13/11/2020 This photo of 1964 shows a Centaur rocket upstairs previously. Entrenchment in the Atlas Booster A similar Centaur was used when Surveyor 2 was launched two years later. NASA Research and Technology Policy
In 1966, NASA launched the Surveyor mission 2 on the moon. Now, it looks like your boosted Centaur rocket has returned to near Earth space and has been picked up by our planet's gravity.
According to the space agency, this tiny object will remain a temporary satellite for a few months before escaping into solar orbit
This celestial capture and launch story begins with the discovery of an unknown object by the NASA-funded Pan-STARRS1 reconnaissance telescope in Maui in September. Pan-STARRS astronomers observed that this object followed a slight but sharply curved path in the sky., sign of its proximity From earth Apparent curvature is caused by the observer's rotation around the earth's axis as our planet rotates
Assuming it was an asteroid orbiting the sun, the body received a standard grade from the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts: 2020 SO, but scientists from the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (cueÖ) of NASA saw the object's orbit and suspected This is not a normal Rode asterisk
Most asteroid orbits are much more elongated and tilted compared to Earth's orbit, but the orbit of SO 2020 around the Sun was very similar to that of the Earth: it was about the same distance, almost circular, and on an orbital plane almost exactly the same With our planet, which is unusual for a natural asteroid
As astronomers from Pan-STARRS and around the world have made additional observations in the OS 2020, data has also started to reveal how much solar radiation has changed. The SO trajectory 2020, an indication that after all, it might not be an asteroid
The pressure from the sunlight is weak but continuous and has a greater effect on the hollow body than on the solid body The exhausted rocket is essentially an empty tube, and therefore it is a low density object with a large area Therefore, the pressure of solar radiation will drive it more than a mass of high density solid rock, just as the wind can push empty soda more than a small stone.
«Solar radiation pressure is a non-gravitational force produced by photons of light emitted from the sun that collide with a natural or man-made object», said David Varnoquia, mobility engineer at JPL, who analyzed the SO trajectory 2020 for CNEOS. The body has what is called the surface ratio / mass, which is higher for small objects, lightweight and low density
With an analysis of more than 170 detailed measurements of SO position 2020 in the last three months, including observations from the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona and the ESA photovoltaic ground station (European Space Agency) in Tenerife, the impact of the pressure of solar radiation has become Clearly and confirming the low intensity nature of SO 2020, the next step was to determine the source of the allegedly improved missile.
The Surveyor 2 Lunar Lander was launched towards the Moon on 20 September 1966 on an Atlas Centaur rocket The mission was designed to study the lunar surface prior to the Apollo missions which led to the first manned landing on the moon's surface in 1969. Shortly after takeoff, Surveyor 2 separated from the Centaur missile in the upper stage as planned. But control of the spacecraft was lost after a day when one of its engines did not ignite, spinning it. The spaceship crashed on the surface of the moon, south-east of Copernicus crater, the 23 September 1966, while the top stage of the Centaurus rocket passed through the moon and disappeared into an unknown orbit around the sun.
With the suspicion that the OS 2020 was part of an ancient lunar mission, the director of CNEOS, Paul Chodas, “rolled back the clock” and terminated the orbit of the body as was the case in the past, You know that l'OS 2020 had come a little closer to Earth several times over the decades, but the SO approach 2020 at the end of 1966, according to their analysis, was close enough to have originated on Earth
“One of the possible ways to 2020 is therefore to bring the object closer to the Earth and the Moon at the end of September 1966”, said Chodas. «It was like the Eureka time when a quick review of the lunar mission launch dates showed a match for the Surveyor 2 mission»
Now, in 2020, the Centaurs appear to have returned to Earth for a short visit on 8 November 2020, therefore slowly drifting in the earth's gravitational field, an area called Hill Sphere which stretches for about 1A 5 million kilometers of our planet This is where the OS 2020 will remain four months before returning to a new orbit around the Sun in March 2021
Before leaving, l’OS 2020 will make two wonderful tours around our planet, with its closest approach on December 1. Meanwhile, astronomers will take a closer look at its composition using spectroscopy to confirm whether the OS 2020 is indeed an early artefact. Space age
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Rocket, Terre, Moon, NASA, Asteroid, Surveyor 2
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