Space Research

Oumuamua’s possible alien connection probed

To investigate if the cigar-shaped, interstellar object Oumuamua has any alien connection, an international team of astronomers turned to Murchison Widefield Array, a telescope located in Western Australia’s remote Murchison region, to check for radio transmissions.

The research team analyzed the data produced by the Murchison Widefield Array when Oumuamua was between 59 million and 366 million miles (95 million and 590 million kilometers) from Earth. They checked for radio transmissions coming from the 1,300-foot-long (400 meters) mysterious object between the frequencies of 72 and 102 megahertz.

As Oumuamua produced no radio transmissions or signals, the researchers concluded that they did not find any signs of intelligent life. According to them, Oumuamua is most likely a part of a comet that lost much of its surface water after being bombarded by cosmic rays.

The astronomers said that even though they did not hear any transmissions from the interstellar asteroid, the research was an important step in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

Lead scientist Professor Steven Tingay, from Curtin University, Western Australia, said that Oumuamua has given them an interesting opportunity to expand the search for extraterrestrial intelligence from traditional targets such as stars and galaxies to objects that are much closer to Earth. The research study was published in the April 9, 2018 issue of the Astrophysical Journal.

Notably, Oumuamua was first spotted by researchers on October 19, 2017, using the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS), at Haleakala Observatory on the island of Maui. The cigar-shaped Oumuamua was initially believed to be a comet. But, scientists reclassified the interstellar object as an asteroid as it did not display any cometary activity – no long tail and no cloud-like “coma” around its core.

Another recent study claimed that Oumuamua probably originated from a dual star system or two stars orbiting a common center of gravity.

About the author

Megha Kedia

Megha Kedia

Megha is a seasoned reporter with over six years of experience covering news in technology, science and related fields. At The Space News, Megha covers space research & technology news.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment