I realize the tremendous advances in the length of missions the last 20 years but I have a lay question so please don't beat me up. If an asteroid such as Oumuamua, billions of years old has the capability to still increase it's speed doesn't this open up new possibilities for extending missions in the future? Maybe different elements stored together that could be heated up on command to produce thrust. Something obviously works for asteroids and comets. Thank you


closed as unclear what you're asking by peterh, Organic Marble, Nathan Tuggy, Mark Omo, Paul Feb 1 at 5:45

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  • $\begingroup$ Hi, and welcome to Space Exploration! Could you clarify what you mean by Oumuamua increasing its speed? $\endgroup$ – Schwern Feb 1 at 2:17
  • $\begingroup$ I believe it was said that one of the reasons why a noted Harvard professor claimed Oumuamua could be an alien craft was it's ability to increase it's speed as it passed through our solar system. $\endgroup$ – CBShelby Feb 1 at 2:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You're asking about the "non-gravitational acceleration" it underwent. Scott Manley and PBS Spacetime have videos about it. It was probably outgassing or light pressure. Outgassing is not efficient unless you already have a lot of mass near a star. Instead we have very efficient solar powered ion thrusters. And we can use light pressure via a solar sail. $\endgroup$ – Schwern Feb 1 at 8:38

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