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Intercept

March 19th, 2018

‘Oumuamua breezed in unexpectedly and it left in a rush. Faded now, to twentynine, soaring up and out over Jupiter’s orbit. No sum, it seems, sufficient to compel it to pick up the phone, to give us a call.

Maybe it was a one time fluke — a color out of space, but it’s also possible that it was unexceptional, a mundane representative from a vast distribution. If so, what can we do to be ready for the next one?

Darryl Seligman has a new paper up on arXiv that outlines a plan. Had ‘Oumuamua been spotted on its way in, and if a probe had been loitering in anticipation, fueled and ready to go at L1, it would have been an easy thing (energetically at least) to rocket over and intercept it, Deep Impact style, in a blaze of glory.

With LSST set to start monitoring the skies, there should be an opportunity every decade or so to “get interstellar” by barely leaving home.

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  1. Robin Datta
    March 24th, 2018 at 13:58 | #1

    A probe in “hibernation” at a suitable LaGrange point of a suitable planet with a array of scientific instruments to satisfy the “astro” physicists/biologists/etc. with a nuke of sufficient yield to shove away an asteroid on an impact trajectory, would, by serving two purposes seem almost de rigueur with the current state of technology.

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