A mini moon enters Earth’s orbit and is about 27,000 miles away.
However, more than just a few asteroids orbiting Earth, it may actually be some old space debris that went back to our planet.
Dr. Paul Sodas, director of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Research, believes the object, named Asteroid 2020 SO, is an old booster rocket from the 1960s.
“I suspect this newly discovered object 2020 SO is an old rocket booster because it follows an orbit about the Sun, which is very similar to Earth, almost round, in the same plane, and slightly farther away from the Sun at its farthest distance,” Sodas told CNN. .N.
“This is a rocket position separated from a lunar mission, which will follow as it passes through the moon and escapes into orbit about the sun. It is unlikely that an asteroid would have formed in such an orbit, but it is impossible.”
Sodas analyzed the asteroid’s motion backwards, attempting to link it to any known lunar mission launch, and found that it was “close to Earth in late 1966”.
He said it was related to the introduction of Surveyor 2 on September 20, 1966. Sodas said the mission was designed to make a smooth landing on the moon, but a failed spacecraft crashed. The Centaur rocket used to enhance the spacecraft that passed the moon went into orbit near the sun and was never seen again, Sodas suspects until now.
The object is likely to enter distant orbit around the Earth in late November, and if it were an asteroid it would be considered a mini moon. However, if this is a booster rocket as Sodas suspects, it could be another space debris floating around in space.
“In a month or 2020 SO we will get a clue as to whether or not a rocket is really a body, because we need to start detecting the effect of sunlight pressure on the motion of this object: if it is actually a rocket the body will be much less dense than an asteroid, and smaller due to sunlight The pressure will make a significant difference in its movement, which we can detect in the tracking data, ”Sodas said.
Long-lost rocket positions are rarely caught in orbit around the Sun, and this is the second event captured from a rocket-level orbit.
Sodas said Saturn V may have been above Apollo 12 in 2002, the only time this happened.