A mysterious object heading through our Solar System could be an interstellar probe piloted by hyper-intelligent beings, a senior astronomer at the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute in California, Dr Seth Shostak, told the Sun.
Телескоп Джемини Север, расположенный на вершине вулкана Мауна-Кеа используя мультиобъектный спектрограф получил четыре снимка в красном и зеленом фильтрах уникальной межзвездной кометы C/2019 Q4 (Borisov), объединение которых позволило впервые увидеть «ледяную гостью» в цвете pic.twitter.com/SFIEqGJTYC— Слава (@st_slava) September 14, 2019
Last week, scientists at the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii obtained images of a new high-speed space body designated as C/2019 Q4 that was first spotted by Russian amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov. Although scientists believe that the space object, which was captured by the Gemini North Telescope's Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph, is most likely a comet due to a pronounced tail emerging as a result of outgassing, Shostak thinks that we should not dismiss the possibility that the unidentified object might be an alien spacecraft.
"We can't rule out that this is an interstellar probe", Dr Shostak 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, who is a leading scientist at the non-profit SETI Institute, which is dedicated to seeking out the origins of life in the universe and searching for potential extra-terrestrial signals, believes that the object should be checked for signs of radio signals and life by SETI’s powerful scanning equipment.
"I have suggested to our SETI team that we give this new object a look with the Allen Telescope Array", said the scientist. "So maybe we will check it out".
A similar procedure has previously been conducted in regards to another interstellar, cigar-shaped, object called Oumuamua, which made headlines in 2017 when it was noticed while leaving the Solar System. Although there were some suspicions that the object might have been an alien probe sent by a distant civilisation, these speculations were not confirmed in the end.
Dr Shostak nevertheless believes that there is life beyond our planet and that there have been visitors to the Earth 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", said the scientists in an interview with The Sun. "It’s even possible they've visited Earth at some point, maybe a billion years ago, maybe 100million years ago. We may never know".
C/2019 Q4, which is currently on route from deep space, is expected to pass near Mars in October this year.