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Pentagon confirms ‘interstellar object’ hit Earth in 2014

An ‘interstellar object’ flew over the Pacific Ocean in 2014

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The DART spacecraft atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The DART spacecraft, short for Double Asteroid Redirection Test, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is seen Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, from Simi Valley, Calif. after launching from Vandenberg Space Force Base.

Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press

The United States Space Command (USSC) has confirmed that an “interstellar object” blazed into Earth more than five years ago.

Driving the news: The USSC announced in a memo on April 6, 2022, that a meteor that came to Earth in 2014 was from another star system, according to Popular Mechanics.

  • The fireball — which flew over Papua New Guinea in 2014 — was the first known interstellar meteor from outside our solar system to hit Earth.
  • The rock reportedly broke up during its descent onto Earth, which led to debris landing in the Pacific Ocean.

Why this matters: “Before USSC confirmed this meteor was a distant stranger, all previous rocky bodies that fell to Earth were thought to have originated in our own Solar System,” according to Popular Mechanics.

What they’re saying: The findings were “sufficiently accurate to confirm an interstellar trajectory,” said Lieutenant general John E. Shaw, deputy commander of the USSC, according to the New York Post.

  • “I get a kick out of just thinking about the fact that we have interstellar material that was delivered to Earth, and we know where it is,” he told Vice.
  • “One thing that I’m going to be checking — and I’m already talking to people about — is whether it is possible to search the ocean floor off the coast of Papua New Guinea and see if we can get any fragments.”