The mysterious cigar-shaped Oumuamua asteroid has been sent tumbling through our solar system presumably after colliding with another astronomical body billions of years ago. According to a new study, the interstellar asteroid is believed to have had a very “violent past” before its arrival into our solar system last year in October.
Oumuamua is the first reported object to be labeled as a planetesimal, a name given to small bodies such as asteroids or comets which formed in entirely different planetary systems.
The rocky formation has received attention from scientists and alien hunters alike due to its peculiar shape, something never before seen in an object of its type. Oumuamua’s long, thin shape appeared to be covered in an organic coat that protects the asteroid’s frozen water deposits from the Sun. Its nature prompted one group of scientists to scan the asteroid’s surface to see if it contained alien technology.
Oumuamua Had A Rough Past
While that study was not able to link the asteroid to aliens, another group of scientists wanted to shed light into Oumuamua’s reason for visiting our solar system.
Dr. Wesley Frases at Queen’s University Belfast and his colleagues have attempted to build an accurate profile of the cigar-shaped enigma. This includes theories of where it came from and where it’s going.
“We now know that beyond its unusual elongated shape, this space cucumber had origins around another star, has had a violent past, and tumbles chaotically because of it,” said Dr Fraser.
Based on several brightness measurements of Oumuamua, Dr. Fraser and his team discovered that the object was not spinning periodically like most bodies in our solar system, but chaotically. They claim that the object has been in this state for billions of year and will remain so for hundreds of billions of years.
The researchers still don’t know what exactly caused Oumuamua to tumble into our solar system, however, there is a standing theory. According to the scientists, the asteroid could have been propelled into interstellar space after it collided with another planetesimal in the system where Oumuamua formed.
The study was published in the journal, Nature Astronomy.
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