Fantasist & Futurist
- Nov 23, 2002
It was only spotted eight weeks ago, and for half that time we weren't certain that it was from outside.Also, should we not have taken advantage of this unusual circumstance to send some unmanned probe of our own there and piggyback a fast ride out of the solar system? It is travelling at a speed 196,000 mph. The fastest probe we have ever made was the New Horizons probe which travelled at a mere 36,000 mph. (Pioneer 10 made 32,400 mph and Voyager about 35,000 mph.) So, it is over five times faster than those probes!
This was my first thought as well. The difference in the speeds mean that it would be pretty much impossible for the probe to hitch a ride without being utterly destroyed in the process.I'm not a rocket scientist, but I doubt that there is any technology available to us today, especially on short notice, that could run down an object moving away at 196,000 mph.
I was thinking of something crash-landing, but at 5x the speed and at such a very high speed you are, of course, correct. In addition, the last time we tried to crash on a comet it didn't work so well. Also, it has already passed us and could not be caught anyway. So, all in all, we don't have the technology. It is a pity though.The difference in the speeds mean that it would be pretty much impossible for the probe to hitch a ride without being utterly destroyed in the process.
Might the reason for this be its very high speed resulting in less time for stuff to evaporate off? Or maybe it's down to the material; the tail of comets is, I think, mostly water whereas this is 'carbon rich gunk' so very different composition.Oumuamua is covered in a thick crust of carbon-rich gunk to give it its reddish colour - see Interstellar object ‘Oumuamua covered in 'thick crust of carbon-rich gunk' - interesting because the gunk was 'frozen on', Oumuamua did not generate a tail on its close encounter with the Sun, the kind of thing we associate with comets passing close to the Sun.This detail disturbing is.