Tagged With interstellar objects

Life may exist elsewhere in the Milky Way galaxy, though try as they might, scientists have yet to detect any sign of it. Part of the problem has to do with the size of space; finding traces of organic substances or the waste signatures of alien megastructures isn’t easy at such cosmic distances. Fortunately, there’s the possibility that alien life will come to us in the form of interstellar objects.

The space between stars may look pretty empty - and for most mundane intents and purposes, it is - but it's actually full of electromagnetic radiation and vast clouds of matter, together collectively known as the interstellar medium. Some of it is aliphatic carbons that leak from stars, and a new study from University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Ege University researchers has found there is an awful lot of it.

Around the same time our ancestors left Africa, a dim red dwarf star came to within 0.8 light-years of our Sun, marking the closest known flyby of a star to our Solar System. New research suggests Scholz's Star, as it's known, left traces of this interstellar encounter by perturbing some comets in the outer Oort Cloud.

Late last year, astronomers detected the first known interstellar asteroid, dubbed 'Oumuamua. New research suggests these exotic objects are more abundant than we thought, an observation that boosts the panspermia hypothesis - the idea that asteroids seeded life on Earth. At the same time, the presence of so many foreign objects in our Solar System could also change the way we search for extraterrestrial life.