(ORDO NEWS) — The Earth has acquired a new satellite, however, a temporary one. Recently, experts from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory noted that the spotted object, codenamed 2020 SO, is of artificial origin.
The body is most likely a lunar rocket launched half a century ago. So far, scientists are thinking about the upper stage (second stage) “Centauri”. In 1966, an Atlas rocket launched into space from Cape Canaveral, where the LC-36A takeoff site is located. When the work of the first stage was completed, “Centaurus” together with the probe “Surveyor-2” headed towards the moon. The flight itself turned out to be successful, but the landing of the device was not entirely. The probe did not have enough 130 kilometers to reach the desired landing point. As a result, the orientation was lost – the correcting engine failed.
The equipment flew past the Moon and entered the Sun’s orbit. For a long time, there was no information about the probe, since such bodies are difficult to track. After 54 years, the object approached the globe. It will make two orbits around the planet and then go into solar orbit.
The Centaurus is considered an incredibly long-lived rocket. Work on its design began in 1958, and missions began in 1962. To this day, scientists often resort to using the booster. True, for half a century, it has undergone more than a dozen changes and modifications. The equipment is used for the missions of New Horizons Curiosity.
Scientists are not completely sure which object they encountered, however, in their opinion, it is most likely an element of the Centaur rocket. Experts will continue to monitor the orbit of our planet.
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