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Interstellar meteor crashed on Earth in 2014, says US military

Team StoryWeavers|April 25, 2022, 14:28 IST|

Image of an asteroid crashing into Earth

 

Have you ever thought of what lies beyond our solar system? The universe is an unending space, with most of it unexplored. So, it’s naturally mind-boggling to wonder what else might be there.

We now know one thing that is there for sure — meteors. The US military recently confirmed that a small meteor that crashed into Earth in 2014 is actually an interstellar meteor. This means that it came from outside our solar system.

The meteor, roughly the size of a small washing machine, crashed and washed up on the shores of Papua New Guinea eight years ago. Named CNEOS 2014-01-08, the asteroid entered the Earth’s atmosphere at an unusually high speed of over 1,30,000 miles per hour (21,000 kilometers per hour), which sparked interest in it.

According to initial calculations by scientist Amir Siraj at Harvard University, who identified the object, the meteor moved at a speed of 45 kilometers per second in relation to Earth. But because our planet is also moving (at about 30 kilometers per second), the asteroid’s speed may not be accurate. Siraj’s calculations show that the asteroid hit Earth at an actual speed of 60 kilometers per second. He then mapped the trajectory of the asteroid, which showed that it was in an unbound orbit, unlike the closed orbit of other meteors. This proved that it was an object that didn’t come from our solar system.

Siraj and Abraham Loeb, a professor at Harvard University, were studying another interstellar object called Oumuamua, which was found in Hawaii in 2017, when they identified CNEOS 2014-01-0. Up until now, it was widely believed that Oumuamua was the first interstellar object to hit Earth. But upon the identification of CNEOS 2014-01-0, scientists looked up other possible interstellar objects and found that there may have been ones that hit us earlier.

These latest findings were meant to be published in a scientific journal, but the paper was withheld by the US military for security purposes. Additional data to the asteroid’s possible origins are not known as only limited data has been released to the public.

Where do you think the asteroid came from? Let us know in the comments.

Read the latest developments in space in Science Feed:

NASA Launches ‘Suicide Spacecraft’ to Kick Asteroid Away!

An Asteroid Might Crash Into The Earth By 2300

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About the Author


Madhavi is passionate about everything to do with books, art, literature, films, trivia and food. A former journalist, she believes that asking questions makes life interesting.

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