Fake asteroid? NASA expert IDs mystery object as old rocket
This Sept. 20, 1966 photo provided by the San Diego Air and Space Museum shows an Atlas Centaur 7 rocket on the launchpad at Cape Canaveral, Fla. NASA's leading asteroid expert, Paul Chodas, speculates that asteroid 2020 SO, as it is formally known, is actually a Centaur upper rocket stage that propelled NASA’s Surveyor 2 lander to the moon in 1966 before it was discarded. (Convair/General Dynamics Astronautics Atlas Negative Collection/San Diego Air and Space Museum via AP)
The Associated Press
Posted at 9:40 AM, Oct 11, 2020
and last updated2020-10-11 09:40:23-04
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- What looks like an asteroid may just be an old rocket from a failed moon-landing mission more than 50 years ago.
The newly spotted object is expected to get nabbed by Earth's gravity and become a mini moon next month.
NASA's leading asteroid expert thinks it is the upper rocket stage from a 1966 mission.
Observations as the object draws closer should help nail its identity.
He speculates the object is the Centaur stage from NASA's Surveyor 2 mission, dating back to 1966.
It's expected to shoot back out into its own orbit around the sun next March.
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