A slowly moving object of unknown origin flew very close around our planet yesterday before returning to the solar system.
The strange “mini moon”, officially dubbed 2020 SO, was discovered on September 17th. It has been classified as an asteroid, but scientists still have no idea what it is.
If it is definitely not an asteroid, then what is it? Scientists don’t know.
The diameter of the object is about ten meters, and it flew over our planet at a distance of less than 50 thousand kilometers. This is only 13 percent of the distance to the Moon, which is within reach of our planet’s gravity. This means that the object will return in a few months.
The mystery of the object’s origin is related to how it flies. It moves at a much slower speed than the vast majority of asteroids, which usually travel at speeds between 11 and 72 kilometers per second. 2020 SO is moving at a speed of just 0.6 kilometers per second.
Previously, scientists suggested that it could be a Surveyor rocket accelerator from a rocket launched in 1966 and were waiting for its arrival in order to determine whether it was an accelerator or not.
As a result, the object flew past the Earth, but, apparently, it is not an “accelerator”, so scientists simply summed up – “This is not an asteroid, but we do not know what kind of object it is.”