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Could interstellar visitors like 'Oumuamua actually help planets form?

25 Apr 2019, 13:00 UTC
Could interstellar visitors like 'Oumuamua actually help planets form? ESA/Hubble, NASA, ESO, M. Kornmesser

So the weird interstellar asteroid/comet/MegaSnowflake/NotASpaceship 'Oumuamua is the gift that keeps on giving.

Remember 'Oumuamua? Discovered in 2017, it quickly became apparent that it was no ordinary space object; its velocity was so high it must have come from deep interstellar space. It was thought to be a comet at first (an icy body from some other solar system, since those are the easiest to dislodge and eject into space), then reclassified as an asteroid when no cometary activity was seen — that is, gas blowing off it as any ice warmed when it neared the Sun— then re-reclassified as a comet when its motion implied it was leaking material, just too weakly to directly detect.

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