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Old 21st November 2017, 11:33 AM   #1
sir drinks-a-lot
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The first known object to enter our solar system from deep space

I think it's a shame that this story hasn't gotten more attention.
True, it doesn't tell us as much about the nature of the universe as the discovery of the Higgs boson, and it doesn't represent a major advance in engineering like gravitational wave detection. But it is the only chance we have ever had to directly view a largeish piece of another solar system, just millions of miles away. The next time probably won't come until we send a probe to Proxima Centauri.
To me, the thought of an asteroid being hurled out of the solar system that created it, then traveling through the cold void for millions or possibly billions of years, and then whipping around the sun (a mere 0.25 AU distant) is just the most incredible thing. The whole world should be having parties in its honor, to wish it well as it leaves us behind. (Instead of just fighting each other over nothing, as we usually do.)
This is an amazing time to be alive.
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Old 21st November 2017, 11:36 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by sir drinks-a-lot View Post
I think it's a shame that http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/astronomers-interstellar-visitor-1.4410477 hasn't gotten more attention.
True, it doesn't tell us as much about the nature of the universe as the discovery of the Higgs boson, and it doesn't represent a major advance in engineering like gravitational wave detection. But it is the only chance we have ever had to directly view a largeish piece of another solar system, just millions of miles away. The next time probably won't come until we send a probe to Proxima Centauri.
To me, the thought of an asteroid being hurled out of the solar system that created it, then traveling through the cold void for millions or possibly billions of years, and then whipping around the sun (a mere 0.25 AU distant) is just the most incredible thing. The whole world should be having parties in its honor, to wish it well as it leaves us behind. (Instead of just fighting each other over nothing, as we usually do.)
This is an amazing time to be alive.

Yeah, I read about this the other day and thought of starting a thread but it just slipped my mind. Thanks sir drinks-a-lot.
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Old 21st November 2017, 12:02 PM   #3
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Quote:
"Certainly this is a new type of object. It'll go a long way to improving our understanding as to how the solar system formed and evolved," Weryk told CBC News at the time of discovery.

"I'm certainly interested in finding more of these."
Don't they do everything in threes?
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Old 21st November 2017, 01:42 PM   #4
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Considering its origin and the artist's rendering, they absolutely should have named it "Rama".
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Old 21st November 2017, 05:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by alfaniner View Post
Considering its origin and the artist's rendering, they absolutely should have named it "Rama".
Are we planning to directly rendezvous with it?????
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Old 21st November 2017, 05:20 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by fuelair View Post
Are we planning to directly rendezvous with it?????
Well, as I recall it was noticed while looking for near Earth crossing objects. So what found it was the project to find what's looking to rendezvous with us.

See, forget interstellar beings, even just interstellar rocks don't wanna come here.

Wonder if we do cross its path at any time and might pass trough some debris?
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Old 21st November 2017, 06:06 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by fuelair View Post
Are we planning to directly rendezvous with it?????
Its going at 38km/s. I don't think we could if we tried.
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Old 21st November 2017, 06:14 PM   #8
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The Rama in the book slowed down and entered solar orbit. That was what made a rendezvous both possible and desirable.
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Old 21st November 2017, 06:18 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ceptimus View Post
The Rama in the book slowed down and entered solar orbit. That was what made a rendezvous both possible and desirable.
Did it?

I remember them having considerable warning due to a comprehensive observation system cataloging asteroids. This was followed by monumental efforts from a civilization that had considerable presence in space, and yet they only had once chance for the rendezvous.
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Old 21st November 2017, 06:20 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Its going at 38km/s. I don't think we could if we tried.
Technically, we could; this speed is not unachievable (the Giotto probe that rendezvoused with Comet Halley was travelilng reached a velocity of 68 km/sec), but it would take a LOT of advanced warning.
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Old 21st November 2017, 06:51 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Technically, we could; this speed is not unachievable (the Giotto probe that rendezvoused with Comet Halley was travelilng reached a velocity of 68 km/sec), but it would take a LOT of advanced warning.
Yeah, I agree. I was talking about the actual situation as it stands, which is that it's already on it's way out of the solar system.

I suppose a huge effort might make it possible to catch up to it for a closer look even now, but it would really be a monumental effort.
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Old 21st November 2017, 07:38 PM   #12
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Perhaps Jupiter/Saturn have "conspired" to hurl some of our asteroids out of the Solar System & now the neighbors are throwing rocks back at us.
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Old 21st November 2017, 08:11 PM   #13
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Very cool structure - rock javelin thrown by a giant?
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Old 21st November 2017, 10:25 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Yeah, I agree. I was talking about the actual situation as it stands, which is that it's already on it's way out of the solar system.

I suppose a huge effort might make it possible to catch up to it for a closer look even now, but it would really be a monumental effort.
Actually this might be the ideal test and development situation for the tiny interstellar probe idea. You'd be able to accelerate them to an intercept speed very quickly. Bonus if you can get them out in front of the object and allow the object to catch up, giving you the chance to accelerate them to a closely matching velocity for an extended encounter.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakthrough_Starshot


ETA: It goes without saying that this would be for future objects. You'd have probes at a lagrange point or in orbit waiting.
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Old 22nd November 2017, 12:48 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Peregrinus View Post
Perhaps Jupiter/Saturn have "conspired" to hurl some of our asteroids out of the Solar System & now the neighbors are throwing rocks back at us.
Originally Posted by RussDill View Post
<polite snip>

ETA: It goes without saying that this would be for future objects. You'd have probes at a lagrange point or in orbit waiting.
Which brings up a very interesting question... how often does this happen?

Thirty years ago, I think I would have said it would be exceedingly rare, but now that we know there are in the order of 10 to 100 billion planetary systems in the galaxy, it may be that this is quite a common occurrence. We have only been able to detect such small objects in recent years (and in this case, we didn't see it approaching) but our planet has been around for 4.5 billion years.

Also, when searching for near earth asteroids, we tend to observe mainly near the plane of the ecliptic, but these things can come at us from any direction, so if they are quite common, it could be that they represent a far greater danger to us than any NEO.
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Old 22nd November 2017, 03:03 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Which brings up a very interesting question... how often does this happen?

Thirty years ago, I think I would have said it would be exceedingly rare, but now that we know there are in the order of 10 to 100 billion planetary systems in the galaxy, it may be that this is quite a common occurrence. We have only been able to detect such small objects in recent years (and in this case, we didn't see it approaching) but our planet has been around for 4.5 billion years.

Also, when searching for near earth asteroids, we tend to observe mainly near the plane of the ecliptic, but these things can come at us from any direction, so if they are quite common, it could be that they represent a far greater danger to us than any NEO.
Pan-STARRS1 is the "Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System" in Hawaii that looks for near earth objects by examining differences in sky surveys taken at different times. It recently underwent a software change. Before the change objects like ʻOumuamua would be ignored based on the presumption of the data being in error.

The current estimate is that there should be several interstellar objects passing within 1 AU each year.
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Old 22nd November 2017, 03:54 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Did it?

I remember them having considerable warning due to a comprehensive observation system cataloging asteroids. This was followed by monumental efforts from a civilization that had considerable presence in space, and yet they only had once chance for the rendezvous.

You're right, it didn't enter orbit. It passed close to the sun, picked up some energy and hightailed it out of the solar system.
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Old 22nd November 2017, 07:31 AM   #18
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Those that have seen "2001 - A Space Odyssey" will know what a longish extra-solar object really looks like!
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Old 22nd November 2017, 08:37 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by steenkh View Post
Those that have seen "2001 - A Space Odyssey" will know what a longish extra-solar object really looks like!
If you mean the Sentinel, it's explicit in the original novel* but only implicit in the film that the object's dimensions are 1:4:9.

*In the original short story that gave rise to the novel the object was a pyramid.
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Old 24th November 2017, 03:47 AM   #20
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It looks like a derelict starship.
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Old 24th November 2017, 05:45 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by TX50 View Post
It looks like a derelict starship.
https://robotechreviewed.files.wordp...sdf-1-1999.png

Possible?

Edited by TubbaBlubba:  Edited to remove hotlink. Please only hotlink from sites granting express permission.
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Old 24th November 2017, 09:00 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Or a gargantuan android with swelling of the feet.
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Old 24th November 2017, 09:29 AM   #23
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Yes I noted to with sadness this didn't make the mainstream news. Quite remarkable - a rock from another stellar system. I'm quite sure the geologists would have loved to have sampled that one.

Perhaps a probe will be made and sent up for one of the next one seen? For a project like that making a specialized probe - what ten years from inception to launch?
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Old 24th November 2017, 01:35 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by RussDill View Post
Pan-STARRS1 is the "Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System" in Hawaii that looks for near earth objects by examining differences in sky surveys taken at different times. It recently underwent a software change. Before the change objects like ʻOumuamua would be ignored based on the presumption of the data being in error.

The current estimate is that there should be several interstellar objects passing within 1 AU each year.
According to the interview on Inside Science on BBC radio 4,, there should be one within the inner solar system at the moment
about 7:30 in.
BBC Inside Science - Interstellar visitor, Svante Paabo, Synthetic biology, Plight of the Axolotl - @bbcradio4 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09fj9n8

well worth listening to if you have access.
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Old 24th November 2017, 03:14 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Hans View Post
Yes I noted to with sadness this didn't make the mainstream news. Quite remarkable - a rock from another stellar system. I'm quite sure the geologists would have loved to have sampled that one.

Perhaps a probe will be made and sent up for one of the next one seen? For a project like that making a specialized probe - what ten years from inception to launch?
Since the velocity will be very high and there won't be much time to intercept, getting a probe to one of these would be difficult and very expensive.
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Old 24th November 2017, 04:46 PM   #26
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So when's it supposed to hit us?
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Old 29th November 2017, 11:02 AM   #27
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Would something like this be expected to outgas, passing the sun so close?

Anyone know if it flies like an arrow, or tumbles like a rock?
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Old 29th November 2017, 11:35 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
Would something like this be expected to outgas, passing the sun so close?

Anyone know if it flies like an arrow, or tumbles like a rock?
Word around the campfire is that it's artificial, and has an interstellar ramjet propulsion system.
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Old 29th November 2017, 11:36 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
Would something like this be expected to outgas, passing the sun so close?

Anyone know if it flies like an arrow, or tumbles like a rock?
It appears to tumble, end over end, 7.3 hours per rotation.
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Old 29th November 2017, 11:45 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
Would something like this be expected to outgas, passing the sun so close?

Anyone know if it flies like an arrow, or tumbles like a rock?
Yes it tumbles, and yes, it would have been expected to outgas - it would have been expected to be icy, but instead it hasn't.

It's reddish in colour, like many small objects in the outer solar system - this is thought to be carbon-rich compounds that have been exposed to interstellar cosmic rays
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Old 29th November 2017, 03:33 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by John Jones View Post
Word around the campfire is that it's artificial, and has an interstellar ramjet propulsion system.
Baloney. It was all orbiting DEW despite that satellites cannot exist.
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Old 29th November 2017, 06:10 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
Yes it tumbles, and yes, it would have been expected to outgas - it would have been expected to be icy, but instead it hasn't.

It's reddish in colour, like many small objects in the outer solar system - this is thought to be carbon-rich compounds that have been exposed to interstellar cosmic rays
Clearly a rusty burnt out derelict space ship that dared make the interstellar trip to visit us, but got caught in a deadly cosmic event on the trip! We need to quickly send out AAA with some jumper cables and a pilot before it drifts away too far.
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Old 29th November 2017, 11:20 PM   #33
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Thanx, crescent and jimbob !
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Old 30th November 2017, 04:01 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by CORed View Post
Since the velocity will be very high and there won't be much time to intercept, getting a probe to one of these would be difficult and very expensive.
Difficult, but well within our capabilities right now.

As I pointed out earlier, the velocity is not really a problem. This object is travelling at 38 km/sec. The ESA's "Giotto" probe intercepted Comet Halley at 68 km/sec, and that was over 30 years ago. The only real problem would be having a probe ready in time. We'd really have to have it built, tested and ready to be launched almost as soon as a suitable candidate object was detected.
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Old 30th November 2017, 09:02 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Difficult, but well within our capabilities right now.

As I pointed out earlier, the velocity is not really a problem. This object is travelling at 38 km/sec. The ESA's "Giotto" probe intercepted Comet Halley at 68 km/sec, and that was over 30 years ago. The only real problem would be having a probe ready in time. We'd really have to have it built, tested and ready to be launched almost as soon as a suitable candidate object was detected.
Giotto did a fly by of Halley as it passed through the inner solar system. It was launched well in advance of Halley's arrival and was never moving anywhere near as fast as it.

Getting late warning of a fast moving interstellar object, it would be very difficult to get a spacecraft on an intercepting trajectory.
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Old 30th November 2017, 09:31 AM   #36
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I am curious as to how many more of these things we'll start to detect. They seem to think that with some of the new data processing, we'll see more. They base this on the idea that they found something fairly soon after starting to use new techniques.

We've got some big rockets coming on-line over the next few years, the Space X Falcon Heavy and the NASA Space Launch System (SLS). Falcon Heavy could fly as soon as January 2018, although it could still be years from making routine launches, depending on how successful the launch is (even Space X seems a bit pessimistic). SLS won't fly for years, but is really, really big. Space X also has some pie-in-the-sky plans for a really really big rocket, but that too is pretty far down the line.

Then we have ion-drive propulsion. Slow acceleration over a long time. Between the new big rockets and ion propulsion, we probably have the technical ability intercept one of these things in the next few decades. Whether or not Congress would fund such a mission on practical terms is a whole other story.
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Old 30th November 2017, 09:37 AM   #37
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It's not a question of simply intercepting is it?

It's a question of how much mass, and therefore how much kit you want when your probe arrives.
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Old 30th November 2017, 10:09 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
It's not a question of simply intercepting is it?

It's a question of how much mass, and therefore how much kit you want when your probe arrives.
Of course. The New Horizons probe travels a bit more than 1/2 the velocity of the 'Oumuamua. New Horizons does not have ion drive, and was launched by an Atlas V, it briefly had higher velocity than either of the (Titan III launched) Voyager probes, but has since slowed down. The Atlas V that launched New Horizons has about 25% more power than the Titans that launched the Voyager missions. Even without the gravity assists that the Voyagers had, New Horizons has been able to achieve only slightly slower velocity towards the edge of the Solar System.

Falcon heavy will have about triple the capacity of an Atlas V. Adding ion drive to a craft might slow its initial velocity (due to the extra weight) or require a reduction in the scientific instrumentation to reduce weight or power requirements.

Still, the fact remains that even without Falcon Heavy or SLS, we currently have the ability to accelerate spacecraft faster than ever before. Voyager 2 is still the fastest, but current tech (an Ion Drive launched from a Delta IV heavy, nearly 50% more power than Titan III) could exceed that. Add Falcon Heavy (double the power of the Delta 4 Heavy) or SLS to the mix, and we can move much faster than the Voyagers.

It just gets down to how early we can detect extra-solar objects, and how quickly we could prepare and launch an intercept probe. It would be interesting to build a probe and wait for just the right opportunity, but I doubt that would work due to cultural and political impatience.

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Old 30th November 2017, 10:39 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Giotto did a fly by of Halley as it passed through the inner solar system. It was launched well in advance of Halley's arrival and was never moving anywhere near as fast as it.

Getting late warning of a fast moving interstellar object, it would be very difficult to get a spacecraft on an intercepting trajectory.
I thought I addressed that.

"The only real problem would be having a probe ready in time. We'd really have to have it built, tested and ready to be launched almost as soon as a suitable candidate object was detected."

The Giotto Probe was launched on 2 July 1985, and rendezvoused with Halley (travelling at 68km/sec) on 14 March 1986, only 8 months later. Comet Hale-Bopp was discovered 23 July 1995 by both a professional (Hale) and an amateur (Bopp) astronomer. Its perihelion was almost two years later in April 1997. That's plenty of time for a rendezvous had there been a pre-prepared probe waiting to be launched.
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Old 30th November 2017, 07:20 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
I thought I addressed that.

"The only real problem would be having a probe ready in time. We'd really have to have it built, tested and ready to be launched almost as soon as a suitable candidate object was detected."

The Giotto Probe was launched on 2 July 1985, and rendezvoused with Halley (travelling at 68km/sec) on 14 March 1986, only 8 months later. Comet Hale-Bopp was discovered 23 July 1995 by both a professional (Hale) and an amateur (Bopp) astronomer. Its perihelion was almost two years later in April 1997. That's plenty of time for a rendezvous had there been a pre-prepared probe waiting to be launched.
I guess that depends on how much warning we had. As I understand it Oumuamua was only discovered on it's way out of the solar system. We certainly didn't have 8 months warning, so even if we launched a probe on the day it was discovered I don't think we have the ability to rendevous with an object on that sort of trajectory. Of course we could probably do so if we spend an enormous amount on getting a spacecraft up to that sort of velocity, but a more elegant solution would require more advanced warning.

On the other hand if we were to discover such an object much earlier then, yes, a mission like the Giotto would be feasible.
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