No alien 'signals' from cigar-shaped asteroid: researchers

December 14, 2017
Artist's impression of ʻOumuamua. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

No alien signals have been detected from an interstellar, cigar-shaped space rock discovered travelling through our Solar System in October, researchers listening for evidence of extraterrestrial technology said Thursday.

The object, dubbed Oumuamua, was spotted by several Earthly telescopes two months ago.

Given its weird trajectory, surprised researchers immediately concluded it was from beyond our planetary —the first interstellar object ever identified in our midst.

The rock is thought to be about 400 metres (1,300 feet) long, and thin—only about 40 m wide, a never-before-seen shape for an asteroid.

After its discovery was announced last month, a project called Breakthrough Listen, dedicated to finding signs of , said it would study the rock for artificial signals.

"No such signals have been detected" by its network of telescopes, the project said Thursday, adding: "the analysis is not yet complete".

Oumuamua is a Hawaiian name meaning "messenger" or "scout". This scout may have been travelling through space for hundreds of millions, even billions, of years.

Prior to its discovery, none of the 750,000-odd known asteroids and comets in the Solar System were thought to have originated elsewhere.

"Oumuamua is most likely an asteroid, ejected from its host star in some chaotic event billions of years ago, and finding its way to our Solar System by chance," Andrew Siemion of the University of California Berkeley told AFP. He heads the Breakthrough Listen laboratory.

According to NASA, the is travelling at about 38.3 kilometres per second relative to the Sun. It is about 200 million kilometres (125 million miles) from Earth.

It passed Mars' orbit in November, and will pass by that of Jupiter in May next year, before exiting beyond Saturn's orbit in January 2019.

Explore further: ESO observations show first interstellar asteroid is like nothing seen before

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rrwillsj
2.3 / 5 (4) Dec 14, 2017
Who says you can't prove a negative?

No answer from the flying fire extinguisher is obvious proof that the aliens aboard are intelligent. Watching 'Game of Thrones' alone musta scared them shitless of us apes!

"Hello! Hello? Can you hear me now?"
Maggnus
5 / 5 (1) Dec 14, 2017
I'm sad....
mackita
5 / 5 (1) Dec 14, 2017
How would you mask the Star trek ship for to approach some foreign planet unnoticed?
NoStrings
3.2 / 5 (5) Dec 14, 2017
I think they checked that we still have to translate metric into feet and elbows for the dumb readers at Phys.org of all places, and figured no one to talk to here (if Trump tweets weren't enough reason).
Aroryborealis
not rated yet Dec 14, 2017
Our creativity has provided us with magnificent tools of discovery. Hence, facilitating us with an even greater imagination.
Despite all of Science Fiction's manifestations, throughout its entire history as a media genre, is it not pretty cool to be able to say........
"A real interstellar visitor this bizarre? 'DIDN'T SEE THAT COMING!"
How wondrous it is that we can still be taken by absolute surprise.
Osiris1
1 / 5 (1) Dec 14, 2017
Has anyone found a way to intercept quantum 'non-local' communications?
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Dec 15, 2017
Has anyone found a way to intercept quantum 'non-local' communications?

You do realize that quantum mechanics explicitly forbids this, right?
mackita
not rated yet Dec 15, 2017
You do realize that quantum mechanics explicitly forbids this, right?
It does but only for exchange of single photons. Unfortunately the existing devices are not sensitive enough and they use larger ensemble of multiple photons at the same moment and they repeat the transmission for improving signal/noise ration. Such a redundancy can be already utilized for interception in similar way, like the repeated classical transmission encrypted with secret key. It's not violation of quantum mechanics in strict sense - rather the consequence of fact, that existing quantum transmissions aren't "quantum" enough and their multiplication introduces classical (i.e. hackable) behavior into their otherwise quantum character.
holmes4
5 / 5 (3) Dec 15, 2017
I thought Osiris1 was saying: "Gee, if this thing was a probe, maybe it wouldn't be broadcasting old school, un-encrypted radio" That seems reasonable. In the extremely unlikely event it really is an ancient spacecraft, it's probably been dead as a door knob for tens of thousands of years anyway.
creepies
2 / 5 (4) Dec 15, 2017
Would they tell us even if they did find something? No probably not.
Shakescene21
5 / 5 (1) Dec 15, 2017
"In the extremely unlikely event it really is an ancient spacecraft, it's probably been dead as a door knob for tens of thousands of years anyway."

@Holmes4: Very good point. If this thing is travelling at 38.3 km/s (23.8 mps) then it is only travelling at 1/7820 the speed of light. Even if it came from the closest star Proxima Centuri, which is 4.22 light years away, it would have left 33,000 years ago. If it left from Vega, which is 25.0 light years away, it would have left Vega 196,000 years ago.
Mark Thomas
3 / 5 (2) Dec 15, 2017
"How would you mask the Star trek ship for to approach some foreign planet unnoticed?"

In Deep Space 9 they borrowed a Romulan cloaking device for the U.S.S. Defiant. :-)

"Even if it came from the closest star Proxima Centuri, which is 4.22 light years away, it would have left 33,000 years ago. If it left from Vega, which is 25.0 light years away, it would have left Vega 196,000 years ago."

This is incorrect, but it is hard to fault you since the vast majority of science articles contain similar over-simplified math like this. The problem is Proxima and Vega were nowhere near their present positions tens of thousands of years ago.

https://en.wikipe...e-en.svg
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Dec 16, 2017
"In the extremely unlikely event it really is an ancient spacecraft, it's probably been dead as a door knob for tens of thousands of years anyway
-But if it was sent here on purpose then it's systems would have been designed to survive the trip.

Perhaps it would want to know if we had become able to communicate by more advanced means? Maybe they could check for other types of radiation like neutrinos.
rrwillsj
1 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2017
creepy, who is "they"? Who is preventing you from communicating with the LGM? Are you more concerned with the Men in Black or the Men in White?

TGO1, I would encourage you to reconsider your assumptions. An editor would warn you those do not even make for good fiction.

If an alien technology had launched a vessel such as the flying fire extinguisher. I'm pretty sure the demand for results and ROI would mean that it's mission was originally intended for a lot closer to home, in space and time.

Unless you want to assume they were too stupid to care about an opportunity to recover their costs and a profit too?

As for using neutrino's for communication? Even if they knew of the existence of Earth, as a biosphere world? To whom would they have expected to talk to, twenty thousand years ago?

With all our research labs monitoring neutrino's and the competitive nature of the business. Someone would be babbling to get their name up for Nobel Prize contention!
holmes4
not rated yet Dec 17, 2017
@Shakescene21: Exactly.

And some reason to believe it's been traveling 45 million years.
(google " An Origin for a Far Traveling Asteroid" ) [Centauri Dreams permalink page 38782]

Researchers at Cornell (Eric Gaidos, et al) believe they have traced 1I/'Oumuamua's origins and present their case in a paper submitted to Research Notes of the American Astronomical Society.
( google " Origin of Interstellar Object A/2017 U1 in a Nearby Young Stellar Association? " )
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Dec 18, 2017
creepy, who is "they"? Who is preventing you from communicating with the LGM? Are you more concerned with the Men in Black or the Men in White?

TGO1, I would encourage you to reconsider your assumptions. An editor would warn you those do not even make for good fiction.

If an alien technology had launched a vessel such as the flying fire extinguisher. I'm pretty sure the demand for results and ROI would mean that it's mission was originally intended for a lot closer to home, in space and time.

Unless you want to assume they were too stupid to care about an opportunity to recover their costs and a profit too?

As for using neutrino's for communication? Even if they knew of the existence of Earth, as a biosphere world? To whom would they have expected to talk to, twenty thousand years ago?

With all our research labs monitoring neutrino's and the competitive nature of the business. Someone would be babbling to get their name up for blah
My god you're an idiot.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Dec 18, 2017
You do realize that quantum mechanics explicitly forbids this, right?


It does but only for exchange of single photons.

This has nothing to do with the number of photons. Non local information transmision is forbiddeen in QM. Period. All you can get is nonlocal quantum information transmission - but you cannot use that to transmit a message.
A message requires classical information, and that isn't in the cards with QM nonlocality.

like the repeated classical transmission encrypted with secret key. It's not violation of quantum mechanics in strict sense

Encryption carries no information, that is why it is possible with QM. This is a subtle piece of business. Encryption only requires correlation (which is possible with entanglement/nonlocal states). Messages require encoding (which is not possible with entanglement/nonlocal states)
mackita
not rated yet Dec 18, 2017
Non local information transmission is forbidden in QM. Period
Unfortunately for Platonists the real world doesn't follow our formal theories (which are just low-dimensional slices of hyperdimensional reality) very exactly. The violations from quantum mechanics exist in similar (just dual) way, like the violations of general relativity at its distance-energy density scale boundaries. The classical example is of non-local (superluminal) transmission is the tunneling of photons across barrier in Nimtz experiments, which is enabled just because many photons participate on it. Therefore the quantum mechanics has also its "dark energy" and "dark matter" effects, which violate it. These effects are currently considered a "loopholes" of vanilla quantum mechanics, but phenomenologically they still violate its postulates.
mackita
not rated yet Dec 18, 2017
For example, every waterfall represents a violation from free fall law, as it violates the ideal parabola shape, which results from Newton law. You can still argue, that it's just because the conditions for abstract Newton laws weren't fulfilled - but it still doesn't change the fact, that shapes of many waterfalls resemble parabola only remotely. So was the Newton law violated or not if it doesn't prohibit its violations? This isn't quite abstract question once we want to understand the hyperdimensional character of reality, which we are living in. But the contemporary physics is oriented to enforcing its religion, so it looks for confirmation of existing law instead of looking for their violations.

Therefore we have many confirmations of quantum mechanics, which were catiously and laboriously made free of all loopholes - but nobody bothers with Gurther Nimtz experiments, which just indicate the superluminal transfer of actual tangible information - not just correlations.
rrwillsj
not rated yet Dec 19, 2017
And all this time, I had thought that the failure of waterfalls to do a parabolic dive? Had been because most waterfalls had concave lips due to erosion.

Thanks mack. You sure showed that old fart Newton a thing or two!
leetennant
not rated yet Dec 19, 2017
"Cigar" shaped. If you say so, Freud.
Vidad
not rated yet Jan 10, 2018
Hmm... oddly like the meteorite in the movie Evolution...

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