In October 2017, scientists observed a strange cigar-shaped interstellar object falling our solar system at an incredible speed through Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii. The mysterious object then officially named Oumuamua, derived from a Hawaiian word that means a messenger who reaches out from the distant past. Researchers assumed that it was an ordinary asteroid or comet. However, they later realized that Oumuamua was ten times longer than it was wide. Adding to the mystery, was that it suddenly accelerated for no discernible astrophysical reason.
Now, a new paper from scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics postulates that Oumuamua is a solar sail. The study asserts that it is an object that channels solar energy to propel itself through space. The hypothesis would explain why the strange object suddenly accelerated in our solar system.
The study notes the possibility that Oumuamua is a light sail floating as debris in interstellar space from advanced technological equipment. It stresses that this would account for the many anomalies of the object, including the unusual geometry inferred from its light-curve, its deviation from a Keplerian orbit in the absence of any sign of a cometary tail or spin-up torques, and its low thermal emission.
Oumuamua is the first object ever seen in our solar system originating outside of it. The ostensible behavior of Oumuamua, which observed the Earth briefly in October 2017 and suddenly fled our solar system at 196,000 miles per hour, is without a doubt what most remotely intelligent life form would do.