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Digital Subscriptions > Skeptical Inquirer > Skeptical Inquirer March/April 2018 > Interstellar Visitor: The Strange Asteroid from a Faraway System

Interstellar Visitor: The Strange Asteroid from a Faraway System

A staple of science fiction has always been aliens from other worlds. As science has revealed the inhospitableness of planets such as Mars and Venus, the source of these fictional visitors has increasingly moved to deep space. Now it has happened—the first visit from beyond. In late 2017, an interstellar asteroid named ‘Oumuamua swept through the solar system. Inevitably, it has stirred speculation that it could even be a spacecraft, a messenger from beyond our solar system.

An artist’s conception of the highly elongated interstellar asteroid. There is no telescopic image resolving the fast-moving object.
Illustration: M. Kommesser, European Southern Observatory
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The War on Science, Anti-Intellectualism, and ‘Alternative Ways of Knowing’ in 21st-Century America