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Oumuamua May Not be a Hydrogen Iceberg After All as New Study Proves Previous Claims Inaccurate

The first interstellar asteroid, `Oumuamua as it passes through the solar system after its discovery.

The first interstellar asteroid, `Oumuamua as it passes through the solar system after its discovery.

Oumuamua is a mysterious interstellar object whose composition is difficult to understand as it exhibits peculiar properties that comets and asteroids in our solar system haven't shown.

Just a few months back, it was claimed that the interstellar object Oumuamua is made up of hydrogen ice. The previous study was published by Seligman & Laughlin, which suggested that if Oumuamua were a hydrogen iceberg, then the pure hydrogen might have escaped detection.

Now, the claims have been proved wrong in another study conducted by the scientists at the Center for Astrophysics, Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA), and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI). The new claim is the result of curiosity by these scientists to know how a hydrogen-based object made its way from interstellar space to our solar system.

The debate over the origins and molecular structure of Oumuamua was published on Monday in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, which mentioned that the interstellar object is indeed not made of molecular hydrogen ice.

Dr. Thiem Hoang, the lead author of the latest study, said, “The proposal by Seligman and Laughlin appeared promising, however, their theory is based on an assumption that H2 ice could form in dense molecular clouds.” Hoang is a senior researcher in the theoretical astrophysics group at KASI.

The scientists mentioned that they got suspicious of the claims after realizing that hydrogen icebergs could not survive the journey from space to the solar system, as it takes hundreds of millions of years, resulting in evaporation of icebergs.

Oumuamua was first noticed in 2017, classified as an asteroid traveling at a speed of 196,000mph. However, the mystery over its origin deepened over the years as it changed the speed.