What happens if the president doesn't accept the election results? "The object has to have a very special orbit around the sun for such a capture to occur," he said. "I'm pretty jazzed about this," Paul Chodas told The Associated Press. Then the Surveyor 2 crashed on the moon's surveyor, scientists attached a scoop to an extendable arm starting in the Surveyor 3, so they can further investigate the lunar surface' hardness and texture. The Centaur successfully launched the lander to … He acknowledges the evidence was circumstantial, given the object's chaotic one-year orbit around Earth. The object is also in the same plane as Earth, not tilted above or below, another red flag. The lander ended up crashing into the moon after one of its thrusters failed to ignite on the way there. Chodas speculates that asteroid 2020 SO, as it is formally known, is actually the Centaur upper rocket stage that successfully propelled NASA's Surveyor 2 lander to the moon in 1966 before it was discarded. that's expected to get nabbed by Earth's gravity and become a mini moon next month. Finally, the mystery of the object that was racing back to the Earth at 1,500mph in September has been resolved. Skepticism is good, Howes wrote in an email. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Read also: Armstrong on the Moon Congratulates SpaceX's Starman Launch. And he's happy to note that it's a mission that he followed in 1966, as a teenager in Canada. But it was too dim to see from 5 million miles away, he said. ⓒ 2018 TECHTIMES.com All rights reserved. Read also: Amazing Photo and Video Shows NASA Rocket Flying in Front of the Moon. The object is estimated to be roughly 26 feet based on its brightness. 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A NASA official has suggested it may be a discarded part of a rocket which launched experimental payload, Surveyor 2, to study the moon in September 1966. Surveyor was the first of its kind program that was hurried to return the lunar data before the first manned mission of Apollo landings were scheduled in 1968 or 1969. By clicking on 'Submit' button above, you confirm that you accept Tech Times Terms & Conditions. Instead of a cosmic rock, the newly discovered object appears to be an old rocket from a failed moon-landing mission 54 years ago that's finally making its way back home, according to. The mission team has thought they would never get a glimpse of the Centaur rocket again. Your web browser is no longer supported. However, Chodas believes this is the first time "that all the pieces fit together with an actual known launch." This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. A telescope in Hawaii last month discovered the mystery object heading our way while doing a search intended to protect our planet from doomsday rocks. The latest object's route is direct and much more stable, bolstering his theory. Chodas speculates that asteroid 2020 SO, as it is formally known, is actually the Centaur upper rocket stage that successfully propelled NASA's Surveyor 2 lander to the moon in 1966 before it was discarded. How do I vote in my state in the 2020 election? That's in the ballpark of the old Centaur, which would be less than 10 metres long including its engine nozzle and 3 metres in diameter. The Surveyor 2 mission NASA launched an attempt to land in the Moon in 1966. The Centaur rocket stage from the Surveyor 2 mission is less than 32 feet long and 10 feet in diameter. "Asteroid hunters from around the world will continue to watch this object to get that data. Later that year until 1967, Lunar Orbiter, a U.S. mapping spacecraft also took images of the moon from orbit. Planet the size of Jupiter found orbiting a dead white dwarf star. In the early 1960s, the U.S. flew a series of probes called Ranger, although its first success was in 1964 with Ranger 7, which returned 4,300 images during the final 17 minutes of flight. Chodas' latest target of interest was passed by Earth in their respective laps around the sun in 1984 and 2002. "Flag number one," said Chodas, who is director of the Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies at. The trajectory it is following means 2020 SO is likely to be captured by Earth's gravity in October, and will continue to orbit the planet until around May 2021. He predicts the object will spend about four months circling Earth once it's captured in mid-November, before shooting back out into its own orbit around the sun next March. In 1966, a moon landing was attempted by NASA. After six months of Surveyor 1's moon mission, it returned 11,240 images, which allowed for the creation of numerous wide panoramas as well as the examination of tiny details. Lastly, it's approaching Earth at 2400 kph, slow by asteroid standards. Chodas assumes it will continue circling in the Earth's orbit for four months starting mid-November, then shoot out into its journey around the sun in March 2021. This September 20, 1966 photo provided by the San Diego Air and Space Museum shows an Atlas Centaur 7 rocket on the launchpad at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The mystery flying object was initially thought to be an asteroid, which was even called 'asteroid 2020 SO. leading asteroid expert. There likely are dozens of fake asteroids out there, but their motions are too imprecise or jumbled to confirm their artificial identity, said Chodas. / CBS/AP. It never was designated as an asteroid, and left Earth's orbit in 2003. Chodas predicts the object will spend about four months circling Earth once it's captured in mid-November, before shooting back out into its own orbit around the sun next March. © 2020 TechTimes Inc. All rights reserved. The rocket, meanwhile, swept past the moon and into orbit around the sun as intended junk, never to be seen again — until perhaps now. "Flag number one," said Chodas, who is director of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. Chodas doubts the object will slam into Earth — "at least not this time around. Even more exciting, Chodas in 2002 found what he believes was the leftover Saturn V third stage from 1969′s Apollo 12, the second moon landing by NASA astronauts. "I could be wrong on this. That's how astronomers normally differentiate between asteroids and space junk like abandoned rocket parts, since both appear merely as moving dots in the sky. "But it's the first time, in my view, that all the pieces fit together with an actual known launch.". While he noted that he does not want to be too confident about his assumption as he also "could be wrong on this.". I don't want to appear overly confident," Chodas said. The jig may be up for an "asteroid" that's expected to get nabbed by Earth's gravity and become a mini moon next month. After launching off the payload, the rocket flew past the Moon and continued to orbit around the Sun while the Surveyor 2 crashed into the Moon since one of its thrusters did not ignite. "I'm pretty jazzed about this," Chodas who works at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California said as Daily Mail reported. Asteroids usually zip by at odd angles. 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