without the faintest hint of dust around it.

Also, it's super shiny! Ten times shinier than any regular asteroid ever detected.

When I heard about it back then and saw the artist rendition up top, all my "aliens are finally here" sensors lit up. I mean, to paraphrase the late, great, Johnny Carson, "that is weird, wild stuff." You know what ELSE is that same shape and super shiny? The goddamn Battlestar Galactica!

Okay, so obviously the words I've written so far are very tongue in cheek, but now comes the "holy shit" part and why I'm writing about this discovery a year later. Not EVERY scientist is dismissing the possibility that it WASN'T an alien spaceship.

A paper just came out where two scientists dig into why the "asteroid" accelerates and deviates from an expected orbit without gravity accounting for it. From the paper's abstract:

Such an acceleration is naturally expected for comets, driven by the evaporating material. However, recent observational and theoretical studies imply that 'Oumuamua' is not an active comet.

So, yeah, it acts really weird and NOT like it should. Take a look at the concluding sentence of the abstract:

Our general results apply to any light probes designed for interstellar travel.

Now, keep reading past the equations and astrophysics (unless you're my son at Cornell who tried to explain some of it to me) and you get to an even more dramatic chipmunk moment. Right after the two authors conclude that at the very least this is some completely new class of interstellar material formed in some completely unknown way, they throw THIS out:

Considering an artificial origin, one possibility is that Oumuamua is a lightsail, floating in interstellar space as a debris from an advanced technological equipment. Lightsails with similar dimensions have been designed and constructed by our own civilization, including the IKAROS project and the Starshot Initiative2. The lightsail technology might be abundantly used for transportation of cargo between planets or between stars.

Um. Um? Um!!! Oh, but they don't stop THERE! You want more? More you shall have!!

Alternatively, a more exotic scenario is that Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization.

So, what chowderhead, correspondence school PhDs wrote this crazy paper?

It was Professor Avi Loeb along with postdoc Shmuel Bialy, both at Haaavad. Now, I don't know much about the latter, but the former's credentials include:

  • Chair of Harvard's Astronomy Department
  • Fellow at the American Academy of Arts & Sciences
  • Fellow at the American Physical Society
  • Fellow at the International Academy of Astronautics
  • Published four books and over 700 papers

Named one of the 25 most influential people on space by Time Magazine in 2012 alongside two names you will recognize and the rest you may not.

Now, as the paper tells us, we weren't able to get an actual visual look at Oumuamua and never will. So, as the wisdom of memes tell us, "I'm not saying it was aliens, but it was aliens."

Also, that's when Donald Trump started blathering like an idiot about Space Force, which maybe had nothing to do with distracting from Bob Mueller's Funhouse Trials of Good Times Come On after all!

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Carlos Sagan

I am a biochemist MexiCAN. I also write screenplays, ever hoping to get one made.

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