Space & Astronomy
Declassified data reveals interstellar object hit Earth in 2014
April 12, 2022 | 24 comments
Was 'Oumuamua really the first ? Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Joshua Tree National Park
New data released by the US Space Command (USSC) has confirmed a close encounter with an interstellar visitor.
It turns out that the fast-moving fireball, which exploded over Papua New Guinea 8 years ago, actually originated from outside our solar system - that is, at least, according to a new memo released by US Space Command and based on a study conducted in 2019.
The meteorite, which measured only 0.45 meters across, hit our planet's atmosphere at 130,000 mph.
Given its trajectory and high speed, scientists argue, it is 99% certain that it came from "the deep interior of a planetary system or a star in the thick disk of the Milky Way galaxy."
At the time, there was still some uncertainty because a portion of the data was classified, but now the analysis has been deemed "sufficiently accurate to confirm an interstellar trajectory."
What's particularly interesting about this revelation is that the object predates the discovery of 'Oumuamua - a long space rock discovered in 2017 that was, up until now, considered to be the first confirmed detection of an object visiting our solar system from interstellar space.
While it's possible that shards of the newly revealed meteorite might be found on the sea floor, the chances of actually finding them are exponentially small given its size and the scale of the area.
Still, the fact that the first known interstellar visitor may have actually collided with the Earth is certainly an intriguing twist and suggests that such objects may be quite common in our solar system.
Source: Live Science
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