A meteorite believed to come from outside the solar system plunged into the ocean off the coast of Papua New Guinea in 2014. Scientists have now launched an expedition to the depths of the ocean to search for the space rock, as it is the only third known object of its kind, the Science Times said in a report. The other two — Oumuamua and Borisov — landed on Earth in 2017 and 2018, the outlet said.
Oumuamua is about 100 meters long, while Borisov is between 0.4 and 1 kilometer long. These objects are the earliest known interstellar objects. However, a meteorite that crashed into the southwestern Pacific Ocean was later found to predate these two.
According to weather.com, Harvard professor Avi Loeb and graduate student Amir Siraj were the first to recognize the meteor’s likely interstellar origin, which they named CNEOS 2014-01-08. They arrived at this result by analyzing the trail of the half-meter wide object; its remarkably high heliocentric velocity suggested that it was not attracted to the gravitational pull of our sun.
However, due to a lack of information, the scientific community refused to formally designate CNEOS 2014-01-08 as an interstellar object. This was because the data used to calculate the meteor’s impact on Earth was collected by a US Department of Defense satellite. The precise error values of the measurement also became a closely guarded secret because the US military refused to disclose the capabilities of their satellite. weather.com further said.
But one wire was shared on Twitter on April 7 this year by the United States Space Command, in which lead scientist Joel Mozer reviewed the classified data and confirmed the meteor’s interstellar trajectory.
According to scientists, the meteorite is only slightly larger than a microwave oven. The majority most likely burned up as it entered Earth’s atmosphere, with the remaining fragments plunging into the depths of the Pacific Ocean, it said. sciencetimes.com.