A MYSTERY cigar-shaped asteroid could actually be an ancient alien space-yacht, according to scientists.
The strange object – the size of New York’s Empire State Building – was first spotted hurtling past Earth in Hawaii on October 19, 2017.
Scientists said the bizarre space rock – dubbed Oumuamua – was a comet but were baffled when it sped up when going around the sun, rather than slowed down as expected.
Now researchers at Harvard Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics say these movements could mean the object is actually an alien space-yacht and it sped up as it rounded the sun because it has a sail.
Researcher Abraham Loeb said to news site Universe Today: “We explain the excess acceleration of ‘Oumuamua away from the sun as the result of the force that the sunlight exerts on its surface.
“For this force to explain measured excess acceleration, the object needs to be extremely thin, of order a fraction of a millimetre in thickness but tens of metres in size. This makes the object lightweight for its surface area and allows it to as a light-sail.”
Last year Yuri Milner, a business mogul behind Breakthrough Listen, was sent an email about the object by one of his senior scientists, Avi Loeb.
Avi said: “The more I study this object, the more unusual it appears, making me wonder whether it might be an artificially made probe which was sent by an alien civilisation.
In a meeting at Milner’s home, Loeb explained the object was strange because its elongated shape is odd for an asteroid and more typical of a spacecraft.
But the question remains where did the weird object come from and who built it?
Science can’t be sure but say it could come from a “long-gone ancient alien civilisation”.
Researcher Abraham Loeb added: “The assumption that ‘Oumuamua followed a random orbit requires the production of 10^15 such objects per star in our galaxy.
“This abundance is up to a hundred million times more than expected from the solar system, based on a calculation that we did back in 2009 – a surprisingly high overabundance, unless ‘Oumuamua is a targeted probe on a reconnaissance mission and not a member of a random population of objects.”
Abraham also says there could be many more probes just like it buzzing by, without people noticing.