# Was "Oumuamua" An Alien Space Probe?

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We can conjecturize all we want about "Oumuamua" and still not understand it's true origin.  Whatever it is and wherever it came from could very well be something that only happens once in a millenium.  Once "Oumuamua" leaves our solar system...there goes Science's opportunity to understand something that may unlock the door to something unexpected and even something possibly Alien?  If we humans have the technology to send Voyager probes out into deep space....then why should we limit that level of technology to just us?

Klitwo

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I'm a bit surprised at the level of cynicism in here.... let's just take the light-curve example. Even the most conservative estimates accept that the axial ratio is 6:1. However, since it's unlikely that the object was viewed edge-on, the probability is that the ratio is higher, perhaps 15:1 or more. This is an extreme geometry for the first interstellar object and, if true, I would say the odds are better than 50/50 that it's artificial.

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13 minutes ago, goodricke1 said:

I'm a bit surprised at the level of cynicism in here.... let's just take the light-curve example. Even the most conservative estimates accept that the axial ratio is 6:1. However, since it's unlikely that the object was viewed edge-on, the probability is that the ratio is higher, perhaps 15:1 or more. This is an extreme geometry for the first interstellar object and, if true, I would say the odds are better than 50/50 that it's artificial.

Firstly you don't need to view an object edge on to estimate its shape from a light curve.

Secondly, how do you come up with a 50/50 estimate?

Given the large observed excess of natural to artificial objects in our neighbourhood I think it extremely unlikely for it to be artificial.

The fact is we shall never know.

Regards Andrew

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2 hours ago, goodricke1 said:

I'm a bit surprised at the level of cynicism in here.... let's just take the light-curve example. Even the most conservative estimates accept that the axial ratio is 6:1. However, since it's unlikely that the object was viewed edge-on, the probability is that the ratio is higher, perhaps 15:1 or more. This is an extreme geometry for the first interstellar object and, if true, I would say the odds are better than 50/50 that it's artificial.

I do think the major problem of trying to understand the true nature of "Oumuamua" is in fact it's speed...which is estimated to be approximately 196,000mph.  So far to date...no known comets or asteroids have even come close to that. If outgassing alone were found to be the prime reason for it's remarkable speed....we "wouldn't" be having this conversation now....which based on the laws of Physics as we understand them, "keeps" the door open for further conjecture.

Klitwo

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8 hours ago, Klitwo said:

I do think the major problem of trying to understand the true nature of "Oumuamua" is in fact it's speed...which is estimated to be approximately 196,000mph.  So far to date...no known comets or asteroids have even come close to that. If outgassing alone were found to be the prime reason for it's remarkable speed....we "wouldn't" be having this conversation now....which based on the laws of Physics as we understand them, "keeps" the door open for further conjecture.

Klitwo

It was proposed that out gassing may account for the anomalies seen in its trajectory. Its "speed" is due to it entering our system from outside of the solar system and is related to the relative motion of the system it came from and ours and any gravitational boost encounters it may have had on the way. It is not proposed that it came from our system i.e. a comet or asteroid.

Even if it were artificial there is no reason to suspect we need new laws of physics. Remember you and I have an infinitude of velocities relative to one object or another all the time up to the cosmic speed limit of c!

Regards Andrew

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23 hours ago, andrew s said:

It was proposed that out gassing may account for the anomalies seen in its trajectory. Its "speed" is due to it entering our system from outside of the solar system and is related to the relative motion of the system it came from and ours and any gravitational boost encounters it may have had on the way. It is not proposed that it came from our system i.e. a comet or asteroid.

Even if it were artificial there is no reason to suspect we need new laws of physics. Remember you and I have an infinitude of velocities relative to one object or another all the time up to the cosmic speed limit of c!

Regards Andrew

Thank you for your comments (this applies to everyone) on the subject of "Oumuamua"....

Currently "Oumuamua" is passing Saturn's orbit and will eventually leave our solar system for good with "no" universally accepted scientific explanation for it's true origin.  If you strongly feel your proposed theory of how "Oumuamua" obtained it's remarkable speed before and after it entered our solar system will help science to explain "Oumuamua's" true origin (after some sort of peer review)...then I would expect NASA would be interested in hearing about it too.  After all...that's the business they're in.

Klitwo

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While not wishing to trouble NASA with speculation I will trouble SGL.

196,000mph is about 90km/s which is under half our speed of rotation about the galactic core of 230 km/s. Radial velocities of stars are typically in the 10s of km/s and the fastest measured is US 708 at 708km/s.

You can draw you own conclusions but ejection from another stellar system does not seem out of the question.

Regards Andrew

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Here's a thought.

Say TESS detects a good number of earth-sized planets which show a signature of water in their atmospheres.

It is not beyond possibility that we would try sending probes powered by solar sails off in their direction, perhaps with no hope beyond their being recognised as being of alien origin at their destinations.

A kind of cosmic 'Kilroy was here'.

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3 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Here's a thought.

Say TESS detects a good number of earth-sized planets which show a signature of water in their atmospheres.

It is not beyond possibility that we would try sending probes powered by solar sails off in their direction, perhaps with no hope beyond their being recognised as being of alien origin at their destinations.

A kind of cosmic 'Kilroy was here'.

The movie "Arrival" (Circa: 2016) is probably one good example (use your imagination here) why advanced aliens (If they exist) would want to visit planet Earth in the first place....

Even though it's pure science-fiction....the so-called advanced aliens light sail shaped spaceships in the movie "Arrival" bear a similar theoretical depiction of the size and shape of "Oumuamua" (Circa: 2017)......

Klitwo

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12 hours ago, andrew s said:

Firstly you don't need to view an object edge on to estimate its shape from a light curve.

Secondly, how do you come up with a 50/50 estimate?

Given the large observed excess of natural to artificial objects in our neighbourhood I think it extremely unlikely for it to be artificial.

The fact is we shall never know.

Regards Andrew

If you imagine a needle travelling through space, the 'body' of the needle will reflect more light and generate the light curve. But this will not be a true value for the axial ratio, as that could only be derived from the light curve if the 'tips' of the needle were oriented directly towards us. Since this is far less likely, the published axial ratio values are most probably under-estimated.

I thought 50/50 was an appropriate balance between the extreme properties of the object versus the unlikelihood that an artificial craft would appear at our moment in history.

I'm not sure about your third point, yes there are far more natural objects but this has 6 or 7 unusual properties and it's not from our neighbourhood.

Unfortunately we may never know, but if it was artificial it's unlikely to be either random or alone.

@Klitwo, the non-gravitational acceleration is unrelated to the original speed of the object (assuming of course that it is a genuine interstellar object and that its motion was not generated artificially).

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30 minutes ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Here's a thought.

Say TESS detects a good number of earth-sized planets which show a signature of water in their atmospheres.

It is not beyond possibility that we would try sending probes powered by solar sails off in their direction, perhaps with no hope beyond their being recognised as being of alien origin at their destinations.

A kind of cosmic 'Kilroy was here'.

We have actually already done that on purpose twice and although we included items that may or may not be transposed by alien intelligence we can hardly guage weather they even could so those craft at the very least signify to aliens some form of intelligence or in essence the maximum effect of the simple light sail.

Not arguing the professor from Harvard's point just in agreemment you have fully justifiied the purpose and logic of even the simplest craft as it would be all that is needed to send others the message " You are not Alone".

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2 hours ago, goodricke1 said:

If you imagine a needle travelling through space, the 'body' of the needle will reflect more light and generate the light curve. But this will not be a true value for the axial ratio, as that could only be derived from the light curve if the 'tips' of the needle were oriented directly towards us. Since this is far less likely, the published axial ratio values are most probably under-estimated.

I thought 50/50 was an appropriate balance between the extreme properties of the object versus the unlikelihood that an artificial craft would appear at our moment in history.

I'm not sure about your third point, yes there are far more natural objects but this has 6 or 7 unusual properties and it's not from our neighbourhood.

Unfortunately we may never know, but if it was artificial it's unlikely to be either random or alone.

@Klitwo, the non-gravitational acceleration is unrelated to the original speed of the object (assuming of course that it is a genuine interstellar object and that its motion was not generated artificially).

I kindly ask...then what are "you" assuming then...is it artificial or isn't it?  There are certain elements in it's characteristics and behavior that can possibly be attributed to either hypothesis....unless of course you perhaps know something about "Oumuamua" that NASA doesn't?  If that's the case...then you've chosen the right forum to discuss it in.

Here is what we know about "Oumuamua" so far....>

P.S.  Even NASA will tell you this....that the only way to know for sure what "Oumuamua" is would be to study it up close.

Klitwo

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4 hours ago, Klitwo said:

I kindly ask...then what are "you" assuming then...is it artificial or isn't it?  There are certain elements in it's characteristics and behavior that can possibly be attributed to either hypothesis....unless of course you perhaps know something about "Oumuamua" that NASA doesn't?  If that's the case...then you've chosen the right forum to discuss it in.

Here is what we know about "Oumuamua" so far....>

P.S.  Even NASA will tell you this....that the only way to know for sure what "Oumuamua" is would be to study it up close.

Klitwo

The only assumption I would make is that if it is artificial, then it must have been intentionally directed towards us. The Voyager craft for example, are expected to travel for a quadrillion years before they would approach a planet as closely as 'Oumuamua did to Earth.

I find it quite suspicious that, with over 100 years of quality images behind us, we have never detected an 11th, 12th, 13th magnitude interstellar object i.e somewhat brighter than this one. The volume of interstellar space is staggeringly vast relative to the Solar System, and this object approaching to within 0.16 AU was virtually a collision. When you add in the other unforeseen properties, this is the most interesting object since the invention of the telescope imo.

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What's even more surprising is NASA's lack of a response to "Oumuamua's" recent inner solar system visit. Even as "Oumuamua" glides past Saturn's orbit....NASA has or had a chance to send a rocket at break neck speed...a sling shot around the sun to catch up to "Oumuamua", to observe and image it at some appropriate distance before it leaves our solar system and back into deep space for good.  If NASA would have done this, we would have finally understood the mystery of "Oumuamua", it's possible origin (artificial or natural occurring) and perhaps even it's final destination.  Sadly that's not going to be the case....at least not yet anyway.

Klitwo

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4 hours ago, Klitwo said:

What's even more surprising is NASA's lack of a response to "Oumuamua's" recent inner solar system visit. Even as "Oumuamua" glides past Jupiter's outer orbit....NASA has or had a chance to send a rocket at break neck speed

There are ideas out there for missions which would need to be launched within the next 15 months or so, but have you any idea how long it takes to get agreement and finance for such a mission, let alone at a time when the US administration was in shutdown?

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42 minutes ago, Stub Mandrel said:

There are ideas out there for missions which would need to be launched within the next 15 months or so, but have you any idea how long it takes to get agreement and finance for such a mission, let alone at a time when the US administration was in shutdown?

If it's going to happen it needs to happen soon....>

P.S.  This was in today's MSN top news again....>

Klitwo

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Most NASA missions schedules are 3-7 years so an intercept mission like this would be a first for mankind and a great followup for the heading off of Mu69 after locating/discovering it first in 2014.

This is an older link but it does address some of the propulsion challenges via NASA personel.

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Gents NASA's funding is not bottomless indeed far from it and its resources have been cut over the years so serious thought has to be given for each and every mission. I have no doubt their budget for the next few years at atleast has already been used or ear marked on in progress or soon to be missions. The idea they will just build a launch some sort of space craft within a few months just to chase the whim that an object they already feel they have a fair understanding of may just be a spacecraft is ...well honestly ridiculous. Its exactly the same reason they didnt divert huge amounts of funds and resources chasing the silly notion of the face and pyramids on Mars. Science not wishful thinking.

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18 hours ago, symesie04 said:

Gents NASA's funding is not bottomless indeed far from it and its resources have been cut over the years so serious thought has to be given for each and every mission. I have no doubt their budget for the next few years at atleast has already been used or ear marked on in progress or soon to be missions. The idea they will just build a launch some sort of space craft within a few months just to chase the whim that an object they already feel they have a fair understanding of may just be a spacecraft is ...well honestly ridiculous. Its exactly the same reason they didnt divert huge amounts of funds and resources chasing the silly notion of the face and pyramids on Mars. Science not wishful thinking.

Oops!  An ancient artifact leftover from the great Martian pyramid building days in the Cydonia region on Mars....>

Klitwo

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I think its a massive missed opportunity, we know that everything in our solar system is made from pretty much the same stuff but it would have been nice to confirm that other systems were similar or not.

Alan

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38 minutes ago, Alien 13 said:

I think its a massive missed opportunity, we know that everything in our solar system is made from pretty much the same stuff but it would have been nice to confirm that other systems were similar or not.

Alan

We already know this from spectroscopy of stars, molecular clouds, interstellar dust, etc.

Regards  Andrew

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1 minute ago, andrew s said:

We already know this from spectroscopy of stars, molecular clouds, interstellar dust, etc.

Regards  Andrew

Does that include any organic compounds too.

Alan

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44 minutes ago, Alien 13 said:

Does that include any organic compounds too.

Alan

Yes organic compounds have been identified. Google "list of interstellar and circumstellar molecules" for a wikie page on the subject.

Regards Andrew

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The solar system itself is in outer space. Unless it is very special, we can expect that the compound we have here occur in many other places.

Anyway organic chemistry is carbon chemistry, and organic molecules are molecules containing carbon atoms. I suppose Titan has more has more organic compounds than Earth does, but there's no sign of life there. Organic compounds do not mean much by themselves.

Also, there is no distinction between the "true nature" and the "nature" of any object, and the same is true for its "true origin" and its "origin".

And not knowing what something  is doesn't mean that we can decide for ourselves what it is. It means that we don't know what it is.

Jupiter has flung out thousands of objects from our solar system. Other systems have gas giant too, which also fling out objects. For this reason we should expect visitors from outside the solar system. We just detected our first.

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We have a perfectly mundane explanation for Oumuamua's visit:  a natural object whizzed by. Unless we have a very good reason to assume it is artificial, we should not leap to the conclusion that it is.

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If you want more though, try good scifi: Rendezvous with Rama (Arthur Clarke) or Eon (Greg Bear). Wonderful tales. The characters in these novels certainly have reason to think that their visitors aren't aren't just ordinary comets or asteroids.

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3 hours ago, Ruud said:

The solar system itself is in outer space. Unless it is very special, we can expect that the compound we have here occur in many other places.

Anyway organic chemistry is carbon chemistry, and organic molecules are molecules containing carbon atoms. I suppose Titan has more has more organic compounds than Earth does, but there's no sign of life there. Organic compounds do not mean much by themselves.

Also, there is no distinction between the "true nature" and the "nature" of any object, and the same is true for its "true origin" and its "origin".

And not knowing what something  is doesn't mean that we can decide for ourselves what it is. It means that we don't know what it is.

Jupiter has flung out thousands of objects from our solar system. Other systems have gas giant too, which also fling out objects. For this reason we should expect visitors from outside the solar system. We just detected our first.

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We have a very perfectly mundane explanation for Oumuamua's visit:  a natural object whizzed by. Unless we have a very good reason to assume it is artificial, we should not leap to the conclusion that it is.

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If you want more though, try good scifi: Rendezvous with Rama (Arthur Clarke) or Eon (Greg Bear). Wonderful tales. The characters in these novels certainly have reason to think that their visitors aren't aren't just ordinary comets or asteroids.

Thanks to Mariner 4, launched on November 28, 1964, was the first successful flyby of the planet Mars and gave mankind the first glimpse of Mars at close range.  Had we not launched Mariner 4 we wouldn't have been able to "confirm" the existance of huge craters on Mars. Until then (July 14 and July 15, 1965)...even using the world's largest telescopes at some of Mar's closest approaches of 35 million miles....the existance of craters on Mars was all "conjecture" and "speculation".....Public Domain image....> https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mariner_4_craters.gif

Klitwo

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