The speculations that the cigar-shaped interstellar asteroid – Oumuamua-- is an alien ship has been debunked by the researchers from the Queen's University in Belfast.
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According to the scientists, it's just a massive rock with a special crust that protected the outer layer of the space rock while it passed by our Sun.
The space rock is covered in a thick coating of carbon-rich gunk that built up on it as it traveled through the space, researchers found.
"New observations of the cigar-shaped body found evidence for a deep surface layer that formed when organic ices – such as frozen carbon dioxide, methane and methanol – that make up the object were battered by the intense radiation that exists between the stars," a report by The Guardian stated.
Though the 400-metre-long Oumuamua appears to be an asteroid, it can be a comet with a protective outer surface, say the researchers.
The only "alien" element about Oumuamua is that it has come from elsewhere in the galaxy, reported The Sun, quoting Dr Michele Bannister from the university.
"None of the astronomers have ever talked about it being anything alien, except that it comes from outside the solar system," Dr Bannister said.
In Hawaiian, Oumuamua means "a messenger from afar arriving first." It made the closest approach to the Sun in October and it is likely to leave the solar system after years. The main focus of the scientists while carrying out the future research will be to find out the exact origin of the space rock.
"The nice thing about driftwood is that it tells you that there's trees that grow on distant shores, so this is a little tangible piece of evidence that the way planets formed and grew in our own solar system, it's happening the same way in other solar systems far away," Dr Bannister stated.
Lately, British physicist Stephen Hawking had also commented on the asteroid, which is said to be the first-ever confirmed interstellar object in recorded history that passed through our solar system.
Hawking said that Oumuamua could be a part of an alien probe or an unseen natural phenomenon and humans should be aware of it.
"Researchers working on long-distance space transportation have previously suggested that a cigar or needle shape is the most likely architecture for an interstellar spacecraft since this would minimise friction and damage from interstellar gas and dust," Hawking told Daily Star.
"While a natural origin is more likely, there is currently no consensus on what that origin might have been, and Breakthrough Listen is well positioned to explore the possibility that Oumuamua could be an artefact," he said further.
The space rock was scanned by Hawking with the help of the best technology to detect alien life, but no evidence of alien life was found from the initial scanning of the interstellar object.
Astronomers have been speculating the space rock to be a broken spacecraft, but no emission of artificial signals were detected from the object and analysing the accumulated data will take time.
The space rock is being observed by astronomers with the help of Green Bank telescope in West Virginia with an aim to catch electromagnetic signals which natural celestial bodies don't produce. Finding such signals would indicate towards some alien origin.
Further research will be carried out on the space rock which will help the researchers in finding out more about the presence or absence of gases and water on it.