Scientists Believe Mysterious, Oddly Shaped Space Object Could Be 'Alien Probe'

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Given the name "Oumuamua" - which means messenger from afar arriving first, or scout, in Hawaiian - the object is believed to be the first interstellar visitor to our solar system.

When Oumuamua was spotted a year ago, scientists observed that its speed had increased after passing the Sun. But Oumuamua wasn't "coma", of the atmosphere and dust that surround the comet, when they melt.

A handout image of an artist's impression released by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) shows Oumuamua - the first interstellar object discovered in the Solar System - November 20, 2017.

Scientists with the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics published a new study discussing the origins of such an object, including the possibility that it might be a "lightsail of artificial origin, designed for interstellar travel".

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"This unusual object ... is less than [400 metres] in diameter and is moving remarkably fast", NASA said at the time. It's also possible Oumuamua was just created to wander through space, collecting information, and our solar system just happened to be in its way - its operators weren't necessarily looking to pry into the lives of humans.

Since its discovery, scientists have been at odds to explain its unusual features and precise origins, with researchers first calling it a comet and then an asteroid, before finally deeming it the first of its kind: a new class of "interstellar objects".

"Astronomers are urgently working to point telescopes around the world and in space at this notable object".

"A survey for lightsails as technosignatures [of extraterrestrial civilizations] in the solar system is warranted, irrespective of whether Oumuamua is one of them", Loeb told NBC News. NBC News reports that denizens of this planet have launched their own lightsail probes, mostly to investigate other star systems, now unreachable by humans. It would have slowed down given the strength of the Sun's gravitational pull, say scientist, unless it was a comet.

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Oumuamua has already passed Earth on its way out of the solar system, so the object is too far away for scientists to continue studying it, meaning its origin, behavior, and makeup will remain a mystery.

However, it seems unlikely that we'll ever know if Oumuamua did, in fact, have an artificial light sail.

Recall Oumuamua, who came from interstellar space is one of the most protoplastic space objects known to science.

"This is the only other explanation we could come up with", said Avi Loeb, chair of Harvard's department of astronomy.

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But Loeb called the conjecture "purely scientific and evidence-based", adding, "I follow the maxim of Sherlock Holmes: When you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth".