Scientists aim to search for an interstellar meteor that struck the Earth in 2014

For now, scientists are calling the meteor CNEOS 2014-01-08, and they believe it to be about a half-meter wide. The object was first recognized by then graduate student Amir Siraj and Harvard professor Avi Loeb who made use of catalog data regarding the object’s trajectory to conclude that it might be from beyond our solar system.

Perhaps what’s most impressive about the project is that the data used to measure the object’s impact came from a U.S. Department of Defense spy satellite designed to monitor military activities around the globe. However, this also means that the exact error values of the measurement of the researchers cannot be revealed not to betray the U.S. military satellite’s precise capabilities.

Scientists aim to search for an interstellar meteor that struck the Earth in 2014

A meteor shooting through the sky.

This is an issue as, without these precise details, the scientific community refuses to acknowledge that CNEOS 2014-01-08 could be an interstellar object. As such, Siraj and Loeb’s paper on the matter is still unpublished and has not yet passed peer review either.

This is why the researchers are now attempting to find the object themselves and study it up close. How would they go about this?

Well, since the majority of the meteorite likely burned up once entering the atmosphere, it would be particularly hard to find its remaining pieces. However, the researchers argue that the particles would be magnetic, which means a ship with a giant magnet might be able to draw them up.

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