How to intercept an interstellar object?

Scientists hope to explore the guests from beyond the solar system from a close distance. But for this, the probe that will study the interstellar object must constantly be in space near the L2 Lagrange point.

Astronomers want to track interstellar objects similar to Oumuamua. Source:

How to see and intercept interstellar objects?

Scientists are going to study interstellar objects in more detail. So far, only two are known: comet Borisov and asteroid Oumuamua. However, they suspect that traces of a collision with them can be found both on the Earth and on the Moon.

However, for this it is necessary to study them in space and from a close distance. To do this, it is necessary to create an “interstellar interceptor” (ISI). It should be a tiny device that will be equipped with a powerful enough engine that will be able to meet with a “space guest” and conduct its research from a distance of several kilometers.

The only problem is that we don’t know when the next interstellar object will appear. It may never happen again in the next few years. And then scientists will have only a few months, or even weeks, to organize a meeting with it. And this means that there will be no time to launch the ISI from Earth. It should already be in space. 

Observation station for the Moon

Experts consider the Lagrange point L2, which is located behind the Moon, to be the best place to place the ISI. There are already JWST and Gaia telescopes there, but it is impossible to use them to search for guests in the Solar System. Despite all their technical perfection, they are simply not designed to observe such close objects.

Therefore, scientists propose to launch another telescope that will purposefully analyze objects in the vicinity of the star system and will look among them for those that could be born somewhere else. And the ISI will fly at this time somewhere near it and will wait for its time to come.

At the same time, scientists are aware that a significant part of interstellar objects will still be inaccessible to the interceptor. Their speed and the minimum distance to the Earth may be too great. However, they give an 85% guarantee that within 10 years, at least one interstellar object suitable for conducting a mission will be found.

According to

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