Interstellar Visitor Stays Silent: No Signs of Life Yet on ‘Oumuamua

By Mike Wall

The first interstellar asteroid ever discovered in our solar system remains silent, at least for now.

An initial search for artificial signals coming from ‘Oumuamua, the needle-shaped interloper that zoomed past Earth two months ago, has come up empty, scientists with the $100 million Breakthrough Listen project announced today (Dec. 14).

But researchers aren’t done analyzing the data that came in from the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia yesterday (Dec. 13), and they also plan to conduct three more “blocks” of observations, team members said.

“It is great to see data pouring in from observations of this novel and interesting source,” Andrew Siemion, director of the Berkeley SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Research Center in California, said in a statement. “Our team is excited to see what additional observations and analyses will reveal.”

‘Oumuamua has caused quite a buzz in the astronomy, planetary-science and SETI communities since the asteroid was detected in mid-October. The object’s trajectory reveals that it came here from another solar system, and its weird, extremely elongated shape has sparked speculation that the rock could be an alien spacecraft of some sort.

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