DailyDirt: That's No Moon, And It's Not A Space Station, Either
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
The Earth’s moon is the most well-known planetary satellite because we see it almost every night. But the Earth has a few more natural satellites that aren’t technically moons. There are a bunch of near-Earth objects (NEOs) that are in resonance with the Earth around the Sun. Several quasi-satellites and trojans dance around our planet in space — and these objects could be potential landing sites for probes someday (or for asteroid mining operations). They’re just not moons (or dwarf moons or whatever you want to nickname them), but maybe they’ll be space stations.
- The Earth has natural satellites other than the moon — such as 3753 Cruithne. This quasi-orbital satellite has a “horseshoe” orbit that orbits the Sun in about a year, but takes 800 years to complete its messy trajectory around the Earth. [url]
- 3753 Cruithne can’t be seen with the naked eye because it’s too small and distant. You’ll need at least a 12.5″ telescope to see it, and even more powerful telescopes to see some of Earth’s other natural satellites like 2010 TK7, 2006 RH120 (well, not anymore) and J002E3 (which might not be a natural satellite, but debris from Apollo 12). [url]
- The first known Earth Trojan asteroid is named 2010 TK7. It has an orbit around a Lagrange point (the Sun-Earth L4 Lagrangian point), and it never gets closer to us than 12.4 million miles. [url]
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