Scientists believe that a small moon is on its way to enter Earth’s orbit and is approaching 27,000 miles away.
However, they believe that this small moon or asteroid may actually be just some of the ancient space waste that made its way to planet Earth.
The director of the NASA Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, Paul Chodas, believes that the object, which he called “asteroid SO 2020”, is an old, enhanced missile dating back to the 1960s.
Chodas told CNN: “I think that this newly discovered object ‘SO 2020’ is an old booster missile because it follows an orbit around the sun that is very similar to the Earth’s orbit … almost circular … at the same level … and a little further away. From the sun at its farthest point.
“This is exactly the type of orbit that a missile stage separate from a lunar mission will follow, once it passes by the moon and escapes into orbit around the sun. It is unlikely that the asteroid has developed into an orbit like this, but it is not impossible,” he added.
According to the American News Network, Choudas analyzed the movement of the asteroid back in time to try to link it to any known lunar launch mission and found that it was likely to be in “the vicinity of Earth in late 1966.”
Chodas indicated that this is related to the launch of the “Surveyor 2” spacecraft on the twentieth of September 1966, noting that this mission was designed for a smooth landing on the surface of the moon, but its failure led to the crash of the spacecraft.
Chodas believes that the “Centaur” missile, which was used to bolster the spacecraft, passed near the moon before entering orbit near the sun and was not seen again until now.
The object is likely to enter a distant orbit around Earth in late November, however, if it was an asteroid, it would be considered a small moon.
But if it were a booster rocket, Chodas thought, it would be just another piece of space debris floating around space.
It is noteworthy that it is rare for long-lost rocket phases to be captured from orbit around the sun to orbit around the Earth, and this will only be the second case of a missile stage to be captured from orbit, after the first and only time that it occurred in 2002 when the phase moved The third from the “Saturn 5” missile that carried the Apollo 12 spacecraft.
Scientists discovered that this stage of the “Saturn 5” missile took a path around the sun due to the sun’s gravity, and it appeared again after 31 years.