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Interstellar objects could vanish in space before we ever see them - here's why

Still Waters

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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

So far we know of only two interstellar objects (ISO) to visit our Solar System. They are 'Oumuamua and 2I/Borisov. There's a third possible ISO named CNEOS 2014-01-08, and research suggests there should be many more.

But a new research letter shows that cosmic ray erosion limits the lifespan of icy ISOs, and though there may be many more of them, they simply don't last as long as thought.

If it's true, then 'Oumuamua was probably substantially larger when it started its journey, wherever that was.

The title of the research letter is "Erosion of Icy Interstellar Objects by Cosmic Rays and Implications for 'Oumuamua." It's available on the preprint site arxiv.org and hasn't been peer-reviewed yet. The lead author is Vo Hong Minh Phan from Aachen University in Germany.



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  • 10 months later...
Posted (IP: Staff) ·

An Interstellar Object May Have Struck Earth. Scientists Plan to Search The Ocean

Back in 2014, an object crashed into the ocean just off the coast of Papua New Guinea. Data collected at the time indicated that the meteorite just might be an interstellar object, and if that's true, then it's only the third such object known (after 'Oumuamua and Borisov), and the first known to exist on Earth.

Launching an undersea expedition to find it would be a long shot, but the scientific payoff could be enormous.

Dubbed CNEOS 2014-01-08, the candidate interstellar object is believed to have measured about a half-meter wide, and its potentially interstellar origins were first recognized by then graduate student Amir Siraj and Harvard professor Avi Loeb.


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