Timely study released on evidence for an object of 1-4 Jupiter masses in the Oort Cloud

Thursday, April 29, 2010

This study (quick overview here) is timely because it's about evidence for a body of 1 ~ 4 Jupiter masses (!) in the Oort Cloud, one that would be detectable by WISE, which as of now has finished scanning 60.1% of the sky.



Had the report been released a few months later WISE might have already announced finding something like this.

The discovery of an object of this type out in the Oort Cloud would mark a significant change in the way we view and explore space, as right now space looks a bit like this to us:

Solar System - explorable targets out to about 90 AU (though Sedna goes out as far as 975 AU). Then a lot of nothing. Going outwards at 1000 AU at a time, we get:

2000 AU, still nothing...
3000 AU, still nothing...
4000 AU, still nothing...
5000 AU, still nothing...
6000 AU, still nothing...
7000 AU, still nothing...
8000 AU, still nothing...
9000 AU, still nothing...
10000 AU, still nothing...
11000 AU, still nothing...
12000 AU, still nothing...
13000 AU, still nothing...
14000 AU, still nothing...
15000 AU, still nothing...
16000 AU, still nothing...
17000 AU, still nothing...
18000 AU, still nothing...
19000 AU, still nothing...
20000 AU, still nothing... (but that Oort Cloud object might be located somewhere around here)
21000 AU, still nothing...
22000 AU, still nothing...
23000 AU, still nothing...
24000 AU, still nothing...
25000 AU, still nothing...
26000 AU, still nothing...
27000 AU, still nothing...
28000 AU, still nothing...
29000 AU, still nothing...
30000 AU, still nothing...
31000 AU, still nothing...
32000 AU, still nothing...
33000 AU, still nothing...
34000 AU, still nothing...
35000 AU, still nothing...
36000 AU, still nothing...
37000 AU, still nothing...
38000 AU, still nothing...
39000 AU, still nothing...
40000 AU, still nothing...
41000 AU, still nothing...
42000 AU, still nothing...
43000 AU, still nothing...
44000 AU, still nothing...
45000 AU, still nothing...
46000 AU, still nothing...
47000 AU, still nothing...
48000 AU, still nothing...
49000 AU, still nothing...
50000 AU, still nothing...
51000 AU, still nothing...
52000 AU, still nothing...
53000 AU, still nothing...
54000 AU, still nothing...
55000 AU, still nothing...
56000 AU, still nothing...
57000 AU, still nothing...
58000 AU, still nothing...
59000 AU, still nothing...
60000 AU, still nothing...
61000 AU, still nothing...
62000 AU, still nothing...
63000 AU, still nothing...
64000 AU, still nothing...
65000 AU, still nothing...
66000 AU, still nothing...
67000 AU, still nothing...
68000 AU, still nothing...
69000 AU, still nothing...
70000 AU, still nothing...
71000 AU, still nothing...
72000 AU, still nothing...
73000 AU, still nothing...
74000 AU, still nothing...
75000 AU, still nothing...
76000 AU, still nothing...
77000 AU, still nothing...
78000 AU, still nothing...
79000 AU, still nothing...
80000 AU, still nothing...
81000 AU, still nothing...
82000 AU, still nothing...
83000 AU, still nothing...
84000 AU, still nothing...
85000 AU, still nothing...
86000 AU, still nothing...
87000 AU, still nothing...
88000 AU, still nothing...
89000 AU, still nothing...
90000 AU, still nothing...
91000 AU, still nothing...
92000 AU, still nothing...
93000 AU, still nothing...
94000 AU, still nothing...
95000 AU, still nothing...
96000 AU, still nothing...
97000 AU, still nothing...
98000 AU, still nothing...
99000 AU, still nothing...
100000 AU, still nothing...
101000 AU, still nothing...
102000 AU, still nothing...
103000 AU, still nothing...
104000 AU, still nothing...
105000 AU, still nothing...
106000 AU, still nothing...
107000 AU, still nothing...
108000 AU, still nothing...
109000 AU, still nothing...
110000 AU, still nothing...
111000 AU, still nothing...
112000 AU, still nothing...
113000 AU, still nothing...
114000 AU, still nothing...
115000 AU, still nothing...
116000 AU, still nothing...
117000 AU, still nothing...
118000 AU, still nothing...
119000 AU, still nothing...
120000 AU, still nothing...
121000 AU, still nothing...
122000 AU, still nothing...
123000 AU, still nothing...
124000 AU, still nothing...
125000 AU, still nothing...
126000 AU, still nothing...
127000 AU, still nothing...
128000 AU, still nothing...
129000 AU, still nothing...
130000 AU, still nothing...
131000 AU, still nothing...
132000 AU, still nothing...
133000 AU, still nothing...
134000 AU, still nothing...
135000 AU, still nothing...
136000 AU, still nothing...
137000 AU, still nothing...
138000 AU, still nothing...
139000 AU, still nothing...
140000 AU, still nothing...
141000 AU, still nothing...
142000 AU, still nothing...
143000 AU, still nothing...
144000 AU, still nothing...
145000 AU, still nothing...
146000 AU, still nothing...
147000 AU, still nothing...
148000 AU, still nothing...
149000 AU, still nothing...
150000 AU, still nothing...
151000 AU, still nothing...
152000 AU, still nothing...
153000 AU, still nothing...
154000 AU, still nothing...
155000 AU, still nothing...
156000 AU, still nothing...
157000 AU, still nothing...
158000 AU, still nothing...
159000 AU, still nothing...
160000 AU, still nothing...
161000 AU, still nothing...
162000 AU, still nothing...
163000 AU, still nothing...
164000 AU, still nothing...
165000 AU, still nothing...
166000 AU, still nothing...
167000 AU, still nothing...
168000 AU, still nothing...
169000 AU, still nothing...
170000 AU, still nothing...
171000 AU, still nothing...
172000 AU, still nothing...
173000 AU, still nothing...
174000 AU, still nothing...
175000 AU, still nothing...
176000 AU, still nothing...
177000 AU, still nothing...
178000 AU, still nothing...
179000 AU, still nothing...
180000 AU, still nothing...
181000 AU, still nothing...
182000 AU, still nothing...
183000 AU, still nothing...
184000 AU, still nothing...
185000 AU, still nothing...
186000 AU, still nothing...
187000 AU, still nothing...
188000 AU, still nothing...
189000 AU, still nothing...
190000 AU, still nothing...
191000 AU, still nothing...
192000 AU, still nothing...
193000 AU, still nothing...
194000 AU, still nothing...
195000 AU, still nothing...
196000 AU, still nothing...
197000 AU, still nothing...
198000 AU, still nothing...
199000 AU, still nothing...
200000 AU, still nothing...
201000 AU, still nothing...
202000 AU, still nothing...
203000 AU, still nothing...
204000 AU, still nothing...
205000 AU, still nothing...
206000 AU, still nothing...
207000 AU, still nothing...
208000 AU, still nothing...
209000 AU, still nothing...
210000 AU, still nothing...
211000 AU, still nothing...
212000 AU, still nothing...
213000 AU, still nothing...
214000 AU, still nothing...
215000 AU, still nothing...
216000 AU, still nothing...
217000 AU, still nothing...
218000 AU, still nothing...
219000 AU, still nothing...
220000 AU, still nothing...
221000 AU, still nothing...
222000 AU, still nothing...
223000 AU, still nothing...
224000 AU, still nothing...
225000 AU, still nothing...
226000 AU, still nothing...
227000 AU, still nothing...
228000 AU, still nothing...
229000 AU, still nothing...
230000 AU, still nothing...
231000 AU, still nothing...
232000 AU, still nothing...
233000 AU, still nothing...
234000 AU, still nothing...
235000 AU, still nothing...
236000 AU, still nothing...
237000 AU, still nothing...
238000 AU, still nothing...
239000 AU, still nothing...
240000 AU, still nothing...
241000 AU, still nothing...
242000 AU, still nothing...
243000 AU, still nothing...
244000 AU, still nothing...
245000 AU, still nothing...
246000 AU, still nothing...
247000 AU, still nothing...
248000 AU, still nothing...
249000 AU, still nothing...
250000 AU, still nothing...
251000 AU, still nothing...
252000 AU, still nothing...
253000 AU, still nothing...
254000 AU, still nothing...
255000 AU, still nothing...
256000 AU, still nothing...
257000 AU, still nothing...
258000 AU, still nothing...
259000 AU, still nothing...
260000 AU, still nothing...
261000 AU, still nothing...
262000 AU, still nothing...
263000 AU, still nothing...
264000 AU, still nothing...
265000 AU, still nothing...
266000 AU, still nothing...
267000 AU, still nothing...
268000 AU, still nothing...
269000 AU, still nothing...
270000 AU, still nothing...
271000 AU, still nothing...
271930 AU, finally at Proxima Centauri!


As you can see, even 20000 AU is still right next to us compared to the distance even to the nearest star. However, it's still at a distance whereby we would need to use a different type of propulsion to reach there as even the fastest object we've ever sent into space (Voyager 1) is only 113 AU from the Sun after 33 years. So sending a probe to an object like this within a reasonable timeline (let's say 20 years) would mean that we'd be using a type of propulsion much, much more advanced than anything we're using now.

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