Having been ruled out as an alien spacecraft, scientists now believe that the interstellar object known as ‘Oumuama’ could feature a rich organic skin.
The global team of researchers used data collected from telescopes around the world to closely analyse the composition of the object.
What they found was an object with an icy core that has a thick dry crust – created as a result of millions or billions of years of exposure to cosmic radiation.
Considering its composition then you would be forgiven for wondering how this object survived a close shave with our own Sun during which it experienced temperatures of around 300 degrees.
The answer? Well quite simply the researchers believe that Oumuama’s protective crust was thick enough to completely protect the potentially delicate core.
What really surprised the team of scientists though were the similarities between the object and small outer planets within our own solar system.
Dr Michele Bannister from the School of Mathematics and Physics at Queen’s University said: “It’s fascinating that the first interstellar object discovered looks so much like a tiny world from our own home system. This suggests that the way our planets and asteroids formed has a lot of kinship to the systems around other stars.”
She added: “We are continuing our research into `Oumuamua and are hopeful that we will make more discoveries in the near future. Discoveries like this really help to give a little more insight into what’s out there and encourages people to look up and wonder.”
What’s really amazing about this object however are the numbers surrounding its chance visit with our solar system.
Preliminary calculations suggest that it may have come from the bright star Vega within the constellation of Lyra.
However, even if it been travelling at high-speed it would have taken 300,000 years for it to reach us. 300.000 years ago Vega was in a completely different place suggesting that Oumuamua may well have been wandering the universe for hundreds of millions of years before finally reaching a solar system, and in this case, ours.