Why is The Interstellar Object ‘Oumuamua so Peculiar? A New Study Provides an Answer

The world was amazed when ‘Oumuamua was discovered, becoming the first known cosmic object that belongs to another solar system and visits our own. The shape and movement of the object turned out to be even more amazing. At first glance, it’s impossible to explain the cigar-shaped object or its non-gravitational acceleration.

The ‘Oumuamua object has even believed to be an alien spacecraft due to its unusual characteristics. The interstellar traveler doesn’t even feature a coma or cometary tail. But actually, it seems like there is a pretty simple scientific explanation that excludes any aliens from the scheme.

Hydrogen ice is the answer

Hydrogen is the most widespread element from the Universe, as it’s very present in stars, planets, the human body, in every water molecule, in every amino-acid, and so on. However, this element can be seen in a solid form only when it’s exposed to extremely low temperatures.

Study co-author Greg Laughlin, who is a professor of astronomy at Yale University in Connecticut, brings out the big explanation waited by many:

We show that it was likely composed of hydrogen ice,

This is a new type of object, but it looks like there may be many more of them showing up going forward.

The new theory suggests that bodies rich in hydrogen ice could behave much as ‘Oumuamua did when it arrived in our solar system. Greg Laughlin continued by saying:

As ‘Oumuamua passed close to the sun and received its warmth, melting hydrogen would have rapidly boiled off the icy surface, providing the observed acceleration and also winnowing ‘Oumuamua down to its weird, elongated shape — much as a bar of soap becomes a thin sliver after many uses in the shower,

The new study was accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. And although the hypothesis regarding alien life forms is no longer valid, don’t lose hope just yet. Extraterrestrial life has to be out there somewhere.

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