While many important Ted Talks revolve around how to improve your understanding of the world around you, this particular talk has a much more out-of-this-world subject: `Oumuamua.`Oumuamua is the first visitor we’ve had that’s truly out of this world — and out of the entire solar system. “In October 2017, astrobiologist Karen J. Meech got the call every astronomer waits for: NASA had spotted the very first visitor from another star system,” the video explains. “The interstellar comet — a half-mile-long object eventually named `Oumuamua, from the Hawaiian for ‘scout’ or ‘messenger’ — raised intriguing questions: Was it a chunk of rocky debris from a new star system, shredded material from a supernova explosion, evidence of alien technology or something else altogether?”
From praying to the weather gods to analyzing data on the fly, Meech shares her story of discovering and deciphering this visitor from another world. You can see the whole video here:
Most of us will never understand the life of comets as well as an expert like Meech, but she does an incredible job sharing her insight and expertise. At the very least, we can all appreciate the ethereal grandeur of a visitor from a different solar system — and what it can tell us about the world around us.