"First, unlike most things in space, ‘Oumuamua was not moving relative to what astronomers call the local standard of rest. Loeb calls this a “very special frame of reference, sort of the galactic parking lot”. It was not that ‘Oumuamua visited us but that the sun and its attendant planets, moving through space at 450,000 miles an hour, moved past it, the sun’s gravity bumping it as a ship’s wake disturbs a piece of flotsam."
That was an excerpt from an article in the NewStatesman just this week. Back in 2017, I vaguely remember scientists talking about a wonky looking asteroid named Oumuamua. It was the unique shape that I remember, the object looked like a rocky cigar or a shiny turd, depending on the depiction.
I never gave Oumuamua's shape a second thought, because lots of asteroids have quirky shapes. Ida, Eros, and Gaspra are all objects that come to mind, but Avi Loeb presented a paper to Astrophysical Journal Letters to have Oumuamua not classified as a comet or an asteroid, but as a "new class of interstellar material....of artificial origin."
Loeb isn't saying that Oumuamua was a ship, he's saying maybe it was a probe, maybe a piece of a space station, or maybe even space junk. Before you pass Loeb off as a kook, remember he's not an amateur astronomer in his backyard, he is one of the top scientists at Harvard and one of the top astronomers in the world. Loeb talks about the stigma of even breaching the topic of alien life.
Oumuamua wasn't a foo fighter, observed for seconds or even minutes, scientists got a good look at Oumuamua for 11 days. Oumuamua isn't being championed by Tom DeLonge, known more for his pop hooks than his astrophysical acumen. And Oumuamua wasn't near an air force base, where its existence could be deemed as classified.
A respected scientist, independent from the United States government, studied a foreign object and concluded it to be artificial. We have proof that aliens built something and it floated right past us, either intentionally or unintentionally. History will mark the year 2017 as the year our suspicions were confirmed about extraterrestrial life.
And no one cared.
I just like to say Oumuamua.