The mysterious space object has fascinated scientists ever since it was observed traveling past the sun last year. Nicknamed “Oumuamua,” the object has an exceptionally odd shape that distinguishes it from most asteroids and comets: It’s a stadium-sized mass with a flat, elongated body that is reddish in color. But now Harvard researchers Avi Loeb and Shmuel Bialy say Oumuamua may literally be an alien spacecraft sent from another galaxy to spy on us, reports NBC News.
In a paper to be published in the November 12 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters, the researchers say Oumuamua “may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization.” The reason for this is because Oumuamua appeared to actually pick up speed as it passed the sun, suggesting the object could have an artificially built light sail that it fuels itself with.
However, it seems unlikely that we’ll ever know if Oumuamua did, in fact, have an artificial light sail. The object has left our solar system and is no longer visible even with telescopes. Well, that is, unless Oumuamua pulls a U-turn, in which case whether or not it has a light sail will be the least of our worries.