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Old 16 December 2017, 06:23 PM
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Default Astronomers Want To Know: Does This Interstellar Visitor Have A Message For Us?

Story here.

Basically: this is an odd-shaped object that's come a very long way. One very unlikely, but not impossible, explanation for the odd shape might be that it's artificial.

Quote:
Beginning Wednesday, the group Breakthrough Listen will closely scan the asteroid 'Oumuamua, [ . . . ] researchers working with the international organization want to seize their limited opportunity to find out if it really is just a naturally occurring phenomenon — and not something more. [ . . . ]

"We don't want to be sensational in any way, and we are very realistic about the chances this is artificial," Yuri Milner, the Russian billionaire financing the project, told the Scientific American, "but because this is a unique situation we think mankind can afford 10 hours of observing time using the best equipment on the planet to check a low-probability hypothesis."
Makes sense to me --
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Old 16 December 2017, 06:41 PM
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Psychic

Meh. Arthur C. Clarke already did it.
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Old 16 December 2017, 10:27 PM
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Luckily, we have whales it can talk to.
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Old 16 December 2017, 10:35 PM
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*phew* You're right! Give it a couple more centuries and we'd be SOL...
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Old 17 December 2017, 01:58 PM
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ASL, your link's broken; though I think I know what you're referring to.
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Old 17 December 2017, 03:12 PM
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Psihala Psihala is offline
 
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I almost wish the article had skipped the artists' depiction and just described it. The problem for me is that, because it's depicted as being essentially level, it leaves the impression that it's some sort of geological Battlestar, or closed-ended Doomsday machine.

Without some better information, my guess is that this thing is tumbling through space like most of the other rocks in the universe. While I agree it is something worth observing, it's just as likely to be the shattered remains of some long ago collision.

I'd rather it be studied without any pretense and let it reveal what it may. I don't think it's necessary to bring up the possibility of it being artificial -- however cautiously.

~Psihala
(*Prefers "Hey! There's an oddly shaped object floating around out there! Let's study it!" to "Hey! There's an oddly shaped object floating around out there! Let's see if there's evidence it was artificially sculpted!")

Last edited by Psihala; 17 December 2017 at 03:17 PM.
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