Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb and colleague Amir Siraj believe that they have identified another interstellar visitor.
Loeb has certainly made a name for himself in recent years as a proponent of the idea that interstellar objects such as ‘Oumuamua – which was detected back in 2017 – could be artificially constructed.
When it was revealed earlier this year by the US Space Command (USSC) that a fast-moving fireball, which exploded over Papua New Guinea 8 years ago, actually originated from outside our solar system, Loeb was quick to suggest that this was another potential example of alien technology.
The object, which was thought to have come down in the Pacific ocean, appeared to exhibit an unusual level of robustness not consistent with ordinary meteorites.
This led him to launch a $1.5 million effort to try and locate the surviving fragments on the ocean floor.
Now, though, Loeb and astrophysicist Amir Siraj believe that they have identified yet another interstellar object that exploded off the coast of Portugal back in 2017.
What’s more, this second object appears to be just as abnormally robust as the first one.
“We don’t have a large enough sample to say how much stronger interstellar objects are than solar system objects, but we can say that they are stronger,” Siraj told Vice in an email.
“The odds of randomly drawing two objects in the top 3 out of 273 is 1 in 10 thousand.”
“And when we look at the specific numbers relative to the distribution of objects, we find that the Gaussian odds are more like 1 in a million.”
While Loeb maintains that these objects – which are likely lying at the bottom of the sea – could be pieces of alien technology, it’s also possible that they could be remnants of a supernova explosion.
Whatever the case, it will take finding one and examining it directly to know for sure.