A scientific paper headed by two researchers at Harvard University this week has a strong spirit claiming that a cigar-shaped cigar that dries through our solar system may have been sent by foreigners.
The researchers noted in a pre-press article that it was an "exotic scenario", but that "Oumuamua may be a fully operational catheter deliberately sent to Earth near an extraterrestrial culture."
Oumuamua, the first interstellar object known to enter our solar system, accelerated faster than the Sun from the expected, and therefore the idea that some kind of artificial sail that runs in the sunlight – known as a lightweight cloth – may have helped push it into space.
"Today there is an unexplained phenomenon, that is, the excessive acceleration of Oumuamua, which we can show that can be explained by the power of sunlight," said Harvard companion and astrophysicist Shmuel Bialy.
"However, this requires the body to have a very large surface and be very thin, which is not found in nature".
Their proposal for an alien force at work became viral.
But other astronomy experts do not buy it.
"Like most scientists, I would love to have convincing evidence of alien life, but that's not what it is," said Alan Fitzsimmons, an astrophysicist at Queens University in Belfast.
"It has already been shown that its observed features are consistent with a comet-like body and launched by another star system," he told AFP.
"And some of the arguments in this study are based on numbers with great uncertainties."
"Can not Guess"
Katie Mack, a well-known astrophysicist in the state of North Carolina, has also questioned the foreign advertising campaign.
"The thing you need to understand is that scientists are perfectly happy to publish a strange idea if it even has the minimal chance of not being wrong," he wrote on Twitter.
"But until all other possibilities have been exhausted many times, even the writers probably do not believe it."
Asked if he believed his case, Bialy told AFP:
"I would not say that I believe it is sent by foreigners, as I am a scientist and not a believer, I rely on evidence to suggest a possible natural explanation of the observed phenomena."
The other co-author, Avi Loeb, chairman of Harvard Astronomy, told NBC News that humanity can never know more about the mysterious subject after it has traveled far and does not return.
"It's impossible to guess the purpose behind Oumuamua without more details," Loeb said.
Their paper was accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal Letters and will be published on 12 November.
Oumuamua, Hawaii's "messenger" or "explorer," first appeared with telescopes in October 2017.
The alien rock is about 1,300 feet (400 meters) long and only about 130 feet wide.