On October 19th, 2017, the first interstellar object ever observed flew past our planet on its path out of the Solar System. Nearly two years later, a new object was observed – an interstellar comet called 2I/Borisov.
The appearance of the two objects was proof regarding theoretical work that suggested that interstellar objects (ISOs) seldom enter our Solar System.
The question of how often that occurs was the subject of intense research since then. A new study conducted by researchers from the Initiative for Interstellar Studies (i4is) concluded that approximately 7 ISOs enter our Solar System each year and follow predictable orbits while they are present.
The researchers may help us send a spacecraft to meet with one of the objects in a matter of years or even months.
The research that analyzed the ISOs was conducted by numerous researchers from i4is, a non-profit organization specialized in the realization of interstellar flights in the near future.
They received help from researchers from the Florida Institute of Technology, Harvard’s Institute for Theory and Computation (ITC), the University of Texas at Austin, the Technical University of Munich, and the Observatoire de Paris. Quite a dream team!
The study of ‘Oumuamua in October of 2017 kickstarted a revolution in the field of astronomy and the study of celestial objects.
Marshall Eubanks, the Chief Scientist of Space Initiatives Inc. and CEO of Asteroid Initiatives LLC, stated: “[J]ust by proving that they exist, it has had a profound impact, creating a field of study almost from nothing (a field that funding authorities are just beginning to recognize). Interstellar Objects provide us with the opportunity to study, and in the future literally touch, exobodies decades before the earliest possible missions to even the nearest stars, such as Proxima Centauri.”