Many asteroids close to Earth might be Moon remnants

Many asteroids close to Earth might be Moon remnants


03 November 2023

Over 32,000 near-Earth asteroids pass close to our planet in space. While the exact origins of these asteroids are unknown, astronomers believe at least one came from the Moon. The asteroid Kamo'oalewa is thought to be a Moon fragment that was expelled from the lunar surface millions of years ago after a massive collision.

In 2021, a team from the University of Arizona hypothesized that this asteroid could be a part of the Moon. A new research group has offered more information on the possibilities, including an unusual trajectory that could have led to this tragedy.

Previously, scientists thought that most near-Earth asteroids came from beyond Mars' orbit. However, there is a chance that Kamo'oalewa is a Moon fragment. The difficulty lies in demonstrating that chunks of our lunar satellite may escape Earth's gravity, which is where this new study comes in.

According to the latest research, bits of the Moon may escape Earth's gravity if ejected quickly enough. Given that the Moon has been pockmarked by numerous meteoroids over the last million years. One of these collisions could have resulted in a fragment being thrown off the satellite and subsequently creating the Kamo'oalewa.

The only reason academics have considered Kamo'oalewa as a probable Moon fragment is because of its unusual orbit. While most near-Earth asteroids have orbits that bring them close to Earth, Kamo'oalewa circles the Sun and behaves as a companion to Earth most of the time.

The new study, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Communications Earth & Environment, details how the Kamo'oalewa could have become a near-Earth asteroid after being expelled from the Moon's surface.

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