Interstellar Proof Unearthed by ‘Hook’ in the Profound Depths of the SeaDIVEMONDO DIVEMONDO
A deep-ocean mission found the first signs of rock likely to have come from beyond our solar system. Each piece found at a depth of 1.7 km is less than a millimeter across, which makes finding pins in haystacks look easy.
The team of astrophysicist Avi Loeb found 50 tiny metal spheres different from any known materials in our solar system.
The Harvard University professor and founder of the Galileo Project used the world’s first “interstellar hook” to pick up the “spherules” from the depths of the Pacific Ocean near Papua New Guinea. The hook was made to catch the particles made when meteors or asteroids explode.
In October 2017, the cigar-shaped comet Oumuamua made news worldwide as it passed by Earth. Loeb called it the first known visitor from another star system, and his study led to the best-selling book Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth. It also made him look for other strange things in space. Alpha Centauri is the solar system that is 25 trillion miles away from us.
While searching through databases, he discovered the mystery basketball-sized object, Interstellar Meteor 1 (IM1), which burst over the Pacific on January 9, 2014. Although it was too tiny to be seen by telescopes, its approach had caused a spectacular flare that was captured by US government sensors.
The government made IM1’s trajectory, speed, and altitude public, but other information was suppressed for fear of giving out too much about its tracking technology.
Interstellar meteorites are supposed to move quicker than usual, and the research revealed that IM1 was 95% faster. Because it had not broken up in Earth’s high atmosphere but reached the lower atmosphere, its composition looked harder than steel.
Amir Siraj and Prof. Loeb published a report claiming that IM1 was an interstellar visitor; however, the publication was rejected by a scientific journal because it lacked information that could only be provided by the US government. The scientists received support from the Department of Defense, US Space Operations Command, and US Space Force Lt-General, who confirmed the accuracy of their estimates.
However, the research has generated debate by speculating that an extraterrestrial civilization may have created IM1 in addition to coming from another solar system.
The Interstellar Expedition
Midway through June, Prof. Loeb launched the Interstellar Expedition, privately sponsored by US cryptocurrency entrepreneur Charles Hoskinson and overseen by expedition leader Rob McCallum of EYOS Expeditions.
After calculating IM1’s landing location using local seismic readings and US military data, the crew searched 52 miles off Manus Island from the PNG research ship Silver Star.
Over the course of two weeks, they traversed more than 175 km of search lines and deployed the interstellar hook, a towed underwater sled, to gather samples of probable meteor debris using strong magnets.
The group discovered their first “metallic pearl” on June 21. Subsequent discoveries quickly followed. Most of them were discovered along the meteorite’s predicted route and ranged in size from 0.1 to 1 millimeter in diameter and weight.
The group seems to be the first to handle extraterrestrial stuff deliberately. “It is a testament to the success of the scientific method that we were able to collect sub-millimeter spherules from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean near the fireball co-ordinates of the first recognized interstellar meteor,” stated Prof. Loeb.
However, the team’s early study of the composition of those detected has showed that they do not match any widely made alloys or natural meteorites from our solar system. Spherules may also be by-products of car exhaust or braking, welding, or volcanic activity.
They have a common source that is unique from “control” spherules that the researchers gathered outside the PNG search region because they are mostly composed of iron with trace amounts of nickel and other metals.
“Technological or natural in origin.”
The team claims that evidence from mass spectroscopy and uranium-lead dating points to the interstellar origin indicated by the observed IM1 velocity. According to Prof. Loeb, given the meteor’s abnormally high speed and material strength, the essential issue is whether it was created naturally or artificially. “By further analyzing its isotopic composition and radioactive dating, we hope to provide an answer to this question.”
In his words, the Interstellar Expedition was “the most exhilarating experience of my scientific career.” The trip heralds the start of a brand-new approach to astronomy and the use of microscopes rather than telescopes to examine what lies beyond the solar system.
Amir Siraj states, “The first recovery of material from an interstellar object will revolutionize our understanding of our cosmic context, much like the discovery of the first exoplanet.”
“Our discovery of the first interstellar meteor four years ago showed us that the cosmos is much more interconnected than we had previously imagined; now, studying its material reveals how we measure up to our neighborhood of planetary systems.”
“The EYOS team has now planned, managed, and led hundreds of expeditions of all types, and increasingly these are privately funded, science-focused initiatives,” commented Rob McCallum.
Deepwater endeavors EYOS Expeditions often collaborate with deep-submersible pilot Victor Vescovo and has organized several extreme-depth shipwrecks, including the multi-year Five Deeps Expedition, the Ring of Fire Expedition, the RMS Titanic, and others. “We support some of the most ambitious projects on the planet, but this one is literally out of this world,” said the project’s sponsor.
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