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Scientists believe there is a possibility that aliens are listening to us on Earth. Astronomers from a program called Breakthrough Listen are excited about a giant, mysterious space object that has passed close to our planet. Breakthrough Listen scientists search for evidence of civilizations beyond Earth. The scientists work at the University of Hawaii. They described the object as an 800-meter-long, 80-meter-wide, cigar-shaped rock. Some scientists believe the rock has too many straight lines on it for it to be formed naturally. This suggests it could have been designed by some form of extra-terrestrial life. The scientists have dubbed the rock Oumuamua, which means 'first messenger' in the Hawaiian language.
The astronomers first spotted Oumuamua in October. It was travelling at great speed through the solar system and passed Earth at about 85 times the distance to the Moon. This is just a hair's breadth relative to the vast expanses of the universe. Oumuamua is the first object spotted in the solar system that appears to originate from another star system. The astronomers say its high speed of over 300,000 kph suggests it is outside the gravitational pull of the Sun and is instead travelling on its own path that originated in another galaxy. The scientists said it was highly unlikely that Oumuamua was a sign that aliens exist, but the huge rock and its journey was a unique event that possibly offered new secrets.Comprehension questions
- What is the name of the program the scientists are on?
- What are the astronomers searching for?
- How wide is the rock from space?
- What did scientists say the rock contains too many of?
- What does 'Oumuamua' mean?
- When did astronomers first spot the rock?
- How many times the distance to the Moon was the rock to Earth?
- How fast was Oumuamua travelling?
- What is Oumuamua not travelling under the gravitational pull of?
- What did scientists say Oumuamua might offer?
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