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.”