Kamo’oalewa

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    In Context 

    • Recently, scientists have observed a quasi-satellite named Kamo`oalewa, tracking the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, which could be a fragment from the moon.
      • A mission to collect Kamo’oalewa’s samples has been scheduled for a launch in 2025.

    About Kamo`oalewa 

    • Kamo’oalewaa word that is part of a Hawaiian chant, and alludes to an offspring that travels on its own. 
    • It is one of Earth’s quasi-satellites, a category of the asteroid that orbits the Sun, but remains relatively close to the planet – in this case about 9m miles away.
    • It was discovered in 2016  by the PanSTARRS telescope in Hawaii but until now relatively little has been known about it. 
    • Despite being close in astronomical terms, the asteroid is about the size of a Ferris wheel and about 4m times fainter than the faintest star that can be seen with the naked eye.
    • It could have broken away from the Moon due to a possible impact, and gone on to orbit the Sun rather than the Earth-like its parent does.

    Image Courtesy: BBC

    Source: IE