Monday, December 11, 2017

Watching ‘Oumuamua

Or rather...listening.

The cigar-shaped object has some very strange qualities. Apart from anything else, if it's an asteroid, it's spinning fast enough to fly apart. Unless...well, unless it's made of metal. Oh, and it's shaped almost perfectly to be a probe. Of course, it's also not showing any sign of being under power.

Which is why Breakthrough Listen, part of an organization that's looking for extraterrestrial life, will be watching it for ten full hours with the Green Bank radio telescope in West Virginia. Which can detect signals the strength of a cell phone.

If they find something...well...the world changes, doesn't it.

But they're realistic. It's more likely ‘Oumuamua is simply a strange astronomical object of a type we haven't managed to detect before. It's not spinning fast enough for artificial gravity.

Here's another possibility, though, one we might never be able to prove.

'Oumuamua may be a probe after all...a dead one. A derelict...drifting through the stars.

And that may be the most depressing possibility.