In 2017, astronomers detected an interstellar object for the first time as it passed through the Solar System. they look for him oumuamua, but they saw it leaving, so they had very few days to examine it and try to identify its characteristics, source and nature, which gave rise to all sorts of speculation. Two years later, the return of a comet called 2I/Borisov, the second object from other stars that has ever been captured by man. Of course, scientists believe there should be more “visitors” of this type, but we’re just getting started with the technology to discover them.
Being able to observe these objects in detail offers a unique opportunity to see how similar they are to our own system. By comparing them, we will also find out whether all solar systems ‘work’ in the same way and with the same elements. Therefore, it is not surprising that many scientists have begun to propose missions that could not only observe these interstellar travelers, but also capture them.
This is exactly what an international team of scientists led by Emir Siraj Y Avi Loebwhich in an article published on the server ArXivsuggests exactly how this task should be. A breakthrough if we want to build.
For starters, interstellar visitors tend to act pretty weird. this was not the case BorisovAs soon as it entered our system, it started behaving like a typical comet, but it did. oumuamua, which left more questions than answers. This strange rock did not actually develop a tail as the scientists expected, and it also exhibited an incredible acceleration capacity. It’s not surprising that some of them are with them. Avi Loeb They thought to themselves that in reality it was a ship manufactured by a distant extraterrestrial civilization.
Something that may or may not be true. We don’t have enough evidence yet to confirm or refute it. To avoid such claims, it is best to be able to observe these objects closely. And to achieve this, you must first be able to discover them and then develop a mission that can reach them. Numerous astronomers are already working on both.
As Siraj, Loeb and colleagues explain, telescopes like Vera C. Rubin (LSST) will be able to detect between 1 and 10 interstellar objects per year like Oumuamua in the future, giving scientists many options when it comes to finding an ideal. candidate to cut. But what requirements will this ‘ideal candidate’ need to meet?
What should be in the new Oumuamua?
The first is undoubtedly its origin. The object will have to come from a position suitable for the task (and approach at an angle) and then block it. And according to the research, the best place to place this ‘interceptor’ is the L2 Lagrangian point of the Earth-Sun system. James Webb Space Telescope.
A Lagrangian point It is a place where the gravitational forces of two objects (in this case the Earth and the Sun) balance each other, so whatever is put there will not attract it. There are five such points in the Earth-Sun system, but researchers believe L2 is optimal because it requires very little fuel to stay in it, and any interceptor would have to wait years to do so. the right opportunity to act presents itself.
First, of course, the spacecraft would need to receive a notification that an ‘accessible’ interstellar object was approaching. And this warning must come from a telescope that can detect these objects in a timely manner. In fact, NASA is planning to build a 1.5 meter telescope (Time Domain Spectroscopic Observatory, TSO) to also establish the L2 point next to the famous James Webb.
In fact, Webb is not suitable for the job because despite his enormous strength, he takes two to five days to focus, which makes picking up rapidly approaching objects very slow. However, TSO can be focused in just a few minutes and complemented by another telescope, the Near Earth Object Surveyor (EOS), destined to be located at the L1 Lagrange point of the Earth-Moon system.
Combined, these two fast-moving telescopes should be able to image any interstellar object entering space. solar system with proper orientation.
cut the object
After the object is detected, the next thing to do is to reach it. Most of the candidates caught by the telescopes will be out of range, but the study’s authors estimate that there is an 85% chance of a spacecraft stationed at L2 following and intercepting a suitable object of interest the size of Oumuamua within 10 years. Which is reasonable. It would all be a matter of patiently waiting for an opportunity to show off.
Once the spacecraft arrives at the object, it can take a closer look at the object, mapping both natural and man-made materials, which could help settle the debate over whether some of the visitors from other stars are extraterrestrial probes. . .
The ship can also look for any gaseous emissions that could explain the mysterious forces observed at ‘Oumuamua, so it can immediately determine if they are of artificial origin.
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