Weird space object could come from aliens

Supersonic: The object is currently flying at 196,000 mph, or 54 miles per second.

Will we ever find life in space? Right now a strange object is flying through our solar system. Scientists are not certain where it came from — and some even think it may have been sent by aliens.

What’s happening

This week a bizarre space object has become the centre of the search for alien life. The object is very odd: unlike a comet, it does not emit an icy tail; and unlike asteroids it is long, thin, and possibly made out of metal — features that would make an ideal spacecraft.

Find out more

It flew into our solar system from outer space and has been called “Oumuamua,” meaning “first messenger” in Hawaiian. It has already looped around the sun, zoomed past Earth, and is currently about halfway to Jupiter.

Now astronomers are analysing Oumuamua to determine whether it is just a hunk of junk, or possibly an alien spaceship. To do this they have aimed a 100 metre-wide telescope at the object, scanning it for radio signals.

Scientist Avi Loeb said that there is a chance it is an alien craft sent from a “mothership” on a discovery mission. Although he also said that it could just be a piece of extra-terrestrial “driftwood” floating through space.

Do you think that we will ever find aliens?

Some say…

It is just a matter of time, some argue. It all comes down to probability. There are 250 million stars just in our galaxy, and about 100 billion galaxies in the whole universe. That makes about 700 million trillion planets! There must be aliens hiding somewhere on at least one of them. All we have to do is keep looking.

Others think…

But life itself is so unlikely, others point out. The main reasons we are alive on Earth is because the planet is the perfect distance away from the sun, and the atmosphere protects us from deadly space radiation. Those conditions do not exist elsewhere. Furthermore, why are we so sure that aliens would want to meet us — even if they did exist?

You Decide

  1. Do aliens exist?

Activities

  1. Imagine you have just met an alien who knows nothing about Earth. It has asked you to describe what Earth is like as clearly as you can. In just three sentences, write down what you would say.

Some People Say...

“I believe alien life is quite common in the universe.”

Stephen Hawking

What do you think?

Word Watch

Asteroids
Small rocks which orbit stars and planets.
Hawaiian
Hawaii is an archipelago or group of islands; one of the states of the USA (United States of America).
Astronomers
Scientists who study space.
Extra-terrestrial
From somewhere outside earth.
Probability
The chance that something will happen.
Galaxy
A system of millions of stars. Our galaxy is called the Milky Way.
Radiation
A form of energy that can be dangerous to humans and animals.

Subjects

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