Astronomers want to fish for meteorites in the ocean using giant magnets

astronomer Was planning a very strange idea, ‘fishing’ Meteorite in the sea and raise it to the surface of the earth. This meteorite came from another star system and is known to hit the Pacific Ocean with an energy equivalent to about 121 tons of TNT.

The Harvard University team hopes to find this interstellar rock segment known as CNEOS 2014-01-08. As the name suggests, this rock from outer space collided with Earth on 8 January 2014.

“Finding such a fragment would represent humans’ first contact with material larger than dust from outside the solar system,” said Amir Siraj, an astrophysicist at Harvard University and first author of the new paper published in ArXiv.

Siraj identified the origin of the interstellar object with 99.999% confidence in a 2019 study, but this was not confirmed to Siraj by the US Space Command until May 2022. There is no known witness of an object hitting Earth.

“It hit the atmosphere about 160 kilometers off the coast of Papua New Guinea in the middle of the night, with about 1% of the energy of the Hiroshima bomb,” Siraj said.

Measuring only 0.5 meters, CNEOS 2014-01-08 appears to be the first interstellar object ever discovered in our Solar System. Previously, a rectangular object called ‘Oumuamua used to bear that title.

derive from live science, Thursday (11/8/2022) CNEOS 2014-01-08 It is believed to come from another star system as it is moving at 60 kilometers per second relative to the Sun. It was moving so fast that it could not be tied to the Sun’s gravity.

“At Earth’s distance from the Sun, any object moving faster than about 42 kilometers per second is on an infinite hyperbolic runaway path relative to the Sun,” Siraj said.

“This means that CNEOS 2014-01-08 clearly exceeds the local speed limit for the bound object and does not cross paths with other planets on its way, so it must have come from outside the Solar System.”

giant magnet project

An expedition called Project Galileo, worth $1.6 million, was deployed to reduce magnetism in the ocean. The magnet is roughly the size of a king-size bed at 1.3 degrees south, 147.6 degrees east, the site of the meteorite’s resting place. It is about 300 km north of Manus Island in the Bismarck Sea in the southwest Pacific Ocean.

According to Siraj, CNEOS 2014-01-08 far exceeds the strength of normal ferrous meteorite material, which should make it easier to recover. The strength of a material refers to how easily an object can withstand deformation or be damaged by loads.

“Most meteorites contain enough iron that they will cling to the kind of magnets that we plan to use for ocean missions. Given the very high strength of the material, it is very likely that CNEOS 2014-01 -08 pieces are ferromagnetic,” he said.

Departing from Papua New Guinea, the project ship uses a magnetic sled on a long-lined winch, which will be pulled along a 1.7 km seabed for 10 days. The reduced magnet is expected to be able to ‘fish’ for small fragments of meteorites as small as 0.1 mm.

However, it is not known when astronomer able to carry out this campaign. The Galileo project is committed to spending $500,000 and still needs $1.1 million to complete. According to Siraj, this is a fair price compared to space missions.

He concluded, “An alternative way to study interstellar objects at close range is to launch space missions to future objects that pass through Earth’s environment. But that would be 1,000 times more expensive at about $1 billion.”

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