A MYSTERIOUS object hurtling towards our Solar System may be an alien spacecraft.
That’s the shock claim made by one space scientist, who has exclusively revealed to The Sun that our incoming visitor could be piloted by hyper-intelligent beings.
Last week, scientists in Germany announced they were tracking a distant object heading in our direction.
Dubbed “C/2019 Q4”, the high-speed body appears to be on a path originating from another star system that will see it fire past Mars in October.
Despite numerous attempts to study C/2019, scientists remain clueless as to what it is. Many speculate the distant mass is a comet.
According to prominent astronomer Dr Seth Shostak, while this is the interstellar traveller’s most likely identity, we can’t say for sure it’s not a flying saucer.
“We can’t rule out that this is an interstellar probe,” Dr Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute in California, told The Sun.
“If we get a closeup look, we may well see it has a metal exterior with portholes and little green faces looking out at us.
“However, I would bet next month’s pay cheque this is a comet.”
Dr Shostak, 76, has won numerous awards for his work, which among other things involves scanning the stars for signals sent out by aliens.
He’s a top scientist at the SETI Institute, a UFO-hunting non-profit dedicated to finding out if we’re alone in the universe.
If C/2019 really is from another star system, it would be only the second interstellar visitor ever known to have reached the Solar System.
The first, a cigar-shaped object called Oumuamua, took the world by storm when it careened past Earth in 2017.
A pair of Harvard scientists claimed it could be a spacecraft, sparking a frantic flurry of scans – including from telescopes operated by SETI – as the object flew by.
Experts found no signs of alien signals, and Oumuamua whizzed past Earth before its true origin could be determined.
Dr Shostak, 76, revealed to The Sun that SETI may soon train its scanning equipment on C/2019 to look for signs of life, much like it did as Oumuamua flew by.
“I have suggested to our SETI team that we give this new object a look with the Allen Telescope Array,” the Virginia-born scientist said. “So maybe we will check it out.”
C/2019 was spotted on August 30 by amateur Ukrainian astronomer Gennady Borisov, and scientists around the world have pored over it ever since.
“It’s so exciting, we’re basically looking away from all of our other projects right now,” Dr Olivier Hainaut, an astronomer with the European Southern Observatory in Germany, told Business Insider last week.
Early images released on Monday suggest it’s followed by a tail of dust.
That’s typically what you see coming out the back of a comet, though scientists say they can’t be sure that’s what the object is.
Further observations of C/2019 have exposed the shape of its orbit.
If the object is indeed interstellar, scientists should be able to study it until early 2021, when it will grow too dim to see.
They’ll largely focus on what it’s made of, as well as where it came from, while alien fanatics wait with bated breath.
Dr Shostak strongly believes that life exists outside of Earth, and it may have even visited our planet in the past.
“I have no doubts that aliens are out there, we wouldn’t be doing our work if I didn’t believe that,” he told The Sun.
“It’s even possible they’ve visited Earth at some point, maybe a billion years ago, maybe 100 million years ago. We may never know.”
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