Scientists have discovered the secret of the asteroid Kamoalev - Earth's quasi-satellite

In April 2016, the American Pan-STARRS 1 telescope recorded the movement of an asteroid in spaceKamoaleva. This is the name of a space object with a diameter of about 58 meters, which is considered the best example of a natural quasi-satellite of the Earth today. After the discovery, scientists continued to observe the asteroid - they wanted to know its chemical composition, which would allow us to find out its age and origin. The difficulty was that it was possible to observe this object from the Earth only in April, for several weeks. This also requires a powerful telescope, because the brightness of the asteroid Kamoalev is four million times less than that of the faintest stars. Recently, researchers have finally managed to study the chemical composition of a space object and reveal the secret of its origin.

Most likely, the asteroid Kamoalev comes from the Moon

Pan-STARRS 1 Is an American telescope located at the top of Hawaiian Haleakala. It is designed to detect outbreaks of new stars and search for asteroids dangerous to our planet.

Automatic telescope Pan-STARRS 1


  • 1 What is a quasi-satellite of the Earth?
  • 2 Features of the asteroid Kamoalev
  • 3 The origin of the asteroid Kamoalev
  • 4 Mission of the Chinese Zhenghe apparatus

What is a quasi-satellite of the Earth?

A quasi-satellite is a small space objectwhich is in orbital resonance 1: 1 with the planet and remains nearby for some time. In simple terms, this is any celestial body that has been temporarily captured by the gravity of a planet (in this case, the Earth). Over time, its attraction releases and it stops circling around a larger object - it is precisely because of their inconstancy that these satellites are labeled "quasi".

Approximate trajectory of movement of any quasi-satellite

Features of the asteroid Kamoalev

Mysterious asteroid began to accompany the Earthabout 100 years ago. At first, scientists assumed that he would be next to us for several centuries. But then the calculations were found to be erroneous. The new version says that this celestial object will remain a quasi-satellite of the Earth for millions of years or even more.

Large binocular telescope

Read also: The James Webb Telescope is ready to be sent to the spaceport. When is the launch?

The origin of the asteroid Kamoalev

The collected data has recently been reviewed andthe researchers were able to talk about their discovery. It turned out that the chemical composition of the asteroid Kamoalev is the same as that of lunar rocks collected in the 1970s as part of the Apollo space program. This means that a large fragment of the Moon is a quasi-satellite of our planet. At the moment, the authors of the scientific work cannot say for sure what circumstances led to the formation of a space object. One of the versions says that the asteroid appeared as a result of another space object falling to the moon.

Asteroid Kamoalev most likely has a lunar origin

Scientists intend to continue to monitor spaceobject and check other, more exotic versions of the origin of the asteroid. But there is no particular doubt that he was once part of the moon - this may well explain why he was so close to our planet.

See also: A Dragonfly helicopter will be sent to Saturn's moon. What will he do?

Mission of the Chinese Zhenghe apparatus

Around 2024, Chinese scientists wantsend the Zhenghe spacecraft to the Kamoalev asteroid. It is expected that he will be able to fly around the asteroid, land on its surface and take soil samples for subsequent sending to Earth on the return module. After completing this task, the device will go to the asteroid Elst - Pizarro, which was discovered in 1996 and is still poorly understood.

A snapshot of the asteroid Elst - Pizarro, taken in 1996

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Fortunately, the Kamoalev asteroid does not representdanger to the Earth. The same cannot be said about the asteroid Bennu, which reaches 510 meters in diameter. According to the calculations of the researchers, if the trajectory of its flight ever coincides with the location of the Earth, it will fall to the surface at a speed of 12 kilometers per second. The power of the explosion when falling can be about 1150 megatons in TNT equivalent. I talked in more detail about a space object that can destroy humanity in this article.