A Harvard University professor thinks that a meteorite that fell into the water near New Guinea in 2014 could have come from another solar system. This is supported by data from an American reconnaissance satellite.
According to Harvard professor Avi Loeb and his doctoral student Amir Siraj, the meteorite that slammed into the Earth near New Guinea in 2014 may have come from beyond the Solar System. They arrived at this conclusion after studying data from astronomical catalogues.
The CNEOS 2014-01-08 object had a diameter of roughly 50 cm, according to estimates. And the researchers’ measurements show that its speed was too high before entering the Earth’s atmosphere for the Sun to keep it in orbit.
Most scientists, however, do not share Loeb’s enthusiasm. The principal estimations of CNEOS 2014-01-08’s trajectory were acquired from an American military satellite. His measures’ precision is a military secret. As a result, no one can say for certain whether the speed estimate is true. This brings the object’s interplanetary origin into doubt.
The third interstellar object discovered?
Only two objects in the Solar System are known to be interstellar at this time: comet Borisov and asteroid Oumuamua. If CNEOS 2014-01-08 truly arrived from the depths of space, it will be the third object on this list.
Furthermore, the asteroid’s fragments could be the first samples of non-Solar System stuff to get into the hands of scientists. The only issue is that much of the CNEOS 2014-01-08 vaporised during flight through the atmosphere because to its small size. And the bits that have made it to the surface are now at the bottom of the sea.
However, scientists remain upbeat. The search region for CNEOS 2014-01-08 wreckage is specified as a 10 by 10 kilometre square. As a result, its bottom will be easier to examine using a trawl. Furthermore, the meteorite remnants should be magnetic, which will make the process much easier.
Questions and answers
Doubts surrounding the provenance of CNEOS 2014-01-08 add to Avi Loeb’s eccentricity. He has already argued that this object is more than just an interplanetary meteorite, but that it was produced by an extraterrestrial civilization. He also discusses Borisov’s comet and Oumuamua. All of this does not increase his standing in the international community.
However, the United States Space Command abruptly sided with the researcher. It produced a document in April 2022 confirming that the satellite had sufficient precision and that CNEOS 2014-01-08 is truly an interstellar object.