They Thought This Was A Comet. Now They Believe It Could Possibly Be An Alien Probe.
On October 19, the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS1 telescope detected what scientists first thought was a comet, then later reclassified as an asteroid.
But the space object named 1I/2017 U1, or ‘Oumuamua, wasn’t just any asteroid. Based on its strange shape, speed and trajectory as it passed by, scientists were able to determine something incredible. ‘Oumuamua was our first known interstellar visitor, meaning it entered our solar system from elsewhere in space.
“For decades we’ve theorized that such interstellar objects are out there, and now – for the first time – we have direct evidence they exist,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “This history-making discovery is opening a new window to study formation of solar systems beyond our own.”