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Astronomers will check the interstellar cigar-shaped asteroid for signs of alien technology

By midian182 ยท 14 replies
Dec 12, 2017
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  1. Last month, scientists confirmed that an asteroid spotted in October was the first interstellar object ever detected that’s larger than a mote of dust. Now, astronomers are set to use one of the largest telescopes in the world to check the cigar-shaped ‘Oumuamua for signs of alien life.

    The Pan-STARRS project at the University of Hawaii first discovered ‘Oumuamua, which reached peak speeds of 196,000mph as it entered our solar system at an angle close to the Sun and passed Earth at 85 times the distance to the moon.

    ‘Oumuamua's unusual characteristics, such as the fact it’s at least ten times longer than it is wide (it’s about 400 meters in length), has led scientists on the Breakthrough Listen project to focus its observation efforts on the asteroid. The $100m initiative, which is funded by internet billionaire Yuri Milner, aims to answer the question of whether we are alone in the universe by searching for evidence of alien civilizations.

    “The more I study this object, the more unusual it appears, making me wonder whether it might be an artificially made probe which was sent by an alien civilization,” said Avi Loeb, professor of astronomy at Harvard University and an adviser to the Breakthrough Listen project.

    “Most likely it is of natural origin, but because it is so peculiar, we would like to check if it has any sign of artificial origin, such as radio emissions. If we do detect a signal that appears artificial in origin, we’ll know immediately.”

    ‘Oumuamua is now around two astronomical units away from earth, which is twice the distance between the earth and the sun. The Breakthrough Listen team will use the Green Bank radio telescope in West Virginia—the largest fully steerable radio telescope in the world— to scan the object across four radio frequency bands ranging from one to 12 gigahertz. It would take the telescope less than a minute detect something as faint as the radio waves from a cell phone.

    Even if the asteroid doesn’t provide evidence of extraterrestrial life, the study could still reveal if ‘Oumuamua is carrying water or ice, and whether it’s surrounded by any clouds of gas.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,621   +987

    Sufficient to note that the illustration is an artist's concept. Could be smooth, shiny and cylindrical.
    JaredTheDragon, Reehahs and Girus like this.
  3. gusticles41

    gusticles41 TS Guru Posts: 307   +333

    That's pretty friggin neat
    Reehahs likes this.
  4. Jamlad

    Jamlad TS Maniac Posts: 173   +159

    According to Betteridge's law of headlines: no.
    JaredTheDragon and mbrowne5061 like this.
  5. senketsu

    senketsu TS Guru Posts: 828   +554

    Is it too late to redirect it to Chairman Pai's a**?
  6. axiomatic13

    axiomatic13 TS Addict Posts: 188   +109

    The universe needs to learn to roll doobies better. This one's fat on one end. :p
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,819   +4,620

    I'm not sure whether to laugh out loud or silently.
  8. Vulcanproject

    Vulcanproject TS Evangelist Posts: 505   +624

    Someone read my post in the initial techspot comment section a couple weeks ago that if you're an alien race this is probably how you would do scouting missions. It was only half serious but clearly someone read it lol
    wiyosaya likes this.
  9. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,073   +1,548

    IMO, it is pretty unlikely there is intelligent alien life on it. This thing has been in space for eons. Even at the speed it is travelling, interstellar travel is at least on the order of decades.

    What would be interesting to me, is if they can get a reasonable assessment of its path, they might be able to pose a reasonable guess as to where it came from.
  10. Jonny5isalivetm

    Jonny5isalivetm TS Rookie

    Looks like the Battlestar Galactica xD
  11. Ggomadesuwing

    Ggomadesuwing TS Rookie

    Watch out, Buenos Aires.
    Khanonate, Jamlad and JaredTheDragon like this.
  12. Jamlad

    Jamlad TS Maniac Posts: 173   +159

    I would like to know more.
    Khanonate likes this.
  13. spydercanopus

    spydercanopus TS Evangelist Posts: 857   +127

    The mothersh*t has arrived.
  14. Joe Blow

    Joe Blow TS Addict Posts: 244   +77

    Another huge waste of money.
  15. Capaill

    Capaill TS Evangelist Posts: 693   +344

    Starship Troopers

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