A Minimoon is soon expected to enter the Earth’s orbit in October 2020. However, unlike the previous minimoons, this one is quite different.
A lot of foreign objects tend to get stuck in the Earth’s gravitational field time and again. After this, the objects revolve around the Earth. So far, the Moon has been the only satellite. But due to such phenomena, Earth will soon be having a ‘Minimoon’.
Minimoons in reality are temporary and won’t be seen for a long time. They generally last for a few months or a few years before escaping Earth’s gravity and travelling far into the Universe’s emptiness. However, scientists are overwhelmed as they will get to witness the rarely seen moment of a foreign object turning into a ‘minimoon’. Usually, minimoons are caused by asteroids entering the Earth’s gravity field. In the past, there have been attempts to detect these temporary moons. So far they were usually asteroids like the 2006 and 2007 asteroid labelled as 2006 RH120. And the recent, 2020 CD3 which was in Earth’s orbit from 2018 to 2020.
Astronomers have now noted another foreign objected entering the Earth’s Gravitational Field. The minimoon has been named as 2020 SO, in an incoming trajectory towards the Earth. It is expected to enter in October 2020 2020 SO will fall into orbit this fall, make its closest approach to Earth on December 1 and February 3, and leave the field around May 2021. However, this time it isn’t an asteroid. According to astronomers this object follows an Earth-like orbit and has low velocity compared to asteroids. It is expected that the minimoon is nothing but a portion of space junk already crowding over the Earth.
So far, 2020 SO has been classified as an Apollo asteroid in the JPL Small Body Database. “That is, a class of asteroids whose paths cross Earth’s orbit. This class of asteroid often has near-Earth encounters.” (sic.) (Source and quoted from: ScienceAlert)
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However, it is rather a mere piece of Vintage space junk potentially from the 1960s
Paul Chodas, the head of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies in California asserted: “I suspect this newly discovered object 2020 SO to be an old rocket booster because it is following an orbit about the sun that is extremely similar to Earth’s, nearly circular, in the same plane, and only slightly farther away from the sun at its farthest point.”
In other words, the object is a vintage rocket booster. This potentially eliminates its validation as a minimoon. Space Junk is of not as valuable as an asteroid. So even when we may have a minimoon around us, it is nothing but space junk which crowding over the Earth’s lower orbit which should be of dire concern. (Source: Space.com)