Oumuamua

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This is a story I’ve been following for a while, and probably a lot of you have, as well. It seems that an “interstellar object” named Oumuamua has been moving through our solar system. There has been a lot of speculation involving this rock or whatever, and most of them are WAGs. Only a few things about this object are facts: It comes from interstellar space, it has an odd shape (cylindrical), it turns three times a day, and it’s moving fast back out of our solar system. It passed Earth a couple of months ago and it is currently decelerating from its top speed of 87.7 km/s.

What brings this subject up today is a cool article I came across. It seems a team of scientists are going to actively look at whether this object is emitting any sort of radio signal- if detected, this would certainly change the nature of this object from a rock to an artifact of some sort.

We currently have no way of reaching this thing to put a set of eyeballs on it. It’s a real shame, as this is definitely odd. Pretty cool, though, one way or another. For all we know it’s an ancient hulk of a ship and we just lost our one chance to study it. There is a plan to shoot tiny probes towards it propelled by lasers and solar sails, but it isn’t ready yet, and may not be ready in time to stand any chance of catching a thing that is moving around 85,000 mph.

The more we know about the heavens, the less we know, really.

 

3 thoughts on “Oumuamua

  1. This is absolutely awesome. How can this have just passed us by. I’m saying recon drone but I have always been sensationalist.
    The other issue. We will scan for radio signals. Pretty short sighted to think that communication will be in the same form as us.

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    • Yeah. Oumuamua is pretty weird, but no scientist dares say “alien.” This thing is moving fast and is displaying some pretty strange behavior. It really illustrates the limits of our current technology and capabilities, and the lack of knowledge we have about the immediate environs around Earth.

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  2. There is a study on some methods for getting a probe out to have a good look. The later you launch, the quicker the probe has to be sent to catch up. There is a description of a possible launch in 2025 that would use a flyby of Jupiter and then the sun to pick up speed, but still wouldn’t catch up until 2039. And it gets really close to the sun to pick up speed – they call it a fry-by.

    I suspect that if any signals are detected, these options would suddenly get a lot of money thrown their way.

    https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1711/1711.03155.pdf

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