New observations indicate that the spacecraft tracking Earth’s orbit just 9 miles (14.5km) away from the planet is a Piece Of The Moon. Astronomers say the fragment was probably thrown into space after a collision with the ancient moon. The asteroid Kamo’oalewa is about the size of a ferris wheel. But much smaller than a faint star visible to the naked eye. The asteroid was discovered in 2016 but not much was known about it until now. Astronomers needed the most powerful telescope to observe it in detail.
Semi-satellites such as Kamo’oalewa travel around the Sun in a similar orbit with the planet. Earth has five of them, including Kamo’oalewa. At the University of Arizona, Benjamin Sharkey and Vishnu Reddy led a team to investigate the spectrum of light reflected from Kamo‘oalewa. Which is using a giant binocular telescope on Mount Graham in the US. They miss the opportunity in April 2020 because the telescope was shut down during the epidemic. But they succeeded this year.
They found that the spectrum of reflected light matched the lunar rocks of NASA’s Apollo mission. This indicates that the asteroid originated from the moon. Researchers have published their findings in the journal Nature Communications Earth and Environment.
“This spring, we got the much-needed follow-up observations and went, ‘Wow, that’s real,'” Ben Sharkey, a PhD student at the University of Arizona and lead author of the paper, told The Guardian.
Researchers aren’t sure what threw the asteroid into space. But they say the violent event may have occurred between 500 and 100,000 years ago. “Although not 100 percent conclusive, the team has made a strong case that Kamo’oalewa could indeed be a piece of the collision from such a violent event,”. Professor Stephen Lowry, a professor of astronomy at the University of Kent, told the publication. Scientists say that a piece of the moon revolves around the sun with the earth just miles away from Earth.