The US military has confirmed that an Israeli astronomer and his research partner have identified the first interstellar meteorite known to hit Earth.
A space rock crashed into our atmosphere off the coast of Papua New Guinea in 2014, and is the third object known to have visited our solar system from outside the orbit of the Sun.
Avi Loeb, a Harvard astronomer from Israel, and research partner Amir Siraj determined that it came from outside our solar system in 2019, but were unable to confirm the discovery until this month.
Loeb is a well-known and controversial astronomer who claims that another interstellar visitor, an object called Oumuamua that blasted away from the sun in 2017, could have been the creation of an alien civilization.
Scientists have also identified a comet that came to our region from another solar system, making the 2014 meteorite the third known interstellar object and the first to hit Earth. Meteorites are relatively small celestial bodies made of rocks and minerals that enter the Earth’s atmosphere.
Loeb and Siraj were met with skepticism when this happened announce the resultUntil the US military confirmed its findings.
The US Space Command, part of the US Department of Defense, said its deputy commander, John E. Shaw and chief scientist Joel Moser, claimed that “the interstellar object discovered earlier was indeed an interstellar object.”
The data confirmed that the velocity estimate provided by NASA was accurate enough to indicate an interstellar path.
Space Command scientists analyzed additional data to confirm Loeb and Siraj’s discovery and reported the results to NASA and the European Space Agency. Space Command is responsible for US military operations in space and oversees space objects that could threaten Earth.
6/ “I had the pleasure of signing a memorandum with Embedded TweetSenior scientist Dr. Moser, to confirm that the previously discovered stellar object was indeed an interstellar object, a claim that has helped the broader astronomical community. † pic.twitter.com/PGlIonCSrW
—US Space Command (US_SpaceCom) April 7, 2022
NASA disputed the Space Command’s claim about the meteorite, saying, “The shortness of the data collected, less than five seconds, makes it difficult to determine whether the object’s origin is indeed interstellar.”
The meteor, known as CNEOS 2014-01-08, was roughly the size of a dishwasher and spread through our atmosphere near Manus Island in Papua New Guinea on January 8, 2014.
sheep Books in Scientific American This week, US government satellites designed to detect missile launches have collected data on the meteorite.
Siraj was a student at Harvard at the time of the discovery, and Loeb served as his advisor. The two were studying Oumuamua while searching for other interstellar objects and soon came across the meteor data.
Siraj said that dozens of similar meteorites fall to Earth every year, but these meteorites were moving at an exceptional speed and came from an unusual direction, indicating that they came from outside our solar system.
The meteor traveled in an “unconstrained orbit,” while other meteors travel in closed orbits as they orbit the sun. Before hitting Earth, the meteorite was traveling at 60 kilometers (37 miles) per second, a much faster speed than other meteorites.
Loeb and Siraj wrote a paper about their discovery and submitted it for peer-reviewed publication, but the journals rejected the research, citing its reliance on classified information. Some US government information is kept confidential for security reasons. The couple said at the time that they were 99.999% confident in their conclusions.
They were later contacted by a defense official who was able to obtain official confirmation of the discovery from the Department of Defense.
A meteor is the third interstellar object ever seen in our solar system, after Oumuamua and Guilty seen in 2019 Birosov was summoned and neither of them touched the ground. Comets are smaller bodies made up of particles of ice, dust, and rock. Asteroids are much larger bodies made of rocks and minerals.
Siraj said Loeb’s findings on the interstellar meteorite indicate the presence of many such objects. His speed, he said, suggested it could have come from “the depths of another planetary system” near that system’s star, as opposed to the edge of another system, which was considered more likely.
Researchers are studying whether parts of the meteorite can be recovered from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, calling the physical monster “the holy grail of interstellar object studies.” The meteorite crashed when it entered our atmosphere.
Loeb was the longest serving chair in Harvard’s Department of Astronomy, a position he held from 2011 to 2020, and is currently a science professor at the university.
Related: The Israeli astronomer from Harvard University has an inalienable allure for interstellar study
It was made public after it was confirmed that Oumuamua, an extrasolar anomaly that skipped the Sun in 2017, could be a strange artifact.
Hawaiian astronomers only glimpsed the object they called ‘Oumuamua’, the Hawaiian ‘navigator’, when it moved away from the sun and moved erratically. The strange-shaped object was the first known interstellar object in our solar system. They were small in appearance, less than a mile long, dark red in color and shaped like a cigar or a bun.
Loeb said, “Oumuamua could be a strange artifact, like a light solar powered sail, or a communications dish. Most astronomers think it was of natural origin, but they disagree about what it was or where it came from.”
he is Galileo project launched Last year an initiative that will systematically search for physical artifacts produced by “extraterrestrial technological civilizations”. Previous programs, such as the SETI Institute, searched the universe for electromagnetic signals, not objects.
Project Galileo aims to learn more about unidentified atmospheric phenomena and “Oumuamua-like interstellar objects” through scientific analysis of data collected with the latest tools. The group said the data and analysis process would be transparent and open to the public.
Siraj is now director of interstellar object studies for the Galileo Project, and this week said the group had received funding to search for a “spacecraft rendezvous” with an interstellar object to extract a physical sample.
Loeb is from the Moshav of Beit Hanan in central Israel, served in the IDF’s prestigious Talpiot program and earned his first degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
“Lifelong entrepreneur. Total writer. Internet ninja. Analyst. Friendly music enthusiast.”