On January 8, 2014, a small rock exploded over the sky of the Papua New Guinean islands in the Pacific Ocean After entering the Earth’s atmosphere at full speed, the event did not attract much interest from astronomers.
But after time passes, Amir Siraj s Avi LoebAnd astronomers from Harvard University, retrieval of records This atmospheric effect verified that this meteorite had reached Earth at an extraordinary speed: 210,000 km/h, well above the typical speed of the original rocks in our solar system. In addition, the trajectory of its orbit indicated that the rock “was not from here”, but formed very far away, in some planetary system of a distant star.
Those space rocks were actually the first known object from another star system, As confirmed today US Space Command (USSC) In a recent note, pre-categorized. Confirmation supports discovery The first interstellar meteorite It was first observed by Harvard theoretical astrophysicist Amir Siraj and his mentor Avi Loeb in The study is published on a prepress server arXiv in 2019.
In the 2019 study, The researchers argued that the meteorite’s speed – only 0.45 meters in diameter, and that it traveled through space at more than 210,000 km / h – along with its orbital trajectory, showed with 99% certainty that the object originated far outside our solar system.Perhaps “from the depths of a planetary system or star in the thick disk of the Milky Way,” the authors wrote. Despite the near-certainty, the couple had serious difficulties in obtaining peer review for the study due to the bureaucracy surrounding the study body.
The team’s work has not been previously published in a scientific journal, He was detained because of some data needed to verify his accounts, which the US government deemed confidential.
USSC: “effectively an interstellar object”
In a note dated March 1 and posted on Twitter on April 6, Lt. Gen. John E. Shaw, deputy commander of the US Security Forces, wrote that the 2019 fireball analysis was “accurate enough to confirm the interstellar path.”.
Now, USSC scientists have officially confirmed their findings. At the Space Foundation’s annual Space Symposium, US Space Command Deputy Commander John Shaw announced that “the previously discovered interstellar object was indeed an interstellar object.” In the now declassified memo. The observation added that this retrospective confirmation makes the 2014 meteorite the first interstellar object to be discovered in our solar system.
The discovery of the meteorite comes on the heels of the recent discovery of two other interstellar objects in our solar system.And known as ‘أوOumuamua – a now famous cigar-shaped object also moving too fast to have originated in our solar system – and comet Borisov, which was much larger and was not in close contact with Earth.
even in, Avi Loebastrophysicist, Harvard university, He went even further, and launched a controversial hypothesis: ‘Oumuamua was the remains of an alien spacecraft. Since Oumuamua is now outside the range of the most powerful telescopes, it can no longer be seen. But as the controversy over its origin rages, a team devises an ambitious plan to send a probe to catch up with the mysterious alien object as it relentlessly moves away from Earth.
The mission could be launched as early as 2028 And ‘Oumuamua arrives according to its speed and direction of travel when it left our solar system between 2050-2054, thus ending once and for all with the mystery of its originator.
Although the object discovered in Papua New Guinea does not contain luster from oumuamua, It is preceded by its discovery, making it the first interstellar object to be discovered in our solar system, according to a US government report.
Look for debris among the stars
Siraj claimed He still intends to publish the original study, so the scientific community can pick up where he and his colleagues left off. He added that since the meteor ignited over the South Pacific, parts of the body have likely fallen into the water and have since embedded on the sea floor. Although locating this interstellar debris may be a near-impossible task, Siraj said he is already consulting with experts about organizing an expedition to retrieve it.
“Just thinking about the fact that we have interstellar matter that has reached Earth, and we know where it is,” said Siraj, director of interstellar object studies at Harvard University’s Galileo Project. “One thing I’m going to check – and I’m already talking to people – is whether it’s possible to search the ocean floor off the coast of Papua New Guinea. And see if we can get any excerpts.”