The Mystery of Oumuamua

The Mystery of Oumuamua
Artist’s conception of Oumuamua

An interesting space mystery circulating since 2017 has been the story of an outer space object named Oumuamua. This object is shaped like a cigar, is dark in color, and has an unusual orbit. Astronomers in Hawaii first discovered it and gave it the name “Oumuamua,” which means “scout” or “messenger” in Hawaiian. Part of the mystery of Oumuamua is deciding what it is – perhaps an asteroid or a comet. Oumuamua is smaller than most comets at 300 to 3000 feet (100 to 1,000 meters) long. It has no visible tail, as most comets do. A surprising thing about Oumuamua is that as it orbited the Sun, it sped up and accelerated away from it.

The media jumped on the scientific announcement of Oumuamua. Tabloids predicted it was an alien spaceship that picked up hydrogen from the Sun, and that’s why it accelerated. We have repeatedly pointed out that nothing in the Bible tells us whether or not there is life in outer space.

Like most tabloid stories, there is no reported scientific explanation of what Oumuamua is and why it behaves as it does, apparently tumbling through space. Comets have a great many volatile materials frozen inside them. When the Sun heats them, those materials vaporize, creating a small force, but usually not enough to alter the comet’s path.

We can learn some lessons from the mystery of Oumuamua. One is to be very careful about what you read in the media or hear on TV news broadcasts. A more important message is that there is a lot of material left over from the creation process that is traveling through space. Space is not a pure vacuum, and capturing and analyzing some of that material could answer many questions about the science involved in the creation.

The most important message is that the universe is carefully designed, and we see signatures of that design everywhere we look. Oumuamua tells us a little more about the mysteries of space and the even bigger wonder of the intelligence that created it all. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies proclaim the work of His hands” (Psalms 19:1).

— John N. Clayton © 2023

References: USA Today 3/26/23 and Wikipedia