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Posted: 2018-11-08 18:04:39

You may have heard about Oumuamua, a mysterious object spotted traveling through space. It's the first intersteller object spotted in our solar system, which would already be mysterious by itself. But the real mystery has to do with the object's speed: it's going 70,000 miles per hour, much faster than an asteroid should. In fact, when it slingshotted around the sun, it sped up.

“There was something affecting its motion other than the gravitational forces of the Sun and planets,” said Marco Micheli, a European Space Agency scientist, in a press statement.

The scientists didn't have a good explanation for why Oumuamua is moving the way it is, but one possible explanation is getting the Internet pretty excited. Enter Dr. Avi Loeb, the Harvard astronomer who is REALLY into aliens.

Loeb thinks this object could be an alien spaceship. According to his theory, the object is moving so fast because intelligent life is propelling it with, say, rockets.

“Alternatively, a more exotic scenario is that ‘Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization," write Loeb and his coauthor in a paper. "This discrepancy is readily solved if ‘Oumuamua does not follow a random trajectory but is rather a targeted probe."

I've written about Loeb a good deal over the years, and he's pretty much always proposing the possibility of aliens. He's suggested that aliens have star-powered spaceships and mused about how aliens could survive apocalypses.

dr. abraham loeb avi loeb harvard astronomy© Wikipedia

"It seems like aliens are a theme for you," I told him once. "Something new happens, and you’re the guy who’s like, 'But wait, what if it’s aliens.' Why is that?" His response really made me think at the time. Now that Oumuamua is being talked about so much, I think it's worth reprinting:

I’m not afraid to consider possibilities, to be open-minded. Most scientists, especially people at my stature, are worried about their reputation. They are worried about their image, and they prefer to maintain

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