NASA says this asteroid is a first for more than one reason


For the first time, scientists have discovered an interstellar object — and its cigar-like shape is puzzling scientists. 

Nicknamed 'Oumuamua,' the asteroid could be 10 times longer than it is wide. NASA notes it's never seen an asteroid like it.

Paul Chodas from NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies said, "This object is simply a piece of another solar system that was expelled, and it has been traveling through interstellar space hundreds of millions of years — billions of years — we don't know." 

But besides novelty, the long and thin shape could give scientists clues as to how different solar systems formed. 

Time is ticking, though. The asteroid is already on its way out of our solar system, and it's rapidly fading from our view. 

SEE MORE: A New NASA Time Lapse Shows 20 Years Of Life On Earth

Between orbiting and ground-based telescopes, NASA expects scientists have a little less than a month to get as much data as they can. 

More on NASA: 

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NASA releases stunning close-up images of giant new iceberg in Antarctica
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NASA releases stunning close-up images of giant new iceberg in Antarctica
Photographed by NASA, the A-68 iceberg is one of the largest ever observed on Earth.
Photographed by NASA, the A-68 iceberg is one of the largest ever observed on Earth.
Photographed by NASA, the A-68 iceberg is one of the largest ever observed on Earth.
Photographed by NASA, the A-68 iceberg is one of the largest ever observed on Earth.
UNSPECIFIED, ANTARCTICA - OCTOBER 31: The western edge of the famed iceberg A-68 (TOP R), calved from the Larsen C ice shelf, is seen from NASA's Operation IceBridge research aircraft, near the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula region, on October 31, 2017, above Antarctica. The massive iceberg was measured at approximately the size of Delaware when it first calved in July. NASA's Operation IceBridge has been studying how polar ice has evolved over the past nine years and is currently flying a set of nine-hour research flights over West Antarctica to monitor ice loss aboard a retrofitted 1966 Lockheed P-3 aircraft. According to NASA, the current mission targets 'sea ice in the Bellingshausen and Weddell seas and glaciers in the Antarctic Peninsula and along the English and Bryan Coasts.' Researchers have used the IceBridge data to observe that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may be in a state of irreversible decline directly contributing to rising sea levels. The National Climate Assessment, a study produced every 4 years by scientists from 13 federal agencies of the U.S. government, released a stark report November 2 stating that global temperature rise over the past 115 years has been primarily caused by 'human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases'. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED, ANTARCTICA - OCTOBER 31: The western edge of the famed iceberg A-68 (TOP R), calved from the Larsen C ice shelf, is seen from NASA's Operation IceBridge research aircraft, near the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula region, on October 31, 2017, above Antarctica. The massive iceberg was measured at approximately the size of Delaware when it first calved in July. NASA's Operation IceBridge has been studying how polar ice has evolved over the past nine years and is currently flying a set of nine-hour research flights over West Antarctica to monitor ice loss aboard a retrofitted 1966 Lockheed P-3 aircraft. According to NASA, the current mission targets 'sea ice in the Bellingshausen and Weddell seas and glaciers in the Antarctic Peninsula and along the English and Bryan Coasts.' Researchers have used the IceBridge data to observe that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may be in a state of irreversible decline directly contributing to rising sea levels. The National Climate Assessment, a study produced every 4 years by scientists from 13 federal agencies of the U.S. government, released a stark report November 2 stating that global temperature rise over the past 115 years has been primarily caused by 'human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases'. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED, ANTARCTICA - OCTOBER 31: The western edge of the famed iceberg A-68 (TOP R), calved from the Larsen C ice shelf, is seen from NASA's Operation IceBridge research aircraft, near the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula region, on October 31, 2017, above Antarctica. The massive iceberg was measured at approximately the size of Delaware when it first calved in July. NASA's Operation IceBridge has been studying how polar ice has evolved over the past nine years and is currently flying a set of nine-hour research flights over West Antarctica to monitor ice loss aboard a retrofitted 1966 Lockheed P-3 aircraft. According to NASA, the current mission targets 'sea ice in the Bellingshausen and Weddell seas and glaciers in the Antarctic Peninsula and along the English and Bryan Coasts.' Researchers have used the IceBridge data to observe that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may be in a state of irreversible decline directly contributing to rising sea levels. The National Climate Assessment, a study produced every 4 years by scientists from 13 federal agencies of the U.S. government, released a stark report November 2 stating that global temperature rise over the past 115 years has been primarily caused by 'human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases'. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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