There are an infinite number of stars, planets and galaxies in space that we do not even realize exist. The same hypothesis applies to Earth’s orbit, which is occupied by many objects that we have not yet explored. Among them is an asteroid that was supposedly “ejected” from the Moon.
Called Kamo’oalewa, it is a semi-satellite, meaning it occupies a very distinct classification: like Earth, it also orbits the Sun, but it has an orbit related to that of our planet and not very far from it.
Discovered in 2016, it is about 40 to 60 meters long and has a largely stable orbit. Interest in Kamualoa has grown since then, to the point that China is investing in a spacecraft mission to land on its surface in 2025.
Searching for explanations for the appearance of Kamualoa
Kamoalewa can be spotted in the sky during a small period of the year, and due to its small size, requires the use of more powerful telescopes to do so. We still don’t know much about this semi-satellite.
In 2021, a study published in the journal Communications Earth and Environment revealed that Kamwalewa’s spectrum was different from asteroids that had already been studied up until then. When searching for matches, scientists linked their appearance to the appearance of rocks on the moon’s surface.
The theory that was formulated was that once the Moon was struck by a meteorite, the asteroid was ejected from its surface. This is not uncommon, since this type of impact causes the Moon to launch parts of objects into space. Many of them even fall back on the Moon itself or turn into meteorites and collide with the Earth.
A new study conducted by researchers at the University of California in the United States, and also published in the aforementioned journal, when analyzing the probability involved in this type of phenomenon, provides a vision of how this happens.
The proposed numerical simulation states that there is a 6.6% chance that this phenomenon will lead to a co-orbital state and a 0.8% chance of becoming a quasi-satellite, which is what happened as well.
Proving that it is a piece of the Moon would not only confirm that its existence in its current form could defy the most remote odds, as it orbits the Sun, but would also provide an opportunity to indicate the age of Kamo Uwalewa.
For Aaron Rosengren, one of the main authors of the article, “elements from this space object could provide us with information about the composition of the Moon and improve our knowledge of near-planet asteroids.”
This is because it is worth noting that the study of quasi-satellites has proven to be very important in mitigating the risk of collisions with the Earth in a scenario where they escape their orbits, which is likely to happen in a certain window of time.
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