Astronomers have discovered a lunar accelerator from the 60s. He's heading towards Earth

Astronomers using the Panoramic Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) at Hawaiian

islands, noticed an object that went toEarth's orbit this fall. Designated this object as 2020 SO, scientists now assume that it is the accelerator of the Surveyor 2 mission, which fell on the moon in 1966.

“We suspect that the old launch vehiclebecause it moves in an orbit around the Sun, which is very similar to Earth's. At the same time, in the same plane, and only a little further from the Sun at its most distant point, "- said Paul Chodas, director of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Objects.

“It is into such an orbit that the separatedfrom the lunar flight, the rocket stage as soon as it passes by the moon and enters orbit around the sun. It is unlikely that the asteroid could have been in this orbit, ”he added.

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A similar event happened in 2002, but withthe upper stage of Saturn V from the Apollo 12 mission. However, in this case, the object's orbit is similar to that of the Earth, and the period of rotation around the Sun is slightly more than one Earth year. Its orbital deviation from the ideal circle is only slightly greater than that of the Earth, and its speed is much lower than that of an ordinary asteroid.

Scientists noted that the movement of such debris inouter space can be unpredictable, since they are affected by several factors at once. It is specified that 2020 SO on December 1, 2020 will pass at a distance of about 50 thousand kilometers from the Earth, and on about February 2, 2021 it will fly at an altitude of 220 thousand kilometers. At this time, it will be possible to study it in more detail.

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