For decades to come, a “mini moon” will accompany Earth: we no longer have just the Moon. Its name is 2022 NX1 and was discovered thanks to amateur astronomers in Africa.
The bad news is that it will end up crashing into our planet. At least it won’t do a lot of damage, due to its size.
measure only between 5 and 15 meters in diameter.
The possible origin of asteroid 2022 NX1
the asteroid 2022 NX1 It was discovered in July 2022 by a group of astronomers from the Hakos Mountains Observatory in Namibia.
There are two hypotheses about its origin, according to the International Astronomical Union.
“Its orbit similar to that of Earth and its orbital evolution suggest that it could be of artificial origin, launched from our planet decades ago, or a lunar fragment,” the agency said. in their Minor Planet Electronic Circulars.
2022 NX1 follows a horseshoe trajectory, and will approach Earth in 2051. The most outstanding thing is that it would hit our planet from 2075, we repeat, without serious consequences due to its size.
What material is the “minimoon” that will crash into Earth made of?
With the Gran Telescopio Canarias, on the island of La Palma, Spanish territory, astronomers from the Complutense University of Madrid and the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands they observed it too, in August of that year.
The group of Spaniards, led by Raúl de la Fuente Marcos, published a study on 2022 NX1 in the specialized journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. Its titled Minimoons from horseshoes: a physical characterization of 2022 NX1 with OSIRIS on the 10.4-m Gran Telescopio Canarias.
Research indicates that it is an asteroid with surface characteristics incompatible with material of lunar origin.
it would be so of a material of rocky origin as one with a higher metal content, according to the reflected radiation (albedo) deduced from its spectrum.
More differences with the Moon
De la Fuente spoke with SINC agency: “2022 NX1 follows a coorbital movement with our planet; that is, they complete an orbit around the Sun together in 365 days, traveling at the same speed. But in general, it does not revolve around our planet like the Moon, rather, it moves in a horseshoe trajectory.”
“For a few weeks, the gravitational energy with respect to the Earth takes a negative value when approaching it, with a very low speed in astronomical terms (of the order of 1 km/s or 3,600 km/h), temporarily becoming its satellite.” emphasizes the astronomer.
We have to wait until the 2050s for it to be closer to our planet, and until the one of 2070 so that it crashes against him.