NASA Reveals Everything It Knows About the So-Called Alien Spacecraft


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NASA released a new report detailing everything it knows about the captured interstellar object passing through our Solar System late last year.

Oumuamua - a Hawaiian word meaning "visitor from afar" - was first detected by a telescope at the University of Hawaii in October 2017 as it traveled through our solar system, causing great excitement in astronomers around the world. And as some theorized, this elongated object could be an alien spacecraft equipped with a solar sail.

Although an alien invasion is the perfect way to complete 2018, this is probably not the case.

Shortly after the discovery of Oumuamua, scientists pointed the Spitzer Space Telescope toward them. Spitzer traces comets with infrared energy and uses radiant heat to gather information about their size. However, the object was too weak for the telescope to pick up, even after being closer to Earth last September.

"Oumuamua have provided surprises since the first day of its discovery, so we were eager to see what Spitzer could show," said astronomer David Trilling. This "non-detection" makes' Oumuamua all weird.

As Spitzer was not able to detect the object, scientists were not able to place a size limit on how large it could be. Astronomers project three different sizes, assuming that 'Oumuamua has a' spherical diameter ', about 440 meters, 140 meters or as small as 100 meters. This small size is consistent with a related study published earlier this year which noted that the spacecraft may have openings on its surface capable of emitting gases, acting as small thrusters to give a slight boost and speed and direction.

 

Writing in The Astronomical Journal, experts now say that the object can also be up to ten times more reflective than the comets currently residing in our Solar System, but we cannot attribute this to aliens yet. The reflectivity of a comet, or "albedo," may change throughout your life. As it passes near the Sun, the ice found on its surface can heat up and turn into gas, which then sweeps dust and dirt from the surface to reveal more reflective ice.

It is likely 'Oumuamua underwent such a deep cleansing when it made an extremely close approximation to our Sun, just over a month after it was first discovered.

Unfortunately, there is still a lot we do not know about 'Oumuamua - and we are likely never to have a chance to learn more. The "spacecraft" is leaving our Solar System and is well beyond the reach of any of our telescopes and these are the only information we know about this strange space body. [IFLS]

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