A active cigar-shaped asteroid is due to enter our solar system since its last visit in 2017.

This dark, reddish interstellar was named ‘Oumuamua’ after the Hawaiian word for messenger and it had scientists scratching their heads. One of the main reason being that its properties resemble a comet more than an asteroid.

For instance, the lack of an envelope of gas and dust which comets typically give off as they heat up is one of these properties. The asteroid has been called a “comet in disguise.”  Scientists speculate that the object was a smaller piece of a parent planetary body at first. However, this idea was much disputed in 2018 by scientists. Oumuamua could have formed from either a comet or a planet several times the size of Earth, but researchers believe the former explains Oumuamua’s apparent subsurface water ice better.

Dr Yun Zhang, a co-author of the new study from the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur in France, holds the idea that as the asteroid passes through “habitable zones” like our solar system, it may carry seeds of life.

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