Mystery asteroid could be lost moon fragment

An asteroid orbiting the sun could be a “lost” fragment of the moon.

The Moon

Astronomers have been at a loss to explain the presence of the object – named Kamo’oalewa – but research has revealed that the range of reflected light it gave off was similar to that of lunar rocks from Nasa’s Apollo missions.

US researcher Ben Sharkey said: “It’s easier to explain with the Moon than other ideas.”

Kamo’oalewa orbits the Sun but stays relatively close to the Earth. Little else is known about the objects as they are about four million times dimmer than the faintest star visible to the human eye in the night sky.

The asteroid, which is roughly the size of a Ferris wheel, was discovered by scientists using the PanSTAARS telescope in Hawaii.

It can only be observed for a few weeks every year due to its orbit as it gets as close as nine million miles from Earth.

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