By Michal Nowacki
You may or may not have heard this. On the 19th October 2017, astronomers at the Pan-STARRS survey telescopes in Hawaii discovered the first truly interstellar object currently in the Solar System.
Until now, interstellar space is something that the space community dared not to talk about because we don't know much about it, it's far away, and it's dark and empty and strange. But now, we have just a tiny, yet still significant, outlook on this strange place.
The object in question, adequately named 'Oumuamua, (Hawaiian for 'a visitor from afar arriving first') is totally bizarre. It is a cigar shaped, red asteroid coming from another star system, possibly from across the galaxy. It's not like any other asteroid we've ever seen. Its detailed follow-up observations and appearance were detailed in this paper
This strange object is now long gone from the Solar System (sorry amateur astronomers), because its parabolic trajectory meant that when it was passing the sun, it gained speed quickly and left even faster than it came. However, this doesn't mean that we can't visit it before it's out of our reach. A project started by a group of scientists called "Project Lyra" (in reference to the constellation the object appears to be coming from) aims to send a probe to the asteroid to study it. Not only in the interest of science and the data, but also the development of technologies that will come with such a mission.
This is all just the beginning of out journey to find out even more about this mysterious visitor.
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