I'm also puzzled by the coincidence that it traveled so close to the Sun. Of course if some alien civilization wanted to spend more time in the Solar System ...My initial instinct on seeing this was skepticism that something interstellar would have come this close to the sun. And since velocities are so low in Oort cloud, it is possible for collisions, etc. to put comets on hyperbolic trajectories. But, if you run the numbers, e= 1.2 at 0.25 AU perihelion gives V infinity of about 25,500 m/s, and nothing in Oort Cloud is moving that fast, or could be reasonably expected to accelerate to that speed.
The universe must be crawling with comets. :blink:
I suspect that we have a bias at only detecting those that gt close to US, and WE are the ones that are close to the sun...I'm also puzzled by the coincidence that it traveled so close to the Sun. Of course if some alien civilization wanted to spend more time in the Solar System ...
On the other hand, if you wanted to get particularly close to an interesting planet ...I suspect that we have a bias at only detecting those that gt close to US, and WE are the ones that are close to the sun...
Had to make a short video about this historic find!
A scout from interstellar space visits Earth! | 1I/2017 U1 â€˜Oumuamua - YouTube
We need to know how far away Oumuamua is also. Even if we can match it's speed, if it's too far away, it will take too long to catch up to it. Heil et.al. summarized their proposals on Centauiri-dreams.org here:We should get an Orbiter scenario together with Oumuamua on its trajectory, then the community can experiment for itself as sees fit.
Where can one obtain accurate orbital elements?
Would it be better to model it as a spacecraft or 'on the rails' as a solar system object? Can Orbiter even handle solar system objects on hyperbolic trajectories?
As shown previously, chasing 1I/‘Oumuamua with a realistic launch date (next 5-10 years), is a formidable challenge for current space systems. Adam Crowl (i4is) and Marshall Eubanks (Asteroid Initiatives LLC) have pondered a single launch architecture. Nominally a single launch architecture, via the Space Launch System (SLS) for example, would simplify mission design. However other launch providers project promising capabilities in the next few years. One potential mission architecture is to make use of SpaceX’s Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) and their in-space refueling technique with a launch date in 2025. To achieve the required hyperbolic excess (at least 30 km/s) a Jupiter flyby combined with a close solar flyby (down to 3 solar radii), nicknamed “solar fryby” is envisioned. This maneuver is also known under “Oberth Maneuver” . The architecture is based on the Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS)  and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)  interstellar precursor mission studies. Using the BFR however eliminates the need for multi-planet flybys to build up momentum for a Jupiter trajectory. Instead via direct launch from a Highly Eccentric Earth Orbit (HEEO) the probe, plus various kick-stages, is given a C3 of 100 km²/s² into an 18 month trajectory to Jupiter for a gravity assist into the solar fryby. A multi-layer thermal shield protects the spacecraft, which is boosted by a high-thrust solid rocket stage at perihelion. The KISS Interstellar Medium study computed that a hyperbolic excess velocity of 70 km/s was possible via this technique, a value which achieves an intercept at about 85 AU in 2039 for a 2025 launch. More modest figures can still fulfill the mission, such as 40 km/s with an intercept at 155 AU in 2051. With the high approach speed a hyper-velocity impactor to produce a gas ‘puff’ to sample with a mass spectrometer could be the serious option to get in-situ data.