On January 8, 2014, a small, less than half a meter across, meteorite swept through the sky over Papua New Guinea. Five years later, a study by Harvard astrophysicists appeared in the arXiv preprint database, suggesting that it was an object from another star system. The researchers were prompted by the fact that the meteorite was moving at a speed of 210,000 km / h, much higher than the average speed of meteors orbiting within the solar system, as well as its trajectory. All this, with 99% certainty, made it possible to assert that the object arrived "from the depths of a planetary system or a star in a thick disk".
However, this article was never published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, because some of the data needed to verify the calculations was classified. And finally, employees of the US Air Force Space Command confirmed the guesses of scientists, reports Vice. In a March 1 memo posted to Twitte, Space Command Deputy Chief Lieutenant General J. John E. Shaw wrote that the 2019 study accurately "confirmed the interstellar trajectory" of the object.
This makes the meteor of the year the first interstellar object ever detected in our solar system. Oumuamua, a cigar-shaped asteroid that flew far from Earth through the solar system, was discovered by astronomers only on October 19, 2017.
The astrophysicists at Harvard University who wrote the 2019 paper said they intend to publish the original study so that the scientific community can pick up where they left off. The meteorite exploded over the South Pacific, so it's possible that fragments fell into the water and are still lying on the bottom. According to Harvard scientists, they are already consulting with experts about organizing an expedition to search for the remains of the meteorite.