Oumuamua may be an alien lightsail?

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I can't help but be reminded of Charles Schulz's masterpiece, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."



"I got a rock."
 
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  • #72
metiman
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I can't fathom why we would want to spend the better part of a century on the most expensive project ever undertaken in order to turn a "probably not" into a "no".

Because this is the first time we have encountered something with any chance at all of being an alien artifact. Even if the chance is 1% it is shortsighted and irresponsible to just ignore it because the most boring hypothesis is usually the correct one. It really could be something artificial and we should not ignore that possibility just because it seems too interesting to possibly be true.

I admit that it could have been far more compelling and if it had been I probably wouldn't have to make such arguments. If it had accelerated away at 10 Gs for instance or dropped smaller objects along the way that were big enough for us to see I would at least like to think that our species would be making preparations to build a space station and finally start building proper nuclear space drives to chase after it.

Of course if it did accelerate away like that we would never be able to catch it even with fission fragment drive tech, but presumably we wouldn't be having any debate about the object's artificiality, and I would again hope that we as a species could finally get serious about real space exploration.

Yes this object was a lot less interesting than it could have been, but it is still by far the most interesting space object we have ever seen and it is very close to us and moving away at a snail's pace for any civ with any kind of decent space drive. So yes we should be doing everything we can to chase it down and discover what it actually is. I have never seen life imitate science fiction before, and I did not think I would live to see it, but for once something at least mildly interesting actually happened and we are just shrugging and saying ah well...nothing we can do...guess we'll never know.

The working scientists who are afraid for their jobs are particularly disappointing. If we cannot count on them to react reasonably and rationally when something interesting and exciting happens than who can we count on? Yes they are pretending to be rational/reasonable, but really they are just being unreasonably skeptical in a way that is entirely unsupported by the limited evidence. It is just as unscientific to rule something out without evidence as to rule something in.

Oumuamua does not present as any natural object we have seen before. It's not a comet. It may be an asteroid but if it is one it is a very strange one unlike any asteroid we have ever seen and that acceleration would have to be explained even if it wasn't 10 Gs. Maybe it is artificial. Maybe it isn't. If it is artificial chasing it down would be the greatest discovery our civilization has ever made. If it isn't artificial it would still be one of the most interesting natural objects we have ever seen.

You guys are just dismissing it like it's a joke, but if it starts shooting pulsed streams of neutrinos in our direction what will you say then? Maybe it is a ship and their civilization hadn't been by here for a hundred thousand years or so and hadn't realized that our planet now has 10 meter optical telescopes and 500 meter radio telescopes to point at them and so underestimated our ability to detect them. Maybe when they realized their mistake they did that random looking rotation thing to try to throw us off.
 
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russ_watters
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Because this is the first time we have encountered something with any chance at all of being an alien artifact.
That is absolutely not true as a quick google will tell you! [Google with caution!]
Yes they are pretending to be rational/reasonable, but really they are just being unreasonably skeptical in a way that is entirely unsupported by the limited evidence. It is just as unscientific to rule something out without evidence as to rule something in.
The implication that alien origin is being ruled out by scientists is also not true. It was Harvard(!) researchers who broached the possibility in their paper!

It is a common crackpot claim that scientists are not open minded, but please don't fall into that trap. The work of research scientists is little else but exploring new ideas. It's the reason the pursuit of science exists!
You guys are just dismissing it like it's a joke, but if it starts shooting pulsed streams of neutrinos in our direction what will you say then?
Changing things changes things.

Since the discussion has devolved into attacks on science and imaginary scenarios to justify real action (blurring the line between fantasy and reality), I think it has run its course and is time for a lock.
 
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