Why we shouldn’t cry ‘aliens’ about that interstellar space rock just yet

<em>An artistic rendering of what `Oumuamua could look like, based on observations from Earth</em>

The head of Harvard’s department of astronomy thinks that there’s a possibility that a strange object that visited our Solar System from interstellar space may be an alien probe sent from a distant civilization. He and a colleague outlined their idea in a paper published this week analyzing what the mysterious space object might be, setting off a media frenzy.

But let’s take a breath before we jubilantly cry “aliens.” A single idea about what this object could be doesn’t make it the only explanation, and many scientists still argue that a natural explanation is more plausible. To add a bit of context, one of the scientists making this “exotic” claim is currently working on an initiative to look for extraterrestrial life in deep space, by…

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