Are we alone? This is perhaps the most profound question that still faces humanity today. What if the answer to this question was negative? Will we be ready to accept it? For Avi Loeb, astrophysicist at Harvard University (USA), space technology has recently passed through our solar system. He explains how he came to this conclusion.
October 2017. An observatory in Hawaii (United States) reported that Prof.That crosses us For one About four times that of most . Object follows a hyperbolic path that points to It comes from somewhere else. Baptized 1I / 2017 U1. And quickly titled ‘ , You understand The “guest” “the Messenger”. It awakens all curiosity. “Oumuamua fascinates scientists”, Then address . Because it is the first It is also observed near the ground. But also because it offers a certain number of amazing properties.
Comet, asteroid, part of an astronomical body. Over the months, all assumptions about her nature have been put on the table. Including even craziest: the spaceship! A hypothesis supported – against and against nearly everyone – by Abraham Loeb, Chair of the Astronomy Department at Harvard University (USA). ” TheIt encourages caution. We make a hypothesis, gather evidence, and test that hypothesis. Then we refine the hypothesis or collect more evidence. But fashions can discourage consideration of certain assumptions, and a professional can direct attention and resources toward certain topics and alienate them from others., He explains.
Personally, I am convinced that Oumuamua is a sign of existence or existenceOther than ours, nowhere else in . I would like society to agree to give as much credit for my theory as they give to a hypothesis Or the multiverse. But I also believe that humanity is not prepared to accept that we are not unique. “
Oumuamua, a strange interstellar object
But what does Avi Loeb build on his hypothesis? On a few singularities noted by researchers who have studied the interstellar body. Its shape first. “We don’t have a clear picture of the object. The data is only from eleven days of observations.” – Before the object moves too far from the Earth – By several telescopesAvi Loeb says. Show that brightnessTen times every eight hours. “ It concludes that the object is much longer in width. Some have talked for the first time about what a cigar looks like. Then, likely statistically, the data turned into some form of disk.
“In any case, we have never, in nature, noticed such a flat and / or elongated thingAvi Loeb assures us. This is not to mention the fact that “Oumuamua was also ten times brighter than any Asteroid orOf the same size. “ A number of explanations have been put forward.
This animation shows the journey of the star body 1I / 2017 U1, also known as’ Oumuamua, across our solar system. Following a path that surprised astronomers. © European Southern Observatory
A path that challenges the laws of physics
“If only there was that, I would have moved.”Avi Loeb says. But there was alsoThe path that appears in the data collected by astronomers. According to a Harvard researcher, that is « Breathtaking ». “Laws It allows us to predict the path of the object to which it is exposed The . But ‘Oumuamua didn’t behave as expected. “ far from He saw himself driven by a mysterious force. “It’s happening to comets, too. A kind of” rocket engine “effect that they owe to their long tail of evaporating ice.”
For this effectExplaining the declination of Oumuamua’s path, the object had to lose a tenth . However, by surveying the surrounding space, astronomers did not find any trace of water. Or dust.
Other hypotheses have been put forward. First, colliding with another object. But the data did not match. Then those carried by the iceIt consisted exclusively of . But the idea was short-lived. That from work The sun’s radiation has also been investigated. But it will have an incredibly low mass density. Only 1% off on the surface of the ground. It suffices to make ‘Oumuamua’ the most porous thing observed in our solar system.
Oumuamua, a spaceship?
“To me, the Oumuamua is unlike anything else we know in the universe that it must be designed, built and launched byOutside the planet Earth. Maybe a veil is floating in space. Communication buoy. Or a piece of debris left by a civilization other than oursAvance Avi Loeb. I realize that this is a hypothesis . But the other hypotheses put forward to explain these particular properties are no less. Nobody can really explain the path of Oumuamua. However, the body skewedDo not hesitate to launch the researcher in the blink of an eye to me .
“Let’s be clear. I am not one of those who seek outFrom . I am not the “terrible kid of astrophysics”. I just ask myself questions. By trying not to let prejudices overwhelm me. “
“Subtly charming problem solver. Extreme tv enthusiast. Web scholar. Evil beer expert. Music nerd. Food junkie.”