Oddly enough, there’s a great chance that things would behave totally different on another solar system than we’re all used to. Even the laws of physics themselves could be different, and we won’t know for sure until we’ll get there. Our current technology would allow humanity to reach the closest star (Alpha Centauri, located at 3 to 4 light-years) in much more time than a human lifetime. We can’t afford that for the moment, but the good news is that we can still have high hopes for the distant future.
We can still consider ourselves lucky that cosmic objects belonging from other solar systems are getting close enough to us so we can learn something about them. A team of physicists from Exact Sciences (IGCE-UNESP) and São Paulo State University’s Institute of Geosciences in Rio Claro, Brazil have discovered an entire population of asteroids that come from exoplanets or other stars.
19 interstellar asteroids wandering in our own cosmic backyard
The scientists were stunned to conclude such a high number of cosmic objects in our own solar system that belong to other planetary systems. The asteroids are classified as Centaurs, and they revolve in the area between Jupiter and Neptune. Maria Helena Moreira Morais, one of the co-authors of the study, stated:
“The Solar System formed 4.5 billion years ago in a stellar nursery, with its systems of planets and asteroids. The stars were close enough to each other to foster strong gravitational interactions that led to an exchange of material among the systems. Some objects now in the Solar System must therefore have formed around other stars. Until recently, however, we couldn’t distinguish between captured interstellar objects and objects that formed around the Sun. The first identification was made by us in 2018,”
But surely you’re wondering how were the scientists able to find out the origin of the 19 asteroids. Technology was their friend this time as well, as they created a computer simulation that was showcasing the trajectories of the cosmic objects backwards in time by 4.5 billion years, when our solar system was barely beginning to form. The simulation enabled scientists to conclude where the objects began.
The findings were published in the Royal Astronomical Society’s Monthly Notices.