Huge Astronomical Discovery

( – Scientists and astronomers have made a huge discovery, as they spotted a nearby asteroid known as Kamo’oalewa orbiting Earth as a “minimoon,” and they now believe they have a clue as to its origin.

According to a study published in the journal Nature Astronomy, asteroid 469219 Kamo’oalewa may have been flung into space as a fragment of our own larger moon, forming the Giordano Bruno crater.

They found that the impact that formed Giordano Bruno could have created as many as three still-extant Kamo’oalewa-like objects and they concluded that this makes the Giordano Bruno crater the most likely source of the asteroid.

“It’s like finding out which tree a fallen leaf on the ground came from in a vast forest,” study co-author Bin Cheng wrote on X.

Likewise, the study researchers reported that Kamo’oalewa’s light reflectance matched that of weathered lunar rock, and its size, age, and spin all match up with the 13.6-mile-wide (22 km) crater on the far side of the moon.

Cheng noted, “The possibility of a lunar-derived origin adds unexpected intrigue to sample return.”

In addition, the Tianwen-2 mission aims to launch around 2025 and return samples from Kamo’oalewa after about two and a half years.

Researchers discovered the asteroid in 2016 at Haleakala Observatory in Hawaii. It has a diameter of about 100 to 200 feet (approximately 30 to 60 meters, or about the size of a large Ferris wheel) and spins at a rapid clip of one rotation every 28 minutes.

Surprisingly, the asteroid orbits the sun in a similar path to Earth, sometimes approaching within 10 million miles (16 million km).

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