Interstellar Object Travelling Through Solar System: 1I/2017 U1 "Oumuamua"

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by SPCTRE, Nov 21, 2017.

  1. PurpleBuddha

    PurpleBuddha Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    What would mission look like for NASA to have general fly-by craft ready to go on short notice? Plausible? I know it may be hard to fund something with such a general goal. Would it be worth it?
     
  2. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's plausible given that we might expect about one such object per year. I'm envisaging laser-boosted femto- or picosats launched from a suitably equipped orbitting X-37B would yield the fastest and most flexible response. However, we might not see another such intriguing object for much longer than that.
     
  3. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I just had the thought, based on the very obvious assumption that this object is some kind of alien space craft or probe.

    Considering the abundance of gas giants and ice giants in the galaxy, suppose the "normal" evolution of life in the milky way involves beings on a different scale of time and perspective? Say, something based on methane or ammonia at temperatures well below the freezing point of water? Places like Europa, Ganymede, Enceladus and Titan would be their ideas of goldilocks planets, and they'd be plentiful in the galaxy. Lots of tasty hydrocarbons and lots of chemicals spewing from deep below. Because they operate at colder temperatures, they metabolize slower and at lower energies, which means their perception of time would be much slower; beings that live something like 2000 years, but move so slowly that just eating breakfast can take five or six hours. They live in temperatures so cold that the only water they ever encounter is basically a mineral, and they could literally use liquid nitrogen as a shampoo.

    And these species of gigantic cryo sloths do a flyby on Earth, and what do they see?

    They see a planet whose surface is covered almost entirely with molten water, so close to its sun that the seas actually boil into steam. The see an atmosphere that is effectively composed of rocket fuel, inhabited by life forms that move faster than anything they've ever seen and live incredibly short violent lives, most of which is spent deliberately causing explosions or setting things on fire. And it's such an energy rich environment that... you know what? Half the life forms on this planet are specifically evolved to chase down other life forms and EAT them. And then oxidize their remains and squirt a waste product out of the other end. Half the planet is on fire, the other half EATS fire, and these lunatics use hydrocarbons -- some of the same gases the aliens breathe -- to power flaming contraptions that move at ridiculously high speeds across tracts of artificial magma flows thirty times a day.

    How long does it take the giant cryo sloths to look at our horrifying little planet and say "NOOOOOOPE!" Probably long enough that even if they changed their minds, it's too late to make the braking maneuver.

    As long as we refrain from harvesting Higgs Bosons for energy, they'll mostly just ignore us.

    Well, "The Expanse" tells us Phoebe is actually an alien probe designed to eat the entire planet Earth and turn it into a hyperspace gateway, so the dark material on Iapetus is probably carnivorous.
     
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  4. Butters

    Butters Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I just started watch The Expanse. Is that a spoiler?
     
  5. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Only in the broadest use of the term - a bit spoilery of a plot point. It doesn't reveal any details of how the story unfolds.
     
  6. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The gyros spin down--and it spins up--rather like Discovery over Io, maybe?

    My guess is that any exo-ship is probably a wreck, "a dead hulk" by the time it gets here. The Great Daylight Fireball of 1972 was even more interesting to me. This thing seemed to stay in one piece over the Tetons in the super-8 film. It skipped back into space in such a way as to return to Earth in the 1990s--only that seems not to have happened.

    You'd think it was doing an aerobrake like the Leonov.

    Now, if these two objects and the Wow sgnal had all come from the same direction--that would have been interesting.


    I wonder if a fission fragment rocket might be the way to go for a probe to catch up to the thing
    http://wordpress.mrreid.org/2012/12/05/the-fission-fragment-rocket/

    It's closer than any other extra solar target
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
  7. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yup. Possibly a generation ship or something launched with the intention of colonizing the Sol system, but mechanical failure or some other disaster(s), maybe hundreds of years ago, doomed the crew long before they could arrive. No one left at the controls and no power to maneuver with, it failed to perform the braking maneuver and is now sailing back out into space as a giant tomb.
     
  8. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And we are letting this archaeological dig get away from us.
     
  9. Spot261

    Spot261 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Bruce Willis is on standby, have no fear.
     
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  10. Gary7

    Gary7 Vice Admiral Admiral

    We're lucky it wasn't on a trajectory for striking Earth. Meteorites of 35 meters in diameter or more present a notable damage scenario. With Oumuamua being 400 meters in length, that's an appreciable risk of serious destruction, easily wiping out more than a large city.

    Anyway, it would be great if we could focus on some kind of probe propulsion for catching up to objects like this, even if it means intercepting it further out in the solar system. One of the articles I read about the possibility had mentioned the concept of employing a kind of solar array on a probe and then hitting it with high powered lasers from Earth to give it a tremendous initial boost of power. Perhaps that could be enhanced with a special laser system mounted on the ISS.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    No, just the opposite. Earth is a really, really tiny moving target, cosmically speaking. The vast majority of objects orbiting within the Solar System have zero or nearly zero chance of hitting the Earth in the foreseeable future. It's by far the most probable and expected outcome, so it's hardly a stroke of luck. Rather, it would be an extraordinary stroke of bad luck if the one and only interstellar object we've ever discovered passing through the system actually somehow had been on a collision course with Earth.
     
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  12. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That's how a smart ET would take us out.

    Who needs to land a saucer lit up like a discothèque
     
  13. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I was really sad this link didn't lead to the space ship from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. :lol:
     
  14. matthunter

    matthunter Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Three pages and no-one has done a "Oumuamua so rich in metals, she makes Mister T look like a fool" variant, yet?

    Sigh.

    You have all failed me. Terminate them and activate the next clone batch.
     
  15. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Pointless, it would be uneconomic to expend the huge delta-V required to retrieve that bling.
     
  16. Tetragrammaton Invictus

    Tetragrammaton Invictus I like the new Doctor Premium Member

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    So how big would an asteroid be to be a planet killer for Earth?
     
  17. Haggis and tatties

    Haggis and tatties Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^^You did that wrong, your supposed to start it by saying...
    "I say, i say, i say, So how big would an asteroid be to be a planet killer for Earth?"
    And then i say...
    "I don't know, So how big would an asteroid be to be a planet killer for Earth?"
    And then you come in with the punchline......
    :nyah:
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Depends on how fast it's going. Kinetic energy is mass times velocity squared. So something that's 1/100th as massive will have the same impact if it's 10 times as fast.
     
  19. Tetragrammaton Invictus

    Tetragrammaton Invictus I like the new Doctor Premium Member

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    Speaking of objects from space China's space station will crash soon
     
  20. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, kinetic energy is 1/2 times mass times velocity squared, v^2, provided v << c, where c is the speed of light, or (gamma - 1) times rest mass times c^2 as v approaches c, where the Lorentz factor gamma = 1/sqrt(1 - (v/c)^2). But, yes, the factor of 1/2 cancels out in your comparison so you're correct for non-relativistic velocities.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
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