A physics professor at Harvard University claimed that the interstellar comets Oumuamua and 2I/Borisov could be artificial objects, which suggests that they might hold evidence of extraterrestrial life.

Theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, the chairman of the Astronomy Department of Harvard University, made the controversial claims regarding the interstellar comets during the New Scientist Live festival held in London.

According to Loeb, the first interstellar comet to visit Earth’s neighborhood was initially classified as a natural comet that came from a different solar system. However, the physicist noted that further observations on this comet, dubbed as Oumuamua, revealed that it was somehow propelling itself across space.

We just did not collect enough evidence, enough data on the subject,” Loeb told Express. “If it appeared now then people would have immediately used the best telescopes. Unfortunately most people did not suspect that it would be so weird.”

“Only after the fact a year later we realized that it was very weird and that it had this extra push without seeing outgassing,” he added.

Loeb noted that the extra push spotted in Oumuamua made him realize that the interstellar visit could be artificial, which suggests that an unknown entity could be controlling it.

“At first we thought maybe it is a comet but then saw no gases around it and then thought it was an asteroid but by the time it was too faint to look at six months later people realized it had this extra push so then the question was what produced that push,” he said.

“At that point I started thinking about it potentially being artificial,” he added.

Recently, a second interstellar comet known as 2I/Borisov entered the Solar System. For Loeb, further studies should have been conducted on this object to verify if it really has a natural origin. If the comet displays an unusual characteristic, investigations should be carried out since it could be an alien probe.

“If we see that it is of natural origin and have a photograph, or if see a comet-like tail like with see with 2I-Borisov, then it looks natural but if it looks weird then we have to continue looking and check,” Loeb said.

ESO ‘Oumuamua This artist rendering shows the highly unusual ‘Oumuamua interstellar asteroid. Photo: ESO