By CBSBoston.com Staff

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) — A Harvard professor says the first sign of intelligent life outside Earth was discovered back in 2017. In his upcoming book “Extraterrestrial” astronomer Avi Loeb writes that’s when a strange object was seen by telescope traveling through our solar system.

He believes it was a discarded piece of advanced technology from a distant alien civilization. In other words, space junk from many light years away.

“It was not an asteroid; it was moving too fast along a strange orbit, and left no trail of gas or debris in its wake,” a description from publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt states. “There was only one conceivable explanation: the object was a piece of advanced technology created by a distant alien civilization.”

The cigar-shaped object was dubbed “Oumuamua” – meaning “a messenger that reaches out from the distant past” in Hawaiian. It is 10 times as long as it is wide and traveling at speeds of 196,000 mph, researchers said at the time.

An artist’s impression of “Oumuamua.” (Image credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser)

NASA confirmed that it’s “the first object ever seen in our solar system that is known to have originated elsewhere,” but said its origins are unknown.

WBZ-TV interviewed Loeb back in 2018.

“People should be excited that we currently have the technology and the scientific method to find out whether we are alone,” he said at the time.

CBSBoston.com Staff