NASA’s main asteroid professional mentioned a flying object anticipated to turn into a mini-moon subsequent month may very well be an previous rocket stage from a failed moon touchdown in 1966, the Associated Press experiences. Ongoing remark ought to verify the article’s identification, initially thought of to be an asteroid. Paul Chodas, supervisor of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, speculates that 2020 SO, because the asteroid is formally designated, may very well be house junk. “I’m pretty jazzed about this,” Chodas mentioned. “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 now.” Unusual for an asteroid, the article has a near-circular orbit across the solar and is in the identical two-dimensional aircraft relative to the Sun as Earth.
Compared to Chodas’ different speculated circumstances of house junk coming into Earth’s orbit, the newest object’s route is stabler and extra direct. “I could be wrong on this. I don’t want to appear overly confident,” Choas mentioned. “But it’s the first time, in my view, that all the pieces fit together with an actual known launch.”