• Earth may get a mini-moon made of space junk

    Date:14 October 2020 Author: Leila Stein

    Scientists are tracking an object that they expect will become caught in Earth’s gravity field for a few months, forming a mini-moon. Speculation as to what this object is has already begun.

    According to The Verge, some think the object may be an asteroid while others say it is a piece of space junk that was left behind by a rocket in the 1960s.

    “I’m pretty jazzed about this,” Paul Chodas, the manager of NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies told The Associated Press.

    The object has been named 2020 SO and appears to be around 8 metres long. This length and the object slow orbit has made many think it is a piece of space junk that was once launched from Earth.

    “That’s precisely the kind of orbit that a rocket stage separated from a lunar mission would follow, once it passes by the Moon and escapes into orbit about the Sun. It’s unlikely that an asteroid could have evolved into an orbit like this, but not impossible,” Chodas told CNN in September.

    Many expect the specific piece to be a part of the rocket booster from the Surveyor 2 Mission in 1966. This mission failed after a thruster malfunction and eventually crashed into the Moon.

    Researchers are waiting patiently for the object to get a little closer as they will then be able to identify exactly what the object is.

    Picture: NASA



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