The U.S. Space Force recently confirmed that a meteor that broke into the atmosphere in 2014 was the first visitor from another star to be positively identified.
In 2014, a small meteorite about 45cm in diameter burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere, unknown to most people below. An event that is neither hot nor cold for most of us. But on the part of the specialist, this thing has become very interesting for many reasons; and it began to eventually be the first interstellar traveler to be found in our solar system.
In any case, this is confirmed by the report of the US Space Force (USSC), which recently declassified this information. The object in question was first spotted on January 8, 2014, and it quickly caught the interest of observers because of its shocking speed.
In fact, CNEOS 2014-01-08-that’s what it’s called-is pounding our backyard into space at more than 210,000 km/h. It’s a very impressive speed, and more so than the meteors we usually see passing near us.
By way of comparison, most of what we have found travels at a few tens of thousands km/h maximum, with a few exceptions in excess of 100,000 km/h. Borisov’s comet, one of the fastest known, for example shone around 175,000 km/h.
If this speed is so extraordinary, it is mainly because it exceeds the average speed of the residents of our solar system. In addition, researchers are also interested in its particular pathway. Combining these two elements, researchers from Amir Siraj’s group concluded that CNEOS 2014-01-08 likely originated in a very remote zone, beyond the limitations of the solar system.
6/ “I am happy to sign a memo @ussfspocThe Chief Scientist of Dr. Mozer, to confirm that a previously found interstellar object is in fact an interstellar object, is a confirmation that has helped the wider astronomical community. pic.twitter.com/PGlIONCSrW
– US Space Command (@US_SpaceCom) April 7, 2022
Confidential data defense
But despite the strength of their work, the researchers have not been able to validate it through the usual academic process. They have no right to peer review or publication. To reach these conclusions, they must rely on some sensitive data; they are apparently classified as secret defense by the American government.
The case was therefore forwarded to the U.S. Space Force, the agency that oversees the entire military and secret-defense side of American space operations. And finally he confirmed that the 2019 measures are “accurate enough to confirm the interstellar trajectory”By CNEOS 2014-01-08. Undoubtedly, this thing is actually from outside the solar system.
This retroactive confirmation also has the effect of lowering Oumuamua; This famous rock-shaped meteor, seen in 2017, is the first interstellar object seen in the solar system to date.
Now, for Siraj and his teammates, two priority goals remain. As a first step, they still hope to convince the administration to allow them to publish their original research paper, written in 2019. He therefore hopes to allow his colleagues to watch the CNEOS study on turn 2014-01-08.
Fragments of the Pacific Ocean?
In doing so, Siraj and his team hope that the scientific community will then be able to get in the way of possible remnants of the matter. In fact, it is broken up over the Pacific Ocean; so the researchers believe that some fragments could have survived the impact.
If necessary, they rest wisely under water; all that was left was to make an expedition to find them. A job that promises to be great, but the game is worth the candle according to Siraj; after all, it’s not every day that you have the opportunity to get your hands on things from this far.
“The possibility of recovering a first piece of interstellar material is exciting enough to be sure to examine it all in great detail. ”Siraj said in an interview with Vice.
The text of the study is at this address.