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Mystery Mini Moons: How Many Does Earth Have?
discovery ^ | Feb 7, 2013 11:50 AM ET | // by Irene Klotz

Posted on 02/10/2013 2:09:02 PM PST by BenLurkin

Earth's gravity may not have the gravitas of Jupiter, but the planet regularly plucks small asteroids passing by and pins them into orbit. The mini-moons don't stay for long. Within a year or so they resume their looping, twisting paths like crazy straws around the sun. But others arrive to take their place.

Simulations show that two asteroids the size of dishwashers and a dozen half-meter (1.6 feet) in diameter are orbiting Earth at any given time. Every 50 years or so something the size of a dump truck arrives. So far, there's been just one confirmed sighting.

...

A paper published last year showed that, in theory, a cloud of temporarily captured asteroids circles Earth at all times, but that the largest object is just about a meter (3 feet) in diameter.

"These are really difficult to detect with current technology," said astronomer Paul Chodas, with NASA's Near Earth Object program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

So far, the only confirmed captured asteroid that orbited Earth was RH120, which most recently visited from September 2006 to June 2007. Initially, the object was suspected of being a spent upper-stage motor from an Apollo rocket, but follow-up observations by ground-based radars determined the object was not metallic.

"There is great interest in tracking these Temporarily Captured Objects (TCOs), because for a short time they are easily accessible for both scientific study and, possibly, eventually, resource utilization," Chodas wrote in an email to Discovery News.

In addition to being small, mini-moons are difficult to find because they only hang around for a relatively short time, between six and 18 months.

(Excerpt) Read more at news.discovery.com ...


TOPICS: Science
KEYWORDS: 2006rh120; asteroids; astronomy; catastrophism; cruithne; louisafrank; neo; neos; rh120; toutatis; xplanets

1 posted on 02/10/2013 2:09:10 PM PST by BenLurkin
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To: BenLurkin
My last count .........

eleventeen.

That was back in 67 ... or was it 8 ... hmmm ... maybe 9.

2 posted on 02/10/2013 2:12:22 PM PST by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: BenLurkin; knarf; KevinDavis

OK.. I can understand capturing them but how do they escape again? It’s not like their speed increases, right?


3 posted on 02/10/2013 2:13:45 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: knarf

There should be a way to send up a spacecraft to gobble one up and return it to Earth so we can study a bigger space rock.


4 posted on 02/10/2013 2:16:30 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: GeronL

Global Warming.


5 posted on 02/10/2013 2:19:13 PM PST by Tea Party Terrorist (Those who work for a living are now outnumbered by those who vote for a living.)
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To: GeronL

Let’s imagine the first eleven passes aren’t near the gravitational influence of the moon but number twelve is — bingo.


6 posted on 02/10/2013 2:20:07 PM PST by KC Burke (Plain Conservative opinions and common sense correction for thirteen years. RSC)
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To: KC Burke

okay, that makes sense now


7 posted on 02/10/2013 2:21:26 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: BenLurkin
two asteroids the size of dishwashers

Are they the size of an undocumented dishwasher or a mechanical commercial dishwaster?

8 posted on 02/10/2013 2:23:16 PM PST by razorback-bert (I'm in shape. Round is a shape isn't it?)
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To: KC Burke; GeronL

I was wondering the same thing.

Thanks to you both for asking and answering.


9 posted on 02/10/2013 2:26:08 PM PST by chrisser (Senseless legislation does nothing to solve senseless violence.)
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To: BenLurkin

10 posted on 02/10/2013 2:26:08 PM PST by Libloather (The epitome of civility.)
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To: BenLurkin

We need to permanently park one the size of an aircraft carrier in orbit so we can start burrowing in for a real space station.


11 posted on 02/10/2013 2:27:12 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: GeronL

OK.. I can understand capturing them but how do they escape again? It’s not like their speed increases, right?

Slingshot effect, that is how the Explorers and Viking sat. was sent out of the solar system


12 posted on 02/10/2013 2:28:10 PM PST by munin
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To: munin

thanks


13 posted on 02/10/2013 2:31:22 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: cripplecreek

We need to permanently park one the size of an aircraft carrier in orbit so we can start burrowing in for a real space station.

How about burrowing into the Moon, it is in stable orbit and only about 200000miles from us


14 posted on 02/10/2013 2:32:30 PM PST by munin
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To: GeronL

Here’s a cool little orbital/gravity simulator that might help visualize who it might happen.

http://www.nowykurier.com/toys/gravity/gravity.html


15 posted on 02/10/2013 2:42:46 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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Freepers, your Contributions make every difference!
Please keep ‘em coming! Thank you all very much!

16 posted on 02/10/2013 2:48:03 PM PST by RedMDer (Support Free Republic)
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To: BenLurkin

This is one possibility of asteroid mining. An orbiting space station designed to capture and harvest these temporary moons at first, then if it works, capturing near Earth asteroids and even comets.

Granted, asteroid composition varies tremendously, for example 433 Eros, which is about the size of Manhattan, is believed to have more highly valuable platinum group metals than exist in all of Earth’s crust.


17 posted on 02/10/2013 2:54:55 PM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy (Best WoT news at rantburg.com)
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To: munin

There are definite advantages to a lunar base but I’m personally thinking in a different direction.

I’m thinking more in the long term for deep space travel where bigger is better and asteroids are a ready made base for the large ships and crews needed.

However learning to do it on the moon would be the right first step. The more people you can put in a lunar base or space ship the better. More people means more skill sets and less need of cross training. Instead of 4 or 5 people intimately familiar with every system, 100 people with familiarity with different sets of systems means sending less phDs and more plumbers.


18 posted on 02/10/2013 2:59:56 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: cripplecreek

Thanks, crip.

Now I’ll never get the firewood finished. ;)


19 posted on 02/10/2013 3:02:29 PM PST by SnuffaBolshevik (In a tornado, even turkeys can fly.)
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To: chrisser

Also Venus ~ but less frequent events and with larger bodies. They more or less share Earth’s orbit or a while and then Venus’ orbit.


20 posted on 02/10/2013 3:02:48 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

I was reading that the earth’s crust contains something like 17% iron while many asteroids are believed to consist of 70% or more iron.

Its not a terribly expensive metal on earth but lifting it to orbit is extremely expensive.


21 posted on 02/10/2013 3:10:13 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: Libloather

I miss him.


22 posted on 02/10/2013 3:35:43 PM PST by upchuck (America's at an awkward stage. Too late to work within the system, too early to shoot the bastards.)
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To: Libloather

23 posted on 02/10/2013 4:11:50 PM PST by SIDENET (I've drawn my line in the sand.)
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To: GeronL
Their orbits may be perturbed by other bodies in the solar system, or else they may simply collide with other objects.
Here is a page that explains the LaGrange, or libration points in a little more detail than this article provides. It may make things a little clearer.
24 posted on 02/10/2013 6:12:36 PM PST by jmcenanly ("The more corrupt the state, the more laws." Tacitus, Publius Cornelius)
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To: 75thOVI; agrace; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aragorn; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; ...

Thanks BenLurkin.


25 posted on 02/10/2013 6:27:21 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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To: KevinDavis; annie laurie; Knitting A Conundrum; Viking2002; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Mmogamer; ...

Thanks BenLurkin.
 
X-Planets
· join · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post new topic · subscribe ·
Google news searches: exoplanet · exosolar · extrasolar ·

26 posted on 02/10/2013 6:29:36 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/toutatis/index


27 posted on 02/10/2013 6:34:57 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/cruithne/index


28 posted on 02/10/2013 6:57:01 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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To: cripplecreek
*laugh!* I love that! "Size of Particle: Tiny, Medium, Large, OMFG"

Got to go find a kerchief to wipe the screen now...

29 posted on 02/10/2013 6:57:09 PM PST by Utilizer (What does not kill you... -can sometimes damage you QUITE severely.)
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To: Utilizer

You can add zeroes to OMFG but its kinda pointless because you particles are sucked into the star or flung off the screen so fast you miss them if you blink.


30 posted on 02/10/2013 6:59:46 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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Small Comets and Our Origins
University of Iowa | circa 1999 | Louis A. Frank
Posted on 10/19/2004 11:13:25 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/bloggers/1250694/posts

Comet’s water ‘like that of Earth’s oceans’
BBC | October 5, 2011 | Jason Palmer
Posted on 10/05/2011 6:41:44 PM PDT by decimon
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2788555/posts

An Argument for the Cometary Origin of the Biosphere
American Scientist | September-October 2001 | Armand H. Delsemme
Posted on 09/06/2004 8:16:38 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/1208497/posts


31 posted on 02/10/2013 8:09:31 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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The Big Splash: A Scientific Discovery That Revolutionizes the Way We View the Origin of Life, the Water We Drink, the Death of the Dinosaurs, the Creation of the Oceans, the Nature of the Cosmos, and the Very Future of the Earth Itself
The Big Splash:
A Scientific Discovery
That Revolutionizes the Way
We View the Origin of Life,
the Water We Drink,
the Death of the Dinosaurs,
the Creation of the Oceans,
the Nature of the Cosmos,
and the Very Future of the Earth Itself

by Louis A. Frank
and Patrick Huyghe


32 posted on 02/10/2013 8:09:44 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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