Constantly, an object can be observed by telescopes in the orbit of planet Earth, remaining for a short period of time before being thrown into space. Recently, astronomers have spotted one of these objects, known as mini-moons, on an approach path that is likely to be captured by Earth’s gravity. The object should arrive in October 2020 and will remain until May 2021, when he will leave for other places.
Astronomers who identified the object observed that its orbit is similar to that of Earth and has a low speed, suggesting the object is not an asteroid, but rather space junk that was dropped from a rocket that went to the moon in 1966.
According to the Argentine newspaper Clarion, the estimated size of the object is up to 14 meters in length and he must make two turns close to the earthhowever, in none of these loops will the object be close enough to enter the Earth’s atmosphere or be seen with the naked eye.
According Romário Fernandes, professor of Astronomy at the Military College of the Fire Brigade (CMCB), if the object is a space asteroid, it can be considered as a moon due to the few criteria necessary for the recognition of the satellite. “It would be classified as a moon due to the absolute lack of rigor in classifying objects as moons. Any rocky, natural object that orbits a planet and can be detected is classified as a moon, the criterion is very loose, so that is why we have Jupiter with 79 moons and Saturn with 82 ”, explains the professor.
If the object is space junk that has been orbiting in space for 54 years, it can no longer be characterized as a mini moon, as the scientists at Science Alert point out. Because of the trajectory, the professionals suspect that it is a propeller of a spaceship. “This object is very slow and seems to orbit just like the earth, on the same plane, in the same direction, this is all very suggestive of being an object that is not natural, that has been placed in orbit by human beings”, explains Fernandes .
As the researcher explains, the object, if it is space junk, must return to Earth’s orbit because when launched into space it did not obtain enough strength to disconnect itself from Earth’s gravitational force. “He reached a speed to get out of the atmosphere, but not enough to leave, to gain autonomy, he remains attached to the earth”.
If it reaches the expected distance of 50 thousand kilometers from Earth, it can be observed, in a place away from the city, with the help of a telescope with a minimum aperture of 150mm. Regarding the danger that the object could offer to terrestrials, Fernandes explains that the possible mini moon must be harmless. “The object is not dangerous, there is no indication that it will hit the earth, whether artificial or not”, He concludes.