Recent data showed that an interstellar object exploded spectacularly over Earth in 2014. A fireball from the event was witnessed over the skies over Papua New Guinea, but further analysis of the event could not be confirmed until the data was opened for a broader study.
Secret government information confirms this to be the first known interstellar object on Earth.
Interstellar object that exploded in 2014 brought a lot of information
The object, officially named CNEOS 2014-01-08, was a small meteorite measuring about 0.45 meters across its entire length that fell into our planet's atmosphere on January 8, 2014. Analysis of the recently revealed data shows which was traveling at around 210,000 km/h, which is far superior to most meteorites found in our solar system.
A 2019 study of the meteorite argued that the object's excessive speed, along with its trajectory, conclusively show that it must have originated far beyond our solar system. It may even have come "from the deep interior of a planetary system or a star in the thick disk of the Milky Way galaxy," the study authors wrote.
5/ From the @AsteroidWatch tabletop exercise earlier this year, we learned that as long as the simulated asteroid was in the space domain, #USSPACECOM was the supported combatant command within the @DeptofDefense.
— US Space Command (@US_SpaceCom) April 6, 2022
a bold statement
The team's work waited more than three years to be verified through peer review. The delay was due to the classified nature of some of the data they used to reach their conclusions.
With the data now free for third-party scrutiny, scientists at the United States Space Command (USSC) have officially confirmed the team's findings. A memo on the matter shared on April 6 on Twitter by Lieutenant General John E. Shaw, deputy commander of the USSC, explained that the analysis of the 2019 fireball was "accurate enough to confirm an interstellar trajectory."
Lead author of the 2019 study and theoretical astrophysicist at Harvard University, Amir Siraj said he still wants the original study published so the scientific community can pick up where he and his colleagues left off. Since the meteorite exploded over the South Pacific Ocean, it is also possible that some of its fragments survived entry and could, in theory, be recovered.
However, locating these fragments in such a large ocean is likely to be nearly impossible to pin down.
The possibility of getting the first piece of interstellar material is exciting enough to check this out very thoroughly and talk to all the world's experts on ocean expeditions to recover meteorites.
Siraj told the publication vice.
Oumuamua was not the first
All this is very interesting, but there is more! As noted in the memo, confirmation of the results of the 2019 study now makes the 2014 meteorite the first interstellar object ever detected in our solar system.
That is, this discovery predates the better-known Oumuamua, the now infamous cigar-shaped object that is also moving too fast to have originated in our solar system.
The 2014 meteorite is indeed very small, but it also highlights the fact that our solar system is possibly filled with material from other solar systems. Maybe even from other galaxies.
Given the infrequency of interstellar meteorites, extragalactic meteorites will be even rarer. But the fact is, going forward, we're not going to find anything unless we look for it. We might as well assume as scientists to build a network as extensive as the US government's sensor network, and use it for scientific purposes and make full use of the atmosphere, he added.
THE atmosphere is already a sensor for these things. We're just not paying attention to the signs. So it's better to use the whole atmosphere and see what comes our way.