An interstellar asteroid was first observed speeding towards our Sun on October 19, last year. This oddly shaped object is being suspected to have alien life, which this project aims to uncover.
The first known interstellar asteroid has properties that suggest it came from another star. It’s also the first ever body that has been spotted in our neighboring cosmic, which experts say, could be bearing signs of alien technology. Thus, this project called, Breakthrough Listen program began the search for radio signals coming from this asteroid around December 2017.
It was billionaire, Yuri Milner, who backed up the initiative to listen for signals coming from this interstellar object using a radio telescope. The first set of observations was performed at the Robert C Byrd Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, which lasted for about 10 hours.
The asteroid that was named, ‘Oumuamua, is said to be speeding away from our Solar System, across four different radio frequency bands. Despite its fast movement, experts have noted some observations regarding the asteroid’s strange, elongated shape. Details of the early surveillance suggest that the shape of ‘Oumuamua resembles a cigar.
The Breakthrough Listen program released a statement which reads, “Researchers working on long-distance space transportation have previously suggested that a cigar or needle shape is the most likely architecture for an interstellar spacecraft, since this would minimize friction and damage from interstellar gas and dust.”
Director of the Berkeley SETI Research Center, Andrew Siemion, who is also part of the project said, “‘Oumuamua’s presence within our Solar System affords Breakthrough Listen an opportunity to reach unprecedented sensitivities to possible artificial transmitters and demonstrate our ability to track nearby, fast-moving objects.”
“Whether this object turns out to be artificial or natural, it’s a great target for Listen,” Siemion added.
Member of UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory in Dorking, Prof Andrew Coates, who is not involved with Breakthrough Listen, told BBC Surrey radio, “I believe there is an experiment being done to actually listen to this object to see if there are any potential signs of life on it.”
He added, “I think this is most unlikely because it’s left over from the beginning of that planetary system elsewhere. Much better ways of looking for life are actually missions like our ExoMars project, which is going to be going to Mars in 2020, drilling underneath the surface to look for signs of life. We’re building the camera system for that.”
Other observations carried out by researchers who used ground telescopes, say that apart from the asteroid’s shape, the object also has the qualities of the natural objects found in the outer parts of our Solar System.
The ‘Oumuamua has observed to have a reddish color, which is a common indicator of organic compounds that have been exposed to radiation. The measurement of the asteroid also suggests that it has a dense structure, and is composed of rock and metal, but with little, if any, water-ice.
‘Oumuamua, which means “a messenger from afar arriving first” in Hawaiian, could have been wandering across the Milky Way before it arrived in our Solar System, experts say. Scientists believe that this asteroid, unattached to any star system, has been around the Galaxy for millions of years before humans detected its presence.
Enjoy this video that talks more about this interstellar vagabond :