We might have a new mini-moon soon

We might have a new mini-moon soon
A screenshot of object 2020 SO’s projected unusual orbit. Credit: Orbit Simulator.

Is it a new asteroid mini–moon or a human-made mini-moon? That’s the question about a small object approaching Earth, called 2020 SO. NASA’s Small Body Database predicts the object will captured by Earth’s gravity in October 2020 and temporarily be trapped in orbit.


But a few unusual characteristics of 2020 SO suggest it might not be a small asteroid, like the two previously known temporary mini-moons that have briefly orbited our planet. Instead, this new object might in fact be an old object from Earth—an old second-stage rocket part from the Surveyor 2 lunar lander mission, launched in 1966.

Mini-moons, or TCOs (Temporarily Captured Objects) have probably occurred more over history than we know, but only two have ever been confirmed: 2006 RH120, which hung out in Earth orbit from 2006 to 2007, and the one discovered earlier

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Earth May Soon Get Another Mini-Moon, but It’s Probably Just a Piece of Space Trash | Smart News

For the most part, Earth and its single moon are locked in a two-body dance as our planet circles the sun. But every so often, a bit of space stuff—otherwise known as a mini-moon—will get caught up in Earth’s gravitational orbit and stick around for a while.

The last mini-moon to visit Earth was 2020 CD3, which circled Earth for a few months before it flew off to orbit the sun in March. Now, Deborah Byrd and Eddie Irizarry write for EarthySky.org that scientists have identified another piece of space stuff that is expected to join Earth’s orbit, known as 2020 SO.

Astronomers first spotted 2020 SO on September 17 with the Pan-STARRS1 telescope in Hawaii, reports EarthSky.org. It’s predicted to enter Earth’s orbit in October or November and might stick around until May next year.

However, as Allen Kim reports for CNN, 2020 SO might not be your typical

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New ‘mini-moon’ set to be captured by Earth might just be space junk



This article, New ‘mini-moon’ set to be captured by Earth might just be space junk, originally appeared on CNET.com.

We’ve got one huge moon looming overhead and you might think “that’s enough moons.” But sometimes, Earth gets greedy and starts pulling in small asteroids for extended stays in orbit. The brief visitations by these “mini-moons” are fairly rare, with only two confirmed so far. The most recent came on Feb. 15, when tiny rock 2020 CD3 was discovered by astronomers at the

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