Could KamoOalewa Be a Fragment of the Moon? - Seeker's Thoughts

Recent Posts

Seeker's Thoughts

A blog for the curious and the creative.

Could KamoOalewa Be a Fragment of the Moon?

 KamoOalewa (pronounced kam-oh-o-lay-vay) is one of Earth's quasi-satellites - asteroids that orbit close to it for centuries and remain close - drawing interest among astronomers due to its unusual orbit and light spectrum.

They utilized the Large Binocular Telescope and Lowell Discovery telescopes to examine Kamooalewa's spectral signature, suggesting that its composition may include part of the Moon itself.


Astronomers were puzzled when Kamooalewa first appeared in 2021, yet some telltale clues have led them to suspect its lunar origins. For one thing, its pattern of reflected light or spectrum matches up perfectly with lunar rocks collected by NASA's Apollo missions; then there's its orbit, similar to Earth but with an irregular tilt -- something not typical for near-Earth asteroids.

And finally, Kamooalewa oscillates between "high-speed" (HS) and "low-speed" (QS) motion for centuries - leading some scientists to theorize that chunks of moon material may have left Earth-moon system and ended up orbiting Kamooalewa instead of just remaining there as originally anticipated. More research needs to be conducted in order to confirm this theory and understand exactly how this took place - continue reading below for more on this mysterious asteroid!


(469219) 2016 HO3 Kamooalewa is an unusual near-Earth object (NEO), approximately the size of a Ferris wheel, that orbits close to Earth in its orbit. Researchers believe it could actually be part of the Moon that fell away, according to findings published in Communications Earth and Environment journal.

The team used the Large Binocular Telescope on Mount Graham in southern Arizona to analyze light reflected off an asteroid and found its spectrum closely aligned with minerals found in lunar rocks collected by NASA's Apollo missions.

Another indicator is Kamooalewa's orbit, which closely resembles that of Earth while also featuring an unusual tilt that doesn't usually characterise near-Earth asteroids. This indicates that Kamooalewa may have come from within lunar orbit itself before being dislodged by micrometeorites that bombarded its surface, disintegrating rock materials before sending fragments flying off into space - fragments which may later reach Earth and become potential threats to life on this planet.


One of the 32,000 near-Earth asteroids passing by our planet could have an extraordinary story behind it - specifically Kamooalewa could be part of our moon, sent hurtling into space millions of years ago by an immense lunar collision.

University of Arizona astronomers led by Matthew Brown made this breakthrough discovery using two 8.4-meter mirrors at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT). Over three years, they observed Kamooalewa for each month, noting its movements each time and assessing what they observed.

Kamooalewa orbits within 0.001 au of Earth's semi-major axis with low eccentricity and moderate inclination - typical characteristics for co-orbitals caused by secular drift, close encounters between planets or Yarkovsky migration10-11. However, due to atypical orbital characteristics it seems likely that Kamooalewa was likely expelled from HS approximately 100 years ago and will return within 300 years12.


Kamooalewa (pronounced kamo-o-ah-lewa), is an asteroid roughly the size of a ferris wheel and travels in an orbit nearly similar to our own; however, it comes very close every 130 years - placing Kamooalewa into a category known as quasi-satellites.

Astronomers have long been perplexed by an odd quality about Kamooalewa since it first made headlines in 2016. Its chemical signature doesn't match that of any near-Earth object but seems more similar to weathered moon rocks than anything else seen so far.

Now, a team led by University of Arizona researchers have discovered that an asteroid's orbital path suggests it originated from an impact with the moon. A separate study will establish which specific lunar crater released the asteroid; but this discovery could help astronomers better understand how pieces from our moon end up orbiting so closely with us. Furthermore, scientists plan to launch a mission to Kamooalewa in 2025 with plans to collect samples for analysis back here on Earth.

No comments:

Post a Comment