There are questions that plague humanity that are likely never to be answered. The universe is simply too vast and there are simply too many questions for scientists to ever get to a satisfying conclusion. Now, we have to add a question of interstellar visitation to the top of the list. The Oumuamua is the first known interstellar visitor to our solar system and it passed through this past October. The Oumuamua, a chunk of crusty, icy rock, was spotted by telescopes here on Earth and it was initially pegged as an asteroid. Now, with further research complete, it looks like there may be more going on with the Oumuamua than we were led to believe.
The Oumuamua is about 1,300 feet in length and roughly shaped like a cucumber or a pickle. The traveling chunk of rock, initially pegged as a comet or asteroid, has been confusing scientists ever since it was first discovered just a few months ago. What particularly drew a collective eyebrow from scientific researchers was the fact that the Oumuamua showcased a peculiar motion in its movement pattern. Wes Fraser, a researcher from the Queen’s University Belfast of Northern Ireland, said, “Oumuamua’s erratic motion might be a result of a collision with another asteroid.”
Fraser goes on to explain that there is likely never going to be a path to identifying what caused the Oumuamua to come speeding into our solar system, but that it was likely due to a collision that happened on a scale of time that is almost impossible to comprehend. Fraser goes on to say that their models showcase a timeline that maps a collision at a time that we’ll never be able to peg down. He goes on to explain that the Oumuamua is unlikely to return to the normal rotation until billions or “hundreds of billions” have gone by.
What’s most interesting about the Oumuamua isn’t how it rotates or where it comes from, but instead the Oumuamua is drawing interest due to its composition. Fraser goes on to explain that there is a color variance in the makeup of the object that is completely unknown for something of its shape and suspected composition. Fraser goes on to say, “Most of the surface reflects neutrally, but one of its long faces has a large red region.” Will we ever know what this actually is or, like many other scientific questions, are we going to be left without answers?