After ʻOumuamua in October 2017, now two years on Genaddy Borisov from the Crimea looked up and found a second interstellar interloper on a hyperbolic path, headed towards our sun.

Forbes says in the previous link “The discovery will be music to the ears of many who have been expecting more of these objects, too. Some estimates suggest that at least one interstellar object should be in our Solar System at any given time, while the upcoming Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) plans to find many more of these objects. The European Space Agency (ESA), meanwhile, may even send a spacecraft to an interstellar visitor in the future.

That is indeed the significance I think. In between something occurring never, once, and often, there is not much probability attached to something just happening a few times, given the distances and time involved in the universe. The appearance of a 2nd something in space just two years after the first (which we almost missed, it was already flying away), likely means it is much more common, we just haven’t spotted much of it yet.

Below a simulation of the orbits of both objects, from Orbitsimulator.com

Yes, it is the folly of man, or rather Elon Musk, and can be seen as a hubris filled PR stunt: launching a Tesla Roadster into space just because. But is a good upgrade from the wheel of cheese he launched in 2010, and it sure beats lumping blocks of concrete into orbit to see if a rocket works as planned. Landing 2 boosters to be re-used is no mean feat either even if the core engine missed its landing site and crashed, nor is reducing the cost of a launch 10-fold. The successful test launch of this Falcon Heavy shows Space X is more than serious about pushing development forward. Having fun by hurling a car into space is just the cherry, not the cake.

The resulting live video footage of the empty space suit behind the wheel with our blue ball circling in the background is pure fun. Topped off by a Don’t Panic message on the dashboard. I only hope Star Man that as rumour has it indeed brought a towel for the next leg of the trip in the general direction of Mars and then ever onwards.