A meteorite believed to have come from beyond the solar system crashed into the ocean in 2014 off the coast of Papua New Guinea. Scientists have now launched an expedition to the depths of the ocean to search for the space rock since it is the only third known object of its kind, the Science Times said in a report. The pther two – Oumuamua and Borisov – landed on the Earth in 2017 and 2018, the outlet further said.
Oumuamua is around 100 metres long while Borisov’s length is between 0.4 to 1 kilometre. These objects are the earliest known interstellar objects. However, a meteorite that crashed into the southwest Pacific Ocean was later found to be predating these two.
According to weather.com, Harvard professor Avi Loeb and graduate student Amir Siraj were the first to recognise the likely interstellar origins of the meteor, which they named CNEOS 2014-01-08. They arrived at this result by analysing the track of the half-metre-wide object; its remarkably high heliocentric velocity suggested that it was not attracted to the gravity of our Sun.
However, because to a lack of information, the scientific community declined to formally designate CNEOS 2014-01-08 as an interstellar object. This was the case because the data used to calculate the meteor’s impact on Earth was gathered by a US Department of Defence 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 a thread was shared on Twitter on April 7 this year by the United States Space Command, in which Chief Scientist, Joel Mozer, reviewed the classified data and confirmed the meteor’s interstellar trajectory.
According to scientists, the meteorite is only little larger than a microwave. Its majority most likely burned up when it entered the Earth’s atmosphere, and the surviving fragments plummeted into the Pacific Ocean’s depths, said sciencetimes.com.