It was the end of 2017 when the world of astronomy was buzzing about what appeared to be the first interstellar visitor observed by mankind. It was a long, cigar-shaped object that its discoverers called Oumuamua, and it rushed around our Sun and retreated into interstellar space so quickly that scientists had to struggle to study it.
Now, after examining the records of meteorite impacts on Earth from previous years, Harvard researchers believe they may have discovered evidence of the first interstellar meteor to attack Earth. If it's true, the rock came to our planet years before Oumuamua.
As Space.com In the reports, Harvard scientists Avi Loeb and Amir Siraj studied data from CNEOS, the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, which tracks objects that approach Earth, as well as collapsing space rocks.
They closely observed the speed at which the moving objects were observed, as well as the angle from which they approach the Earth. One particular meteorite, which was seen in the nation of Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific in early 2014, immediately caught his attention.
The rock was moving at a dizzying speed of more than 134,000 miles per hour, and its angle of focus suggests that it may have come from outside our solar system.
The discovery of an object that originated in another planetary system is a big problem, and the fact that it crashed here on Earth is even more dramatic. Loeb even suggests that such events may be responsible for the dispersion of life around the Universe.
"You can imagine that if these meteors were expelled from the habitable zone of a star, they could help transfer life from one planetary system to another," Loeb said. Space.com.