SETI Confirms: 'Oumuamua Asteroid Is NOT Sending Detectable Radio Signals

Since its discovery by Robert Weryk back in October of 2017, the cannoli-shaped asteroid named ʻOumuamua has baffled the scientific community. As the first-ever detected interstellar object to pass through our solar system, it makes sense that there would be a lot of interest in the wheres, whats, and hows of its origin, but so far not many of those questions have been answered. One thing the SETI Institute is sure of, according to reports, is that the weird object is not sending radio signals to Earth. At least not any that we have been able to detect.

New Atlas reports that a group of scientists led by Gerry Harp have spent the better part of a year analyzing data from the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) at the Hat Creek Radio Observatory in California. The researchers determined that between November 23 and December 5, 2017 when ‘Oumuamua was 170 million miles away, no artificial radio signals were being emitted from the mysterious rock. “We were looking for a signal that would prove that this object incorporates some technology – that it was of artificial origin,” Harp said in a statement. “We didn’t find any such emissions, despite a quite sensitive search. While our observations don’t conclusively rule out a non-natural origin for ‘Oumuamua, they constitute important data in assessing its likely makeup.” Basically, ‘Oumuamua is either not an alien vessel sent to spy on Earth, or the technology is far too advanced and stealthy for us to detect it…but science is leaning more toward the former, as to be expected.

A previous study suggested that the asteroid came from a world with two suns (like Tatooine in Star Wars), while another from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics sort of reaffirmed the theory that ‘Oumuamua was made (as a part of an alien spacecraft) and did not form naturally. Will we ever know exactly what the “scout” visitor was? The fact that actual scientists are doing so much speculation is honestly pretty entertaining, so we hope the mystery lasts forever.

Cover image: ESO/M. Kornmesser – CC BY 4.0