Kamo’oalewa: the mysterious near satellite that orbits the sun and could be a fragment of the moon

A few years ago, a team of researchers wondered what the origin of the asteroid is. Kamo’oalewa, discovered in 2016. Astronomers know it has a relatively close orbit to Earth, but not much else.

Of the quasi-satellite little is known because they are difficult to study. They are small objects of the solar system that orbits around a star and completes the trajectory at the same time as a planet.

A new investigation has provided new clues to the mysterious origins of the Kamo’oalewa. They think it might be a fragment of us. Moon.

Study published in Nature

According to the study published in Nature, the researchers were able to perform a complete physical characterization of the quasi-satellite, which allowed them to compare it with other groups of near-Earth objects.

“We believe in the possibility of Kamo’oalewa containing lunar material“, indicate in the investigation.

Juan Sánchez, who participated in the investigation, added that: “It could have been ejected due to a collision between the moon and a meteorite. The material was possibly ejected from the Moon’s surface.”

Unlike the Moon, the Kamo’oalewa does not orbit the Earth, but the Sun, on a parallel path. So if our planet disappeared, this rock would follow its current orbit.

How did they arrive at this hypothesis?

While it’s the strongest theory they have so far, researchers say they can’t be completely sure until samples of the object are obtained.

“In simple terms, basically what we did was study how the sunlight is reflected on the surface of this object to try to determine what it’s made of. What we found is that the object is made of silicate minerals”, says Sánchez.

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“And what caught our attention is that this appearance is more similar to the surface of our Moon than the others. asteroids near the Earth that has been studied”, concluded the physicist.


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