A comparison between Loeb's idea of how 'Oumuamua looks like and the generally accepted version of the elongated shape. Credit: Mark Garlick/Science Photo Library

Scientists Draw Plans For “Interstellar Interceptor”

An "Interstellar Interceptor" would be placed at the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrange point, waiting for an opportunity to snatch an incoming interstellar visitor for studies.


One of the strangest objects to ever travel across our solar system is a visitor from a distant solar system. Back in 2017, scientists discovered ‘Oumuamua. Observations of the object quickly revealed it was an interstellar visitor. It was not bound by gravity to our sun and travels across interstellar space, hopping from one star to the other. Then, a few years later, we discovered another one called 2l/Borisov, albeit not as unusual as ‘Ouamuamua. Undoubtedly, many more such objects exist.

Of great interest

Since these objects come from another star system, studying them would greatly help astronomers understand how space works. So, the only logical step is to visit an interstellar object. Although it may sound mission impossible, a paper has recently been drafted that paves the way to make this happen. Also, we cannot fail to mention that ‘Oumuamua was nothing like a comet. It did not look like an asteroid either. And Harvard astronomers proposed it might have been an alien spacecraft. So, what better way to settle what ‘Oumaumua was than by intercepting an interstellar object? In a report to Universe Today, the LSST will detect between one and ten objects roughly the same size as ‘Oumuamua per year as part of the Vera C Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time.

Interstellar interceptor

So, to catch an interstellar visitor, we need to position the “interstellar interceptor” (ISI) strategically. And based on astronomers’ calculations, the best place to store the ISI is the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrange point. The James Webb Space Telescope is there. There are a few advantages to this setup, First, the interstellar interceptor would require very little fuel three. An ISI might need to be stored for a long period. Within ten years, an ISI stored at L2 has an 85 percent chance of finding an object of interest the size of ‘Oumuamua, the researchers calculated. It is simply a matter of patience and waiting for the right time to detect ISOs and then snatch them. When the ISI reaches the ISO, it will be able to conduct close-quarters observations, such as spectroscopy mapping, in order to settle the debate as to whether these objects are alien probes.


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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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