Scientists believe that the near Earth Asteroid Kamo ` oalewa may be a lost fragment of the moon

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1cf9867049b961d - Scientists believe that the near Earth Asteroid Kamo ` oalewa may be a lost fragment of the moon

Ben Sharkey, a graduate student in the Department of planetary science at the University of Arizona and the lead author of the paper, said in a statement: “I checked all the near Earth Asteroid spectra we can obtain, but there is no match.” On the contrary, Sharkey and other researchers realized that this rock has a reflected light pattern, or spectrum, which is very closely related to the lunar rocks brought back by NASA’s Apollo mission

al Conrad, a staff member of the large binoculars Observatory and co-author of the study, said in a statement: “these challenging observations were driven by the huge daylighting capacity of the two 8.4-meter telescopes of the large binoculars.”

but this is not the only evidence to prove the origin of Kamo ` oalewa’s moon. This “quasatellite” (a subclass of near Earth Asteroids) orbits both the sun and the earth – traveling around our planet at an unusual tilt, which is why it only appears in the night sky once a year

ReNu Malhotra, Professor of planetary science at the University of Arizona, said in a statement: “an ordinary near Earth Asteroid is unlikely to spontaneously enter a quasatellite orbit like Kamo ` oalewa.”

she pointed out that the debris will not stay in this specific orbit for a long time. It is estimated that it reached its current position 500 years ago, and Malhotra believes that its orbit will change in about 300 years

however, even with such a powerful machine and detailed orbital analysis, the research team still solved Kamo ` oalewa’s secret after a long time of analysis. Because the dim sphere did not appear often, they had to build their data set over a few years to depict the full picture of the extraterrestrial object – and find enough evidence to confirm its lunar origin

Vishnu Reddy, co-author of the Research Report of the lunar and Planetary Laboratory of the University of Arizona, said in a statement: “we have been doubting ourselves.”

the project started in 2016 and has been running for several years, but in 2020, due to the limitation of covid-19, the team missed the window of asteroids. Now, in 2021, they are finally satisfied with the amount of information collected and announce Kamo ` oalewa’s unique past. Sharkey said, “this spring, we got much-needed follow-up observations and said,’Wow, it’s true. It’s easier to explain with the moon than other ideas’.

since this is the first near Earth Asteroid to show the characteristics of the moon, it’s unclear whether this space stone is an abnormal phenomenon, Or whether there are other lunar debris lurking in the solar system waiting to be discovered