Employees of Harvard University, who previously talked about the interstellar meteorite CNEOS 2014-01-08, shared plans to search for its fragments. To do this, scientists will team up with an ocean technology company. If the theory of the researchers about the origin of the object is confirmed, then this expedition will become one of the most high-profile events in modern history.
Amir Siraj and Avi Loeb, scientists from Harvard, have been trying to solve the mystery of the meteorite all this time. The main marker of the origin of an object outside the solar system was not only the trajectory of movement, but also its dynamics. CNEOS 2014-01-08 was moving at an unusually high heliocentric velocity, confirming that the meteorite had nothing to do with the Sun’s gravity well.
Since the trajectory data came from the US Department of Defense satellite, all accurate information about the movements of CNEOS 2014-01-08 turned out to be strictly classified. At the same time, many scientists refused to classify the meteorite as an interstellar object. These are the main reasons why Loeb and Siraj’s study has not yet been peer-reviewed.
On the other hand, in April 2022, the statement of scientists from Harvard was supported by the chief scientist of the US Space Operations Command, Joel Moser, who has access to classified materials. According to him, the velocity estimate provided by NASA is accurate enough to confirm the interstellar origin of the object.
Such a statement is already enough to organize the search for a meteorite for further study. Despite the fact that most of CNEOS 2014-01-08 most likely burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere, it is extremely likely that some fragments of the object can be found off the coast of Papua New Guinea. To do this, the researchers are going to search an area of 10 × 10 km.
Scientists suggest that meteorite fragments are magnetized. If the ship is equipped with a powerful enough magnet, then it is quite possible that it will collect tiny fragments of the object from the ocean floor. That is why Amir Siraj and Avi Loeb enlisted the support of an ocean research consulting company.
According to Avi Loeb, he is very careful with the assumptions that the meteorite that fell in 2014 is of artificial origin, although such a possibility exists. The fact is that the world scientific consensus is still not ready to take such statements seriously. Therefore, Loeb believes that first you need to find meteorite fragments in order to carefully examine them and only then make loud statements.
It is possible that the meteorite will turn out to be a simple rock, but even this find will play a huge role for the scientific community. Indeed, thanks to her, scientists will learn much more about the composition of rocky formations outside the solar system.
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