The study entitled ‘Could the solar radiation pressure explain the peculiar acceleration of Oumuamua?’, Has been carried out by Shmuel Bialy, postdoctoral researcher of the Institute of Theory and Computation (ITC) of CfA, Professor Abraham Loeb, director of ITC, and science professor Frank B. Baird Jr. of Harvard University and chairman of the Breakthrough Starshot Advisory Committee.
The researchers say that the strange acceleration could be the result of solar radiation pushing a giant solar sail . They explained that a candle only a fraction of a millimeter thick (0.3-0.9 mm) would be enough for a sheet of solid material to survive the journey across the galaxy. Solar sails with similar dimensions have been designed and built by humans, including the IKAROS project, a space probe launched by the Japanese space agency in 2010, and the Breakthrough Starshot project.
“Considering an artificial origin, one possibility is that ‘Oumuamua is a luminous candle, floating in interstellar space like a rubble of an advanced technological team,” the researchers wrote.
“Alternatively, another theory is that Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe intentionally sent to the vicinity of the Earth by an alien civilization,” they added.
Another option, which would explain the lack of any type of signal, could mean that the giant object is actually the remains of an alien spacecraft . Professor Loeb wrote in Scientific American that Oumuamua could be the first known case of an artificial relic that entered our Solar System from interstellar space.