", "Some more data would be useful so we can know for sure," she said in an email. Copyright © 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All rights reserved. Despite the apparent proximity to Earth, the spacecraft will spend five years cruising around the solar system before observing yet another asteroid en route to 1998 KY26, at which point mission control will decide whether a landing is feasible or not. While this object is likely artificial, Chodas and others are skeptical of the connection. A Nasa spacecraft has successfully landed on an asteroid, dodging boulders the size of buildings, in order to collect a handful of cosmic rubble for … Live Updates: U.S. reports more than 60,000 new COVID-19 cases, Senate Democrats block slimmed-down GOP coronavirus bill, Pope endorses same-sex civil unions for first time as pontiff, OxyContin maker to plead guilty to 3 criminal charges, Watch live: Obama holds first in-person campaign event in Philadelphia, Trump walks out of "60 Minutes" interview, Massachusetts governor outlines Halloween precautions, Threatening emails sent to Florida voters linked to overseas servers, Hundreds of parents separated from kids at border "unreachable", Battleground Tracker: Latest polls, state of the race and more, 5 things to know about CBS News' 2020 Battleground Tracker, CBS News coverage of voting rights issues. Chodas doubts the object will slam into Earth — "at least not this time around. Meanwhile, Japan's Hayabusa 2 asteroid hunter, which successfully landed on and 'shot' the asteroid Ryugu with a specialized bullet in order to obtain samples for analysis back on Earth, is set to extend its mission and touch down on another space rock. Before anyone can breathe a sigh of relief, however, three more Near-Earth Objects are expected to fly past on September 22. The contents of this site are ©2020 Capitol Hill Publishing Corp., a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc. The object is also in the same plane as Earth, not tilted above or below, another red flag.

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As the object gets closer, astronomers should be able to better chart its orbit and determine how much it's pushed around by the radiation and thermal effects of sunlight. Lastly, it's approaching Earth at 1,500 mph, slow by asteroid standards. Share this story! He predicts the object will spend about four months circling Earth once it's captured in mid-November, before shooting back out into its own orbit around the sun next March. ", First published on October 12, 2020 / 7:11 AM. He acknowledges the evidence was circumstantial, given the object's chaotic one-year orbit around Earth. I'm excited to see how this develops! The celestial object was first discovered at the Palomar Observatory in California in 2018. "I could be wrong on this. The lander ended up crashing into the moon after one of its thrusters failed to ignite on the way there.

Convair/General Dynamics Astronautics Atlas Negative Collection/San Diego Air and Space Museum via AP, Orionids, one of the best meteor showers, peaks tonight, NASA asteroid mission declares "touchdown", NASA spacecraft trying to bring asteroid sample back to Earth, SpaceX launches another 60 Starlink satellites, Star dies by "spaghettification" as it's consumed by black hole. October 12, 2020 / 7:11 AM "I'm pretty jazzed about this," Paul Chodas told The Associated Press. "But it's the first time, in my view, that all the pieces fit together with an actual known launch.".

I don't want to appear overly confident," Chodas said. Asteroids usually zip by at odd angles. Not long after, the paltry-by-comparison 2020 SM2, measuring just 5.8m in diameter, or four Danny DeVitos stacked on top of one another, will zoom past Earth, just 1.2 million km away. © Autonomous Nonprofit Organization “TV-Novosti”, 2005–2020. The object promptly was added to the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center's tally of asteroids and comets found in our solar system, just 5,000 shy of the 1 million mark. Scientists labeled the asteroid 2018VP1, and data reveals its diameter is 0.002 kilometers, or about 6.5 feet, CNN reported. Chodas told CBS News that it is very rare for an object orbiting the sun to get captured into the Earth's orbit. Chodas speculates that asteroid 2020 SO, as it is formally known, is actually the Centaur upper rocket stage that successfully propelled NASA's Surveyor 2 lander to the moon in 1966 before it was discarded. The Associated Press contributed to this report. "Asteroid hunters from around the world will continue to watch this object to get that data. NASA data revealed there are three potential impacts, but based on 21 observations over the course of 12.968 days, it determined the chance of impact is 0.41 percent. Read RT Privacy policy to find out more. A telescope in Hawaii last month discovered the mystery object heading our way while doing a search intended to protect our planet from doomsday rocks. NASA Asteroid Watch tweeted Sunday. But it was too dim to see from 5 million miles away, he said. Battleground Tracker: Biden leads in Wisconsin, has edge in Arizona, A behind-the-scenes look at how mail-in ballots are processed. This website uses cookies. "Flag number one," said Chodas, who is director of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. In yet another cosmic barrage of boulders and debris, NASA is warning of at least five close asteroid flybys this week, just days after Japan’s space agency announced it would be extending its asteroid-hunter mission. The rocket, meanwhile, swept past the moon and into orbit around the sun as intended junk, never to be seen again — until perhaps now. How do I vote in my state in the 2020 election? That's how astronomers normally differentiate between asteroids and space junk like abandoned rocket parts, since both appear merely as moving dots in the sky. What happens if the president doesn't accept the election results? Last year, a British amateur astronomer, Nick Howes, announced that an asteroid in solar orbit was likely the abandoned lunar module from NASA's Apollo 10, a rehearsal for the Apollo 11 moon landing. She's the author of the 2017 book "Asteroid Hunters. The space rock will pass Earth on Nov. 2, on the the eve of Election Day in the United States. In yet another cosmic barrage of boulders and debris, NASA is warning of at least five close asteroid flybys this week, just days after Japan’s space agency announced it would be extending its asteroid-hunter mission. Election Day could turn into "Election Week" with rise in mail ballots, Expert warns of danger posed by asteroids. Instead of a cosmic rock, the newly discovered object appears to be an old rocket from a failed moon-landing mission 54 years ago that's finally making its way back home, according to NASA's leading asteroid expert. The initial sample is due to return to Earth this December, with a planned landing in Australia. Bringing up the rear will be the 27-meter 2020 RB6, traveling at a staggering 71,000 kph, set to pass our planet at a ‘close approach’ distance of 2.5 million km. With more mail-in ballots, officials urge patience on election night, Americans and the right to vote: Why it's not easy for everyone, Why some mail-in ballots are rejected and how to make sure your vote counts. What caught Chodas' attention is that its near-circular orbit around the sun is quite similar to Earth's — unusual for an asteroid. To kick things off, on September 21 the 10-meter and 16-meter 2020 RQ6 and 2020 SJ2 will shoot past the Earth at distances of 1.2 and 1.4 million kilometers respectively. 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Observations should help nail its identity. ", The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics' Jonathan McDowell noted there have been "many, many embarrassing incidents of objects in deep orbit ... getting provisional asteroid designations for a few days before it was realized they were artificial.". A mystery object in 1991, for example, was determined by Chodas and others to be a regular asteroid rather than debris, even though its orbit around the sun resembled Earth's. "It's been a hobby of mine to find one of these and draw such a link, and I've been doing it for decades now.". "It has happened a couple times before for natural objects, that we know of, and only once before for an old rocket stage.".

And he's happy to note that it's a mission that he followed in 1966, as a teenager in Canada. / CBS/AP. However, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) confirmed at a press briefing late last week that the mission would be extended and that, after a flying visit to drop off the sample, the probe would be headed for the tennis-court-sized 1998 KY26 asteroid, located between Venus and Mars. What is ballot harvesting — and should you hand your ballot to a stranger? Be in the know. If it's an old Centaur — essentially a light empty can — it will move differently than a heavy space rock less susceptible to outside forces. NASA reached back to The Hill, confirming the asteroid expected to pass Earth later this year poses no threat to Earth. Will coronavirus challenge the work-from-home debate? The jig may be up for an "asteroid" that's expected to get nabbed by Earth's gravity and become a mini moon next month. It never was designated as an asteroid, and left Earth's orbit in 2003. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. "NASA has been directed by Congress to discover 90% of the near-Earth asteroids larger than 140 meters (459 feet) in size and reports on asteroids of any size. A gigantic asteroid almost as large as Mount Everest is zooming toward Earth next month, but NASA says not to worry -- it's not expected to collide with our planet. At 50m in diameter, or as tall as the Arc de Triomphe, the largest of the three, named 2020 RD5, will pass the Earth at 61,000 kph at a mercifully safe distance of four million kilometers. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/asteroid-earth-orbit-1966-rocket-nasa-expert

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