For the first time ever we have discovered an object whose origins clearly not is from our own solar system.
This exotic guest was discovered by Robert Weryk using Pan-STARRS 1 at Hawaii October 19. It was given the slightly more memorable name “Oumuamua”(rather than 1I/2017 U1) meaning Visitor in Hawaiian. By the time anyone on earth discovered it it was already on its way out of our solar system.
The object itself has an elongated shape, measuring approximately 180 x 30 x 30 meters and is almost pitch black, with a hint of red. The red color is the telltale sign of organic (carbon-based) molecules. The building blocks of the biological molecules.
So why can we be certain it’s not one of our solar systems, asteroids or comets? The short explanation is that it moves too fast and entered our solar system in a very steep angle. The speed was a whooping 44 km\s, the average speed of objects in our solar system is only 29 km\s.
So why is this interesting for us?
These days scientists are focusing their attention to life in the universe and this is the first time we have had the opportunity to explore something other than stars and their huge planets and the latest analyses with ground-based telescopes show that ’Oumuamua is quite similar to some comets and asteroids in our own solar system. This is important because it suggests that planetary compositions like ours could be typical across the galaxy.
And then we can tick off for sure that there is a real possibility for life elsewhere.