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What? Oumuamua was just a comet? After all the ET hype?

Could 'Oumuamua be an extra-terrestrial solar sail?
Artist’s impression of interstellar asteroid/comet, Oumuamua /ESO, M. Kornmesser

Well of course it was something like that:

New research flags jets of water vapor—rather than alien technology—as the source of the mysterious object’s anomalous motions…

Against the standard “comet” hypothesis, theorists have devised a host of bizarre possibilities: Perhaps ‘Oumuamua was a fluffy, fractal-like clump of dust, or a threadbare “comet skeleton” stripped of its weighty ices—either of which could be accelerated solely by the subtle pressure of starlight itself. Suffice to say, such low-density objects have never before been seen in the solar system. Most controversially, as postulated by the prominent Harvard University astrophysicist Avi Loeb, perhaps it was an alien artifact—a gossamer-thin sheet-like spacecraft engineered to coast on starlight through the interstellar depths. Such “star sails” are a crucial aspect of the Breakthrough Initiatives, a private effort to develop interstellar missions for which Loeb serves as chief scientific advisor. If we are contemplating building star sails now to visit nearby stars, Loeb reasons, perhaps other galactic civilizations have already constructed them as well to visit us. Lee Billings, “‘Oumuamua, Our First Interstellar Visitor, May Have Been a Comet After All” at Scientific American

Yeah. Sure. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that it was orthodox science media (Scientific American, we are looking at you… ) who were marketing the space alien thing, not some crackpot in a tinfoil hat. And yet the same people have the nerve to sponsor reams of stuff on why “people” believe in pseudoscience.

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See also: Astronomer: We’re too dumb to think space object Oumuamua was an extraterrestrial lightsail.Hmmm. In the real world, when you are an only child so far as you know, it is hard to compare yourself to your siblings. Few readily accept criticism for failure to measure up to the standards of imaginary beings.


A study of the causes of science skepticism sails right by the most obvious cause of skepticism: Repeated untrustworthiness


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