Nice. Can't help but speculate that it's perhaps an irregular-shaped chunk of ejecta from some collision in its parent solar system which punted it free of the local gravitational well. Must be a large number of such wanderers out there.
Nice. Can't help but speculate that it's perhaps an irregular-shaped chunk of ejecta
Soooooooo how's its light curve?
But of course, rendezvousing with this asteroid presents many challenges. The most obvious is that of speed, and the fact that 1I/`Oumuamua is already on its way out of our Solar System. Based on calculations of the asteroid's orbit, it has been determined that 1I/`Oumuamua is traveling at a speed of 26 km/s - which works out to 95,000 km/hour (59,000 mph).This is considerably faster than any object humanity has ever launched into space. Voyager 1, the fastest object humanity has ever built, has a hyperbolic excess velocity of 16.6 km/s. As 1I/'Oumuamua is already leaving our solar system, any spacecraft launched in the future would need to chase it.To summarize, the difficulty of reaching 1I/'Oumuamua is a function of when to launch, the hyperbolic excess velocity, and the mission duration. Future mission designers would need to find appropriate trade-offs between these parameters. For a realistic launch date in 5 to 10 years, the hyperbolic excess velocity is of the order of 33 to up to 76 km/s with an encounter at a distance far beyond Pluto (50-200AU).
Professor Alan Fitzsimmons headed up a team which measured the way that `Oumuamua, reflects sunlight, and found it similar to icy objects covered with a dry crust. This is because `Oumuamua has been exposed to cosmic rays for millions, or even billions, of years, creating an insulating organic-rich layer on its surface.The research, which has been published this week in Nature Astronomy, suggests that `Oumuamua's dry crust could have protected its icy interior from being vaporised - even though the object was just 23 million miles from our sun in September when it zipped past.Professor Alan Fitzsimmons commented: "We have discovered that the surface of `Oumuamua is similar to small solar system bodies that are covered in carbon-rich ices, whose structure is modified by exposure to cosmic rays."We have also found that a half-metre thick coating of organic-rich material could have protected a water-ice-rich comet-like interior from vaporizing when the object was heated by the sun, even though it was heated to over 300 degrees centigrade."