Near-earth asteroid might be a lost fragment of the moon

Asia's Tech News Daily

Near-earth asteroid might be a lost fragment of the moon

A near-Earth asteroid named Kamo`oalewa could be a fragment of our moon, according to a new paper published in Nature Communications Earth and Environment by a team of astronomers led by the University of Arizona.

Kamo`oalewa is a quasi-satellite – a subcategory of near-Earth asteroids that orbit the sun but remain relatively close to Earth. Little is known about these objects because they are faint and difficult to observe. Kamo`oalewa was discovered by the PanSTARRS telescope in Hawaii in 2016, and the name – found in a Hawaiian creation chant – alludes to an offspring that travels on its own. The asteroid is roughly the size of a Ferris wheel – between 150 and 190 feet in diameter – and gets as close as about 9 million miles from Earth.

Due to its orbit, Kamo`oalewa can only be observed from Earth for a few weeks every April. Its relatively small size means that it can only be seen with one of the largest telescopes on Earth. Using the UArizona-managed Large Binocular Telescope on Mount Graham in southern Arizona, a team of astronomers led by planetary sciences graduate student Ben Sharkey found that Kamo`oalewa’s pattern of reflected light, called a spectrum, matches lunar rocks from NASA’s Apollo missions, suggesting it originated from the moon.

The team can’t yet be sure how it may have broken loose. The reason, in part, is because there are no other known asteroids with lunar origins.

“I looked through every near-Earth asteroid spectrum we had access to, and nothing matched,” said Sharkey, the paper’s lead author.

The debate over Kamo`oalewa’s origins between Sharkey and his adviser, UArizona associate professor Vishnu Reddy, led to another three years of hunting for a plausible explanation.

“We doubted ourselves to death,” said Reddy, a co-author who started the project in 2016. After missing the chance to observe it in April 2020 due to a COVID-19 shutdown of the telescope, the team found the final piece of the puzzle in 2021.

“This spring, we got much needed follow-up observations and went, ‘Wow it is real,'” Sharkey said. “It’s easier to explain with the moon than other ideas.”

Kamo`oalewa’s orbit is another clue to its lunar origins. Its orbit is similar to the Earth’s, but with the slightest tilt. Its orbit is also not typical of near-Earth asteroids, according to study co-author Renu Malhotra, a UArizona planetary sciences professor who led the orbit analysis portion of the study.

“It is very unlikely that a garden-variety near-Earth asteroid would spontaneously move into a quasi-satellite orbit like Kamo`oalewa’s,” she said. “It will not remain in this particular orbit for very long, only about 300 years in the future, and we estimate that it arrived in this orbit about 500 years ago,” Malhotra said. Her lab is working on a paper to further investigate the asteroid’s origins.

Kamo`oalewa is about 4 million times fainter than the faintest star the human eye can see in a dark sky.

“These challenging observations were enabled by the immense light gathering power, of the twin 8.4-meter telescopes of the Large Binocular Telescope,” said study co-author Al Conrad, a staff scientist with the telescope.

The study also included data from the Lowell Discovery Telescope in Flagstaff, Arizona. Other co-authors on the paper include Olga Kuhn, Christian Veillet, Barry Rothberg and David Thompson from the Large Binocular Telescope; Audrey Thirouin from Lowell Observatory and Juan Sanchez from the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson. The research was funded by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations Program.

Research Report: “Lunar-like silicate material forms the Earth quasi-satellite (469219) 2016 HO3 Kamo’oalewa”

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

NASA awards contract for bed rest studies

NASA has selected Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft-und Raumfahrt (DLR) of Cologne, Germany, to provide use of its facility to support long-duration bed rest research. The $49.9 million Bedrest Studies Contract ... Read more »

Magellanic Stream arcing over Milky Way may be five times closer than previously thought

Our galaxy is not alone. Swirling around the Milky Way are several smaller, dwarf galaxies – the biggest of which are the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds, visible in the ... Read more »

Research in Brief: First-ever interior Earth mineral discovered in nature

UNLV geochemists have discovered a new mineral on the surface of the Earth. There’s just one catch: it shouldn’t be here. The mineral – entrapped in a diamond – traveled ... Read more »

Crew operations aboard Space Station return to normal

NASA and U.S. Space Command continue to monitor the debris cloud created by a recent Russian anti-satellite test. The International Space Station and crew members are safe and have resumed ... Read more »

Aerospike engine from Pangea Aerospace trialled on DLR test stand

Unique test stands, comprehensive expertise and decades of experience – the Lampoldshausen site of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) specialises in developing and testing ... Read more »

Solar Orbiter returns to Earth before starting its main science mission

Solar Orbiter is returning to Earth for a flyby before starting its main science mission to explore the Sun and its connection to ‘space weather’. During the flyby Solar Orbiter ... Read more »

Maritime Launch Services announces Nanoracks as payload provider; Unveils Spaceport Nova Scotia design

Maritime Launch Services, one of Canada’s leading aerospace firms and the owner of the country’s first commercial spaceport, announced that Nanoracks, a Voyager Space company and the leading commercial payload ... Read more »

Satellite operator Telesat goes public

Telesat Corporation announced today that it is now a public company and will begin trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market and the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol ... Read more »

China launches new satellite

China launched a new satellite from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in the northern province of Shanxi on Saturday. The satellite, Gaofen-11 03, was launched by a Long March-4B rocket ... Read more »

Stanford researchers are using AI to create better VR experiences

Virtual and augmented reality headsets are designed to place wearers directly into other environments, worlds and experiences. While the technology is already popular among consumers for its immersive quality, there ... Read more »

Bezos' Blue Origin hires lobbyist after 'Space Tax' proposed

This year, the company spent over $1.3 million on lobbying, in addition to $2 million in 2020. Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin hired Mac Campbell from Capitol Counsel – a lobbyist ... Read more »

Decisions from the ESA Intermediate Ministerial Meeting 2021

Government ministers in charge of space activities in ESA’s Member States today met at an Intermediate Ministerial Meeting held in Matosinhos, Portugal. The Council of Ministers unanimously adopted a Resolution ... Read more »

Turning space junk into rocket fuel

While SpaceX is working hard to make reusable rockets a new reality, the launches still leave behind massive amounts of debris in orbit, posing a potential hazard to communication satellites ... Read more »

BlackSky set to expand its EO constellation for real-time global intelligence

BlackSky’s latest satellites reached orbit and delivered first insights within 14 hours of launch. The company’s constellation growth signals a return to space and an increased capacity for global customers. ... Read more »

Japanese space tourists arrive at launch site ahead of ISS trip

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa arrived at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Friday for training ahead of his flight to the International Space Station on a Russian-operated spacecraft. Maezawa’s mission ... Read more »

Bacteria may be key to sustainably extracting earth elements for tech

Rare earth elements from ore are vital for modern life but refining them after mining is costly, harms the environment and mostly occurs abroad. A new study describes a proof ... Read more »

ESA selects revolutionary Venus EnVision mission

EnVision will be ESA’s next Venus orbiter, providing a holistic view of the planet from its inner core to upper atmosphere to determine how and why Venus and Earth evolved ... Read more »

Meet VMS - the briefcase-sized chemistry lab headed to Venus

Short for Venus Mass Spectrometer, VMS is one of five instruments aboard the DAVINCI descent probe. Launching in 2029, DAVINCI will be the first US probe mission to enter Venus’ ... Read more »

Scientists eagerly await James Webb telescope to discover stars, exoplanets

Scientists around the world eagerly await discoveries of early galaxies and exoplanets after the James Webb Space Telescope, the most powerful telescope ever conceived, is launched Dec. 18, a panel ... Read more »

US still characterizing damage of satellite struck in Russian missile test

The United States is still characterising the damage from an anti-satellite missile test allegedly conducted by Russia earlier this week, US Space Command Deputy Commander John Shaw said on Wednesday. ... Read more »

SES orders 2 new sats for Prime TV Neighbourhood serving 118 million homes

SES has ordered two geostationary (GEO) Ku-band satellites for its prime orbital slot at 19.2 degrees East to maintain the premium services it provides to its European video customers and ... Read more »

When debris disaster strikes

In 2021 so far, some 2467 new objects large enough to be tracked have been added to world catalogues of orbital objects, out of which 1493 are new satellites and ... Read more »

Astronomical object found by amateur identified as new dwarf galaxy

Enthusiast Giuseppe Donatiello spotted the galaxy while scrutinising publicly available data and his finding was investigated by professional astrophysicists, led by Dr. David Martinez-Delgado from the Instituto de Astrofisica de ... Read more »

Hubble Takes a Grand Tour of the Solar System

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has completed its annual grand tour of the outer Solar System. This is the realm of the giant planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune ... Read more »

Teledyne e2v HiRel offers new radiation dosimeters for space applications

Teledyne e2v HiRel has announced availability of 3 new radiation dosimeter models that further broaden its popular range of radiation measurement devices. Aimed at high altitude aerospace applications and all ... Read more »

Planetary defenders: after NASA's DART comes ESA's Hera

The world will be watching the milestone launch of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, DART, spacecraft on Wednesday, 24 November, intended to alter one small part of the Solar System ... Read more »

RocketStar gets SBIR contract to develop new plasma thrusters

RocketStar, an industry leader transforming access to space with fully reusable rockets, has announced that the company has been selected by the U.S Air Force to participate in a Small ... Read more »

CGI selected for GSA's ASTRO space and development IDIQ contract

CGI has been selected by the General Services Administration (GSA) for the multi-award ASTRO Indefinite-Delivery/Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) contract. This 10-year award provides CGI the opportunity to compete for task orders with ... Read more »

First all-private space station mission to include two dozen experiments

A private space company that’s planning to send the first all-private crew to the International Space Station announced on Wednesday that they will conduct medical and scientific experiments during their ... Read more »

Arianespace to launch Australian satellite Optus-11 with Ariane 6

Arianespace and Australian operator SingTel Optus signed the launch contract for the Optus-11 communications satellite. The launch, scheduled for the second half of 2023, will use the Ariane 64 version ... Read more »

Rocket Lab launches 107th satellite; Tests helicopter recovery operations

Rocket Lab has successfully deployed two satellites to orbit for real-time geospatial monitoring company BlackSky. Rocket Lab also successfully introduced helicopter operations to a recovery mission for the first time, ... Read more »

Latest Vega launch paves way for Vega-C

Arianespace announced liftoff of Vega’s twentieth flight from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana at 9:27 GMT (10:27 CET; 06:27 local time). Vega delivered three CERES payloads for the French Ministry ... Read more »

Pangea Aerospace hot fire tests the first MethaLox aerospike engine in the world

Pangea Aerospace, a company from Barcelona (Spain), has fired several times the first MethaLox aerospike engine in the world in their first try, at DLR Lampoldshausen facilities. The company has ... Read more »

PLD Space exhibits the first privately-developed Spanish rocket

PLD Space has achieved a new milestone with the official presentation in Madrid of its MIURA 1 rocket, that has been exhibited fully assembled for the first time in the ... Read more »

LeoLabs Australia's Space Tracking Centre releases first images of Russian space debris field

As reported, the Russian Federation tested a probable ‘Nudol’ direct ascent anti-satellite missile yesterday at 150250Z from Pllesetk, Russia with the target a defunct Russian satellite called Cosmos 1408. The ... Read more »

The worlds next door: Looking for habitable planets around Alpha Centauri

A mission to discover new planets potentially capable of sustaining life around Earth’s nearest neighbor, Alpha Centauri, was announced this week by Sydney University. The proposed telescope project will look ... Read more »

"Alien" invasions and the need for planetary biosecurity

The era of space exploration brings with it a new risk: invasion. The peril comes not from little green men arriving on flying saucers but, rather, from microbiological contamination of ... Read more »

Research casts new light on processes behind solar eruptions

Their work could provide a key piece to help solve a puzzle which solar astronomers have been aiming to solve for decades – what is the origin of magnetic twist ... Read more »

Alien organisms - hitchhikers of the galaxy

Scientists warn, without good biosecurity measures ‘alien organisms’ on Earth may become a reality stranger than fiction. Published in international journal BioSciences, a team of scientists, including Dr Phill Cassey, ... Read more »

NASA's next steps to return Hubble to normal operation status

The Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys has continued collecting science data as NASA works to address the anomaly that started Oct 25. Missed synchronization messages halted science production ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic