This is an artist’s concept of Kamo’oalewa, a near-Earth asteroid that, according to a new study, was originally a piece of the moon. Image via Addy Graham/ The University of Arizona.
Did you know that Earth has a tiny quasi-satellite called Kamo’oalewa? It’s a near-Earth asteroid that remains fairly close to Earth in its orbit around the sun. Researchers from the University of Arizona announced on November 11, 2021, that this asteroid may actually be a long-lost piece of the moon.
That is the focus of a new peer-reviewed paper that Communications Earth and Environment (Nature) published on November 11, 2021.
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An unusual near-Earth asteroid
Kamo’oalewa is a near-Earth asteroid, of which there are thousands. Notably, these are asteroids that could potentially pose an impact threat to Earth. They inhabit the inner solar system, and, therefore, are not part of the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
This particular space rock is between 150 and 190 feet in diameter, about the size of an ordinary Ferris wheel, and gets as close as ...