US officials have confirmed that a space rock that blasted through the sky off the coast of Papua New Guinea in January 2014 was, in fact, an extremely rare meteorite that had originated from outside the solar system.
This meteorite is known as CNEOS 2014-01-08. It crashed on January 8, 2014, but it wasn’t until last week that government officials confirmed the origin of this space rock.
The meteorite was identified as “interstellar” or from outside the solar system by Amir Siraj in 2019. At the time, Harvard student Siraj worked to outline his findings with his academic advisor, Abraham Loeb, a professor of science at the university. .
Siraj wrote about this process for Scientific American. He was studying what at the time was considered the first known interstellar meteorite called Oumuamua, which was identified in October 2017.
Although he and Loeb were confident in their findings CNEOS 2014-01-08And that it precedes Oumuamua by three years, scientific journals refused to publish their report because their data came from a NASA database that does not reveal certain information.
Last Wednesday, US Space Force Lieutenant General John Shaw tweeted note They formally confirmed their findings and said, “The velocity estimate reported by NASA is accurate enough to indicate an interstellar path.”
Officials used Siraj and Loeb’s findings as well as additional information obtained from the US Department of Defense to make this assertion official.
The 2014 meteor is now one of three interstellar meteorites confirmed so far, along with Oumuamua and Interstellar comet BorisovSiraj wrote in Scientific American.
Siraj said he hopes to pursue more research into such interstellar meteorites to learn more about them.
He wrote: “We are currently investigating whether a mission to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Manus Island, with the hope of finding fragments from the 2014 meteorite, could be fruitful or even possible.”
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