“I’m very shocked about this,” Paul Sodas told the Associated Press. “It was my hobby to find one of these and make such a connection, and I have been doing this for decades now.” Sodas speculates that the asteroid 2020 SO, as it is formally known, is in fact a centrifugal rocket position, which successfully launched NASA’s Surveyor 2 lander to the moon in 1966.
On its way there, the lander crashed into the moon, failing to ignite one of its impulses. Meanwhile, the rocket crossed the moon and orbited the sun as orbiting junk, never to be seen again – perhaps until now.
The object is estimated to be about 8 meters in terms of its brightness. It is on the ballpark of the old centaur, which is less than 10 meters long, with its machine tip and 3 meters in diameter.
What attracted Sodas’ attention was that its orbit around the Sun was similar to that of the Earth – an asteroid unusual.
The object is in the same plane of the earth, not tilting up or down, another red flag. Asteroids usually zip at odd angles. Finally, it approaches Earth at a speed of 2400 km / h, slowed by asteroid grades.
As the object approaches, astronomers can better list its orbit and determine how far it is pushed by the effects of sunlight radiation and heat. If it were an old centaur – basically a light could be blank – it would move differently than a heavier space rock.
Sodas predicts that the object will orbit about four months after it captures Earth in mid-November, before shooting back into its own orbit around the sun next March.
He suspects that the object will enter the earth – “at least not at this time.”