In the nine years since Ancient Aliens first aired, the concept of extraterrestrial visitors has gone from fringe conspiracy to nearly gaining mainstream acceptance, and that shift is best illustrated in the conversation around Oumuamua.

The cigar-shaped asteroid was spotted just over a year ago and quickly sparked a debate over whether it was really an asteroid or some sort of alien vessel sent to investigate our solar system. In early November, the discussion was reignited all over again when a Harvard professor published a paper suggesting those far-out theories might be true.

So when Inverse sat down with Ancient Aliens producer and star Giorgio Tsoukalos at AlienCon Baltimore, we knew we had to ask for his latest thoughts on Oumuamua. Somewhat surprisingly, the extraterrestrial expert still isn’t 100% convinced that aliens are involved in this one, at least not yet.

“Personally, I do not yet have a formed opinion,” Tsoukalos says, quickly adding, “I would prefer the space probe idea.”

His main argument in favor is that Oumuamua “changed trajectory and it increased and decreased speed,” which he says are both unusual behavior for an asteroid. “So that’s why I’m leaning towards the space probe idea.”

On the other hand, Oumuamua doesn’t exactly look like a spaceship, at least not the way Tsoukalos would have imagined it. (Others have pointed out that these images are all artist renderings, not actual photos, but anyway.) The Ancient Aliens star has an answer for this as well, and it’s a good one.

What if Oumuamua is both an asteroid and an alien spaceship? That might sound ludicrous, even by Ancient Aliens standards, but hear him out.

“Some scientists have proposed that in order to travel through space you don’t need a machine-type object but you could use an asteroid and you hollow it out,” Tsoukalos says. “And so from the outside, it looks like a normal object but inside you may have technology and a crew or it just sends back data. Who knows?”

When it comes to Oumuamua, that’s probably the best we’ll get. As Tsoukalos is quick to point out, the alleged asteroid has “already left us,” but the fact that we’re even discussing it is good enough for him. Not just because these are the types of debates Giorgio lives for, but because they demonstrate just how much of a cultural impact Ancient Aliens has had over 13 seasons, and nearly a decade, on The History Channel.

“We’ve now been on the air for 10 years,” he says. “10 years ago something like this would have been impossible. We are part of this paradigm shift.”

Photos via Inverse