Question of the day

Could ‘Oumuamua be debris from a technological civilization, a discarded lightsail?

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"It's a good bet the Empire knows we're here"

"I have a bad feeling about this."

Trick or treat ...

Just aliens searching for Cowen's favorite sushi restaurant.

"Go to the planet with all the ugly people."

Thread co-winners, shut it down.

No seats at the Restaurant at the end of the Universe?

It's quite clear that it's a Romulan probe coded to only recognize the songs of humpback whales, thereby destroying the Federation, and the Trump administration with it.

If informed speculation permits the view that 'Oumuamua could just as well be an alien fingernail clipping, we could surmise that aliens attain to large physical size in some parts of the cosmos.

(Do we know reliably whether the object may have accreted dark matter during its ostensible interstellar [if not intergalactic] journey?)

If yes, then did the builders use a laser array to launch it? If so, might be worth seeking out a point source, with coherent light emissions. A long shot, it has to be said.

That would be crazy, Eddie.

If they intended to stop in our solar system, they would fire the laser again to break. I am sure we would notice.

A laser array would have been shut down long before it arrived in our system. So even if this were the intended destination (which seems doubtful, since it was tumbling) the array would have been off for decades, maybe even centuries.

Well, even the Saturn V launched more than once, so if such an array existed, it might have been around for at least a couple of hundred years. However, some scientists have looked for lasers, and found nothing conclusive, so again - ' where are they?"

The object is rotating on a non-principle axis (ie, tumbling). If it was being used as a light sail, that light has obviously been turned off and is no longer affecting the object. Nor is it being used to navigate via interstellar wind.

Cuckold-duckold-Dooo!

I have no idea what you're trying to say.

I kind of expect that at the point in time that the human race deploys a wide spread set of observation satellites across the solar system we discover this type of object is common. We might even discover a lot of space junk.

It's important to remember this 'Scout' came pretty close to Earth (0.22 AU's).

FYI, 'Oumuamua' is Hawaiian for scout or messenger.

Prometheus (2012) movie, where the planetary biocide didn't reach Earth. (I'm in a Halloween state of mind.)

It could be some natural object that happens to pick up enough solar radiation pressure to behave like a lightsail.

That's just what they want you to think.

Ummm, no that's almost certainly not the case. More than likely it's a normal comet and outgassing caused the observed acceleration changes. It seems very unlikely that a natural object would behave like a lightsail.

On second thought, what the hell do I know. It could be just like Hazel says.

"Oumuamua’s motion, which could be consistent with cometary activity, although as we’ve seen in other posts on this site, no such activity has been noted by way of a cometary tail or gas emission and absorption lines. This despite a relatively close approach to the Sun of 0.25 AU. The Micheli et al. paper noting the acceleration was addressed in another 2018 paper from Rafikov et al., which pointed out that torque from any cometary outgassing should have had effects on the object’s spin, but this does not appear in our admittedly limited observations."

Cannot help but wonder if that was more assumption than observation. Did someone actually get an image of the object of was the shape inferred from variation in the observed luminosity?

Even so, one might speculate the the orientation of the sail(s) is independent of the rotation. But then I would think something else might be observed regarding the lumen output.

The object was too far away to be seen as anything other than a point of light. The only data we really have is that it was flickering, which has been interpreted to mean that it was tumbling, and the difference in brightness of the flicker has been interpreted as a very long narrow object, tumbling so that sometimes the pointy end is aiming towards us (little reflected light), and the long end is aiming towards us (bright reflection).

But if we're being honest, there is an extremely thin dataset of measurements, and the measurements themselves don't contain much other than a light curve. Speculations about its shape are just that - speculations.

trick or treat?

What do we really have here? A question we will never answer? An implication we will never know?

Some part of me wants it to be false, because I know that I won't live long enough to find the answer.

But I suppose I should think everything is inpermanence, even on a galactic scale.

In “Rendezvous with Rama”, admittedly a fiction story, a similar probe enters our solar system and leaves the same way. Mankind sends a ship to meet up with it, but has to leave prematurely before any of the big mysteries can be solved. The probe slingshots around the sun and disappears off into space never to be found again.

But there’s hope that the aliens have another probe on the way, and that mankind will be more prepared the next time...

The comet was being referred to as 'Rama' before the name 'Oumuamua' was chosen.

Aliens doing a straussian reading of our civilization?

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