A mysterious cigar-shaped object in space is not an alien craft, according to initial scans carried out by scientists.
The large unidentified object, thought to be an asteroid, was scanned for radio signals after its unique shape sparked speculation it could be an alien ship.
Researchers from the £75m Seti project, Breakthrough Listen, used a telescope in West Virginia to keep an ear on the mystery body, which has been named Oumuamua by astronomers.
They said while monitoring and analysis continued, the first signs were that there was “no evidence of artificial signals emanating from the object”.
Scientists from the project, launched in 2015 by Russian technology mogul Yuri Milner, listened to the object across four radio frequency bands spanning one to 12 gigahertz using the Green Blank telescope.
They took away more than 90TB of data in two hours. The first of the four bands has been made available to the public.
Berkeley Seti Research Centre director Andrew Siemion said: “It is great to see data pouring in from observations of this novel and interesting source.
“Our team is excited to see what additional observations and analyses will reveal.”
Oumuamua – which is Haiwaiian for scout or messenger – is the first object found in the solar system that is believed to be from another part of the galaxy.
Astronomers at the University of Hawaii first spotted it passing Earth at about 85 times the distance to the moon.
The object’s unusual shape – it is hundreds of metres in length but only one tenth as wide – caught their attention as it did not look like a regular space rock.
Researchers also suggest Oumuamua, which travels at up to 196,000mph, does not gravitate towards the sun and is destined to head back out of the solar system.
The project plans to inspect a million nearby stars and 100 nearby galaxies looking for alien life. Source: Sky News