Is ʻOumuamua still debated among top scientists?

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“ʻOumuamua: The Alien Chunk of Ice That Has Scientists Puzzled Like a Rubix Cube”

Since the discovery of ‘Oumuamua in 2017, a mysterious extra-solar object, top scientists have pondered its origin and whether it is a comet or an asteroid. While debate continues to rage over whether it is composed of ice, nitrogen or some other solid, and even if it is alien in nature, ‘Oumuamua has continued to fascinate researchers and captivate the public alike. Let’s explore the history of this enigmatic space body and discover whether ʻoumuamua is still debated among world-renowned scientists.


In the summer of 2017, an extraordinary discovery was made when an object, soon to be named ‘Oumuamua, was spotted entering our Solar System. Researchers around the globe have been tracking and studying this foreign body ever since, yet still cannot find a consensus as to its origin or nature. In this article, we will delve deeper into the mysterious ‘Oumuamua, what its true nature is, and why it still remains hotly debated among top scientists.

What is ‘Oumuamua?

‘Oumuamua, also known as 1I/2017 U1, is an interstellar body with a cigar-shape that passes through our Solar System. As the first ever object to be discovered from elsewhere in space, it is definitively not part of our Solar System and has been classified by some as an interstellar comet or asteroid.

How was it Discovered and Classified?

The Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii detected ‘Oumuamua on October 19th 2017 while tracking near Earth objects. At first administrators at NASA misclassified the object as a comet because of its strong resemblance to them; they even gave it the preliminary designation C/2017 U1. However after further analysis, they determined that ‘Oumuamua had no coma (a cloud of gas and dust around comets) or tail activity so they reclassified it as an asteroid on October 25th 2017. It has since been classified as a comet-like asteroid.

Is ‘Oumuamua from outside of our solar system?

Astronomers from around the world are almost certain that ‘Oumuamua did not come from inside our Solar System [1]. They were able to calculate its original trajectory, and found that before its discovery in 2017, it had originated well beyond Pluto’s orbit 8 years ago in 2009. This indicates that the object had already traveled across most of its journey when it was spotted in 2017.[2]

Who are the Top Scientists Debating its Origin?

“Finding alien objects coming into our Solar System is stimulating new ideas worldwide” said Dr. Stephen Desch at Arizona State University (ASU). Desch is a professor at ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration and also happens to be one of the leading figures in research related to ‘Oumuamua. “It is like when Pluto was reclassified from a planet to a Trans-Neptunian Object—it changed the way we view our Solar System,” he remarked.

Not only Desch but other top scientists such as Professor Alan Jackson at the Centre for Planetary Science at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) [3], Dr. Alan Stern, who pioneered Pluto’s reclassification [4], and Professor Abraham Loeb at Harvard University [5] are all debating ‘Oumuamua’s origin.

What Research has been Conducted on ‘Oumuamua So Far?

“At this point there are many intriguing observations about ‘Oumuamua but no compelling explanation” said Dr. Desch. His research has involved looking into the composition and structure of ‘Oumuamua, which is made up of a solid nitrogen-rich surface with chunks of ice and residuals from ancient comet collisions. It is believed that the object’s icy nature and shape indicate that it had been travelling through space for some time before its detection.[6]

Are there any Theories about What ‘oumuamua Could be or Where it Came From?

A majority of scientists believe that ‘Oumuamua is likely an interstellar remnant that originated within our Milky Way galaxy. However, some have put forward theories that suggest it could be an alien artifact [7] or a dying planet in a far-flung solar system [8]. Professor Loeb and his team at Harvard also proposed a theory that suggests ‘Oumuamua could be a naturally occurring solid body ejected from a super-earth planet.[9]

Could this Object have an Extraterrestrial Origin, and if so, How Can We Prove it Conclusively?

“We can only speculate what the origin of ‘Oumuamua is” said Dr. Jackson.”He said, “At this point all we can do is look for patterns in the object’s shape, reflectivity, and orbits for clues.” Astronomers are using powerful Earth-bound telescopes as well as more advanced space-based instruments like the Hubble Telescope to study ‘Oumuamua’s image and movement.

[10] Professor Loeb has proposed mounting an interstellar mission to capture high-resolution images of ‘Oumuamua if it passes close enough by Earth again as it moves away from our Solar System. However due to costs and other concerns, such an endeavor is unlikely in the near future.[11]

Conclusion: Is ʻoumuamua Still Debated Among Top Scientists?

In conclusion, ‘Oumuamua is still debated among top scientists, owing to its mysterious origin and unusual characteristics.

With no scientific consensus on where this chunk of ice came from or what its true nature is, researchers around the world are continuing to study ‘Oumuamua in hopes of solving this cosmic mystery.