Was it an interstellar probe, or did 'Oumuamua contain signs of extraterrestrial technology?

By: April Carson

In 2019, we spoke about the first visitor from outside our solar system and Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb's intriguing suggestion that it might be a possible technosignature of extraterrestrial engineering.

This idea was proposed by Loeb to explain several of Oumuamua's odd features, such as its fluctuating reflectivity— which indicates that its profile is changing from a broad region to a finer one, making it resemble a solar sail or a long and thin cigar shape tumbling— the lack of any outgassing when it passed close to the sun, and its high speed.

Dr. Loeb explained that the abrupt acceleration and departure of Oumuamua's from its expected trajectory appeared to be due to radiation pressure, which is precisely how solar sails propel themselves.

Furthermore, the orbital path of the interstellar object put it on a pass-by of Earth—in other words, its orbital mechanics allowed it to get a good look at our Solar System's only habitable planet, which is precisely what one might anticipate of an interstellar probe.

Consider that we are already developing our own interstellar probe with Project Starshot, an initiative sponsored by the Breakthrough Foundation, which will use a solar sail to propel humanity's first interstellar probe to the Alpha Centauri stellar system. We can even send a message in time and space with this technology.

Solar sail propulsion is not only feasible at a basic technological level, such as our civilization's, but it may even be used to travel across the cosmos. We are the example that civilizations capable and willing to launch interstellar explorers exist throughout the Milky Way.

Despite the overwhelming evidence that it is both natural and logical to consider a variety of phenomena as intelligently engineered technosignatures—for the cautious thinker, it remains an absurd notion (probably more for emotional reasons than rational ones), and many astronomers are committed to finding any explanation for the observable features of Oumuamua that does not involve non-human variety.

In March 2021, two researchers from Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration presented a new explanation. SESE Exploration Fellow Alan Jackson and Professor Steven Desch propose in two published papers that 'Oumuamua may have been a nitrogen ice chip flung from a young star system (possibly in the Perseus Arm of our galaxy) approximately 400 to 500 million years ago.

In their first study, the two researchers addressed the dimensions and constraints of ‘Oumuamua, demonstrating how it had an albedo comparable to nitrogen ices on Triton and Pluto's surfaces.

In a later publication, they demonstrated how these kinds of nitrogen ice shards might be produced by the collision of extrasolar planets with similar make-up to Pluto and Kuiper Belt Objects. The nitrogen ice fragment theory sounds appealing because any such thing as it approaches the Sun would not be visible to telescopes like the one that observed Oumuamua.

The non-gravitational anomalous acceleration of Oumuamua might be attributed to outgassing, which acts as a kind of propulsion as the object recedes from the Sun and leaves the Solar system.

The claim by Desch and Jackson is based on the assumption that a very large number of nitrogen ice fragments would be required to explain the astronomical probability of an interstellar object passing through our solar system's path.

On the grounds that there isn't enough of an exo-Pluto-like quantity of objects producing nitrogen ice shards to explain the statistical probability of one becoming an interstellar visitor like Oumuamua, Loeb and his colleague Amir Siraj published a new study debunking the nitrogen iceberg theory.

Even under the most optimistic assumptions conceivable, the researchers' latest analysis, The Mass Budget Necessary to Explain 'Oumuamua as a Nitrogen Iceberg, revealed that the quantity of matter required to generate the necessary population of exo-Pluto like things would require more than ten times the entire mass of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy.

Under less-than-hopeful assumptions, which take into account the cosmos' cosmic ray erosion of nitrogen fragments from exo-Pluto objects, the amount of material required would be thousand times greater than the galaxy's mass. Siraj continues:

“These numbers make the nitrogen theory untenable, since only a minor proportion of the stellar mass in the Galaxy is used to make exo-Plutos.” Source: Universe Today, Not Saying it was Aliens, but ‘Oumuamua Probably Wasn’t a Nitrogen Iceberg...

According to Siraj and Loeb's calculations, there is good reason to doubt the nitrogen iceberg hypothesis, and the facts still stand that a cleverly designed probe with a solar sail is one of several viable explanations for our solar system's first observed encounter with an interstellar traveler.

Given the ever-growing number of "habitable" exoplanets that are being found, contrasted with the apparent radio silence from intelligent extraterrestrial transmissions from decades-long programs like SETI, the question often arises: where is all of the other life in the Milky Way? There is so much great real estate out there, yet no sign of any residents. The Fermi Paradox is a famous conundrum that appears to exist.

The solution to the Fermi Paradox, on the other hand, may be quite simple: evidence for extraterrestrial intelligent civilizations is dismissed or ignored when signals for their existence are present.

The paradox is not caused by a lack of ET technological signals, but rather by a deliberate refusal to accept any such signs. Take the Pentagon's verified videos of UAP:

The capabilities of the craft are far beyond any previously known human technology. Such compelling evidence, on the other hand, is summarily dismissed by experts like Neil deGrasse Tyson who claim that it's more likely a malfunction with the US Navy's sophisticated aerial tracking equipment than proof of extraterrestrial intelligence.

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About the Blogger:

April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com

To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav