Many Mini-Moons are Moving Around Earth
Science always brings amazing facts and this time, it is saying that Earth has more than one moon. In fact, a number of asteroids are always there to rotate around the Earth but if you want to stand on them you cannot because they are just a few feet across.
Researchers have used supercomputer simulations of almost 10 million asteroids, which are close to our dearest planet, and found that some of these natural satellites rotate around the Earth for less than a year and then start wandering in the space. However, some of these tiny moons remain in the orbit for decades.
"This was one of the largest and longest computations I’ve ever done," study co-author Jeremie Vaubaillon of the Paris Observatory said in a statement. "If you were to try to do this on your home computer, it would take about six years."
Almost 18000 asteroids were found captured by the Earth’s gravity in the simulation. Researchers have concluded that one of the asteroids of nearly 3 feet (1 meter) is always there to rotate around the Earth. Some of these asteroids take a zig-zag path around the Earth, which is due to the difference in gravitational pulls of the Earth, the moon and the sun.
These tiny moons can be of help to space researchers.
"Minimoons are scientifically extremely interesting," said co-author Robert Jedicke of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. "A minimoon could someday be brought back to Earth, giving us a low-cost way to examine a sample of material that has not changed much since the beginning of our solar system over 4.6 billion years ago."
This study has been published in the journal Icarus.