A scientific paper by two researchers at Harvard University impressed this week by saying that a cigar-shaped rock that spurts through our solar system may have been sent by aliens.
The researchers noted in a pre-press article that it was an "exotic scenario", but that "Oumuamua could be a fully operational probe sent intentionally near the Earth from an alien civilization".
Oumuamua, the first interstellar object known to have entered our solar system, accelerated away from the sun faster than expected, hence the idea that a kind of artificial sail that runs on sunlight – known as a light sail ̵
"Currently there is an inexplicable phenomenon, namely, excessive acceleration of Oumuamua, which we show can be explained by the strength of the radioactive pressure of the sun," said Harvard co-author and astrophysicist Shmuel Bialy.
"However, this requires the body to have a large surface and be very thin, which is not encountered in nature."
Their suggestion of an alien force at work became viral.
But other astronomy experts do not buy it.
"Like most scientists, I'd like there to be convincing evidence of alien life, but it's not like that," said Alan Fitzsimmons, an astrophysicist at Queens University in Belfast.
"It has already been shown that its observed characteristics are consistent with a comet -as the body expelled from another star system," he said.
"And some of the arguments of this study are based on numbers with great uncertainties."
Katie Mack, an astrophysicist of North Carolina State University, also took issue with the alien hype
"The Thing What you have to understand is that scientists are perfectly happy to publish an extravagant idea if it has even the smallest fragment of chance not to make mistakes, "he wrote on Twitter.  "But up to all other possibilities h as exhausted a dozen times, even the authors probably do not believe it."
When asked if he believed the hypothesis he had advanced, Bialy said: "I would not say that "I believe" was sent by aliens, as I am a scientist, not a believer.
"I rely on the evidence to propose possible physical explanations for the observed phenomena."
The other co-author , Avi Loeb, president of Harvard's astronomy department, told NBC News that humanity can never know more about the mysterious object, because it has since traveled far and is not recovering.  "It is impossible to guess the purpose behind Oumuamua without more data", Loeb was quoted as
Their article was accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal Letters and will appear on November 12th
Oumuamua, which is Hawaiian for "messenger" or "explores tore ", was seen for the first time by telescopes in October of last year
The ali rock is about 400 meters long and only 4 meters wide. – AFP