Sunday, 17 April 2022

unbound hyperbolic orbit

Via Slashdot and a tranche of documents declassified by the US Space Command (previously) learn that one of Earth’s first encounters with an interstellar interloper happened fully three years prior to ‘Oumuamua with the explosive impact of a meteor strike that disintegrated in the Pacific off the coast of Papua New Guinea. The high speed (about sixty kilometres per second) and usual trajectory of the object place its origins outside of the Solar System. Confirmation was initially stymied due to data partially coming from a then-classified satellite that monitored for ballistic launches, but now confident of the object’s provenance, a mission to the bottom of the ocean is being entertained to search for fragments.