A mysterious cigar-shaped space rock that shot suspiciously close to Earth could be an alien spacecraft that broke down on its interstellar journey.
That’s according to one prominent space scientist, who says the probe may have been sent by extraterrestrial beings to spy on our planet.
Radio scans of Oumuamua, a strange object that flew through the solar system in 2017, seemed to show it was not sending out any alien signals.
But according to Harvard space expert Professor Avi Loeb, that doesn’t rule out that it’s an alien probe – which is what many scientists claimed at the time.
The fact that there were no radio signals from the object could simply mean it had broken down, Professor Loeb told Israel’s Haaretz news.
He said: “We have no way of knowing whether it’s active technology or a spaceship that is no longer operative and is continuing to float in space.”
Professor Loeb thinks humanity will find signs of intelligent lifeforms throughout the universe once we leave the solar system.
He said: “As soon as we leave the Solar System, I believe we will see a great deal of traffic out there.”
“Possibly we’ll get a message that says, ‘Welcome to the interstellar club.’ Or we’ll discover multiple dead civilizations – that is, we’ll find their remains.”
Oumuamua is an object from another star system spotted by scientists at the University of Hawaii using a huge space telescope.
Many experts suggested the 200,000 mph object could be an alien probe sent into deep space by a distant civilization.
It was thoroughly scanned for signs of radio signals by experts at the alien-hunting SETI project, which was then led by Professor Stephen Hawking.
But while no signals were found, the object still had signs it was sent into the solar system by intelligent beings, Professor Loeb said.
For instance, its unusual cigar-like shape is extremely unusual for an asteroid and it lacked the classic tail of a comet.
It’s now moving away from Earth so fast that we’re unlikely to ever find out what Oumuamua was.