chunk of the moon appears to be orbiting near Earth

A chunk of the moon appears to be orbiting near Earth, new study suggests

Astronomers have found more evidence that a near-Earth asteroid is an ejected chunk of the moon.

The asteroid Kamo’oalewa — a Hawaiian name that means “the oscillating fragment” — is a Ferris-wheel-size rock chunk that orbits within 9 million miles (14.4 million kilometers) of Earth every April.

Since the object’s discovery in 2016, scientists have puzzled over the strange rock’s origins, and they were surprised when a 2021 analysis revealed that Kamo’oalewa’s composition is similar to the moon’s.

Now, a new study, published Oct. 23 in the journal Communications Earth & Environment, describes a feasible way that an ancient asteroid impact could have shunted the space rock onto its current trajectory and suggests there could be more moon chunks floating around the solar system.

“We are now establishing that the moon is a more likely source of Kamo’oalewa,” lead author Renu Malhotra, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona, said in a statement.

LP, PDP, Condemns Rising Food Costs

Two unusual orbital properties drew astronomers to investigate Kamo’oalewa. First, as a “quasi-satellite” of Earth, it is so close to our planet that it appears to orbit it, even though its actual orbital partner is the sun. Second, the asteroid is projected to stick closely by Earth’s side for millions of years, whereas many near-Earth objects hang around for only decades.

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. The Fight Against Climate Change | Amebohour

Leave a Reply