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Moon NASA Science

Astronomers Want To Hunt Down Earth's Mini-Moons 44

Posted by samzenpus
from the that's-no-mini-moon dept.
astroengine writes "The Earth has one permanent moon — you know, 'The Moon' — but at any given time there are thought to be two temporary interlopers that were once asteroids, but get captured by our planet's gravity to become mini-moons for a few months or even years. They eventually get flung back out into interplanetary space. This ultimate 'catch and release' provides an interesting opportunity for any future asteroid mission. So now astronomers want to find them, possibly using the newly-minted Hubble-class spy telescopes donated to NASA by the National Reconnaissance Office."
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Astronomers Want To Hunt Down Earth's Mini-Moons

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  • by osu-neko (2604) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @09:25PM (#42827753)

    They left out the part that it's not the Earth alone somehow capturing and releasing these objects, it's the interaction between Earth's gravity and the moon's gravity that can result in a temporary capture.

    And the gravity of the Sun, Jupiter, Mars, and your neighbor's Honda Civic... and that's just the tip of the iceburg. Pick a flower, and you move the furthest star. However, listing everything that plays a role in this (which is, literally, everything) is rather cumbersome, so it's fair to simply list the one object that has the greatest influence and leave out the 10^80 other objects involved.

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.