Earth to get a mini moon ..

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brian livesey
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Earth to get a mini moon ..

Post by brian livesey »

Not a rocky moon, but what is speculated to be by asteroid expert, Paul Chodas, the discarded upper stage of the Centaur rocket that propelled NASA's Surveyor 2 lander to the moon in 1966. A thruster failed to operate on the lander, sending Surveyor crashing into the moon.
"I'm jazzed about this," said Mr. Chodas, director of the Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "It's been a hobby of mine to find one of these and draw such a link, and I've been doing it for decades". The object was detected by a telescope in Hawaii devoted to protecting Earth from "doomsday rocks".
The object is reckoned by its brightness to be about 26 feet long, while the Centaur remnant would be less than 32ft long and 10 ft. in diameter.
The object's near circular orbit around the Sun, and it's being in the same plane as the Earth's orbit, plus it's sluggish speed of 1,500mph towards Earth, would seem to discount it as being an asteroid. In 2002, Mr. Chodas discovered what he thinks was the leftover third stage of Saturn V from the Apollo 12 mission in 1969. The new object is being drawn into Earth's gravitational field and in a month's time and become a mini moon.
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brian livesey
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Re: Earth to get a mini moon ..

Post by brian livesey »

When we consider the age of the Earth and the great numbers of asteroids that have struck our planet, it seems strange that there are no near-earth asteroids that have gone into earth-orbit and circle us as mini-moons.
Anybody any ideas about this? There has to be a reason/s why we don't see captured asteroids in orbit. Maybe it's an exercise in celestial mechanics.
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brian livesey
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Re: Earth to get a mini moon ..

Post by brian livesey »

Yes,the mystery object is the 54-year-old upper stage of the Centaur rocket from the failed Surveyor 2, not an asteroid as was originally thought.
A team led by the University of Arizona's Vishnu Reddy used an infra red telescope in Hawaii to observe the object. They also compared it with a Centaur launched in 1971 and still orbiting Earth. The Surveyor remnant is expected to return in 2036.
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schaeffer
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Re: Earth to get a mini moon ..

Post by schaeffer »

I think in the early stages Earth had some asteroid satellites, I remember reading something about this before. Before I was very obsessed with mini asteroid satellites when I was a beginner at observation. All night I was looking to identify a mini-moon in the garden of my [Link removed]. Now my son is doing it for me instead...

Please note: Blatant non-astro link removed by Mod Team and post locked
Last edited by schaeffer on Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
brian livesey
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Re: Earth to get a mini moon ..

Post by brian livesey »

I was forgetting about the La Grange points. There are concentrations of interplanetary dust and possibly a few old rocks of some discription at Earth's La Grange points.
Jupiter has a million Trojan asteroids at its La Grange points.
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