A group of engineers and astronomers from the British non-governmental organization I4IS (Initiative for Interstellar Studies) offered to send to the recently discovered interstellar asteroid “Omului” a swarm of tiny probes. The project idea was named Project Lyra.
Earlier in I4IS has developed projects propelled by a laser beam probes microparasites – the so-called Project Dragonfly and Project Starshot. A swarm of such devices they propose to start and interstellar wanderer.
“With the current level of technology the mission of “interceptor” will be able to achieve “Omwamwi” within one year”, – say the authors ideas.
This mission involves so much more than the launch of the probe to the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The complex – time “catch” the asteroid, which was flying in the direction of the Solar system with ever greater speed (on November 21 – about 40 km per second). In may 2018, it will cross the orbit of Jupiter.
Even station New Horizons and one of the first probes Voyager I twice slower than “Omului”.
Appearance of a solar sail probe Project Lyra:
A survey of the asteroid, may help astronomers to understand how we formed our planetary system and will shed light on the origin, structure and composition of these interstellar objects.
Details about the offer I4IS can be read here (PDF format).
Position relative to other objects in the Solar system a month ago:
The direction of movement of a space object from the star VEGA in the constellation Lyra. The assumption that the asteroid arrives in the Solar system from the vicinity of VEGA, scientists quickly swung: at current speed the journey would take about 300 thousand years, and during this time, the star would have been in a different position in the sky.