The idea that the object could have been part of some massive alien solar-powered technology may seem far-fetched, but the authors suggest an even more "exotic" explanation: "that Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilisation".
The object's "excess acceleration" when it travelled through our solar system and its peculiar trajectory distinguishes it from comets and asteroids, the researchers explained.
Shmuel Bialy and Abraham Loeb, two astronomers from the Harvard Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, suggested the cigar-shaped object - given the Hawaiian name 'Oumuamua, which NASA notes "means a messenger from afar arriving first" - could have been a discarded light sail of extra-terrestrial origin, perhaps sent here on objective.
Oumuamua, which is regarded as a "new class" of space object, sped past Earth and looped around our sun at 196,000mph.
This mysterious object, spotted tumbling through our solar system a year ago, may have been an alien spacecraft sent to investigate earth.More news: Billboard names Ariana Grande 2018 Woman of the Year
In a letter published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters on 12 November, the researchers add that Oumuamua could be a spacecraft pushed along by light falling on its surface.
The cigar-shaped rock is now speeding through the galaxy and is the first known interstellar object to enter our solar system.
But now Harvard scientists say Oumuamua may literally be an alien spacecraft sent from another galaxy to spy on us, reports NBC News.
A pair of scientists in Harvard have announced that a mysterious object which recently passed near the planet may have been an alien spacecraft.
According to Harvard scientists, we may not be alone in our solar system.More news: Rio Ferdinand sends message to Man United about Marcus Rashford
Claiming the vessel may be made by aliens, Dr Bialy told The Times: 'Even if there's a small chance it's so interesting that we can't ignore it'. "One should not blindly accept this clever hypothesis when there is also a mundane (and a priori more likely) explanation for Oumuamua".
Yesterday, a number of astronomers criticized Loeb's conclusions, particularly the lack of direct evidence pointing to alien influence.
Although it's been called a comet or an asteroid in the past, it's still unclear exactly what the elongated, red-tinged object is and where it came from. It is expected to shoot past Saturn and leave the solar system in early 2019, according to the agency.
But Harvard's research team says they're not giving up hope that it's a sign of alien life: they "follow the maxim of Sherlock Holmes: When you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth".More news: Passengers Aboard Indonesian Plane 'Revolt' Against Two Tons of Stinky Durian
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