Scientists: computer modeling suggests one lunar crater is the origin of a nearby asteroid

The uncertainty of science: Using computer modeling some scientists now suggest that the nearby asteroid 2016 HO3, also known as Kamo’oalewa, that has a solar orbit that periodically flips around the Earth, came from an impact a million years ago that created the Giordano Bruno crater on the moon’s far side.

According to the simulations, it would have required an impactor of at least 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) in diameter to launch a large fragment like Kamo’oalewa beyond the moon’s gravitational pull. According to the group’s model, the impact would have dug up Kamo’oalewa from deep beneath the moon’s surface, leaving behind an impact crater larger than 10 to 20 kilometers (6-12 miles) in diameter. Additionally, the crater would have to be younger than the average lifetime for near-Earth objects, which spans about 10 million to 100 million years, a very short and recent period in the history of the solar system.

While the lunar surface is riddled with thousands of craters from impacts spanning the moon’s 4.5 billion year-history, only Giordano Bruno with its 14-mile diameter and estimated 4 million years of age fits the bill in terms of size and age, making it the most probable source of Kamo’oalewa’s origin. The team also showed that this scenario is feasible from an impact dynamics perspective.

To say that this conclusion is uncertain is an understatement of monumental proportions. However, the possibility is real. A Chinese asteroid mission, dubbed Tianwen-2, will likely found out, as it is planning to bring samples back from this asteroid by 2027.

China conducts parachute tests for returning asteroid sample to Earth

China has successfully conducted tests of the parachute design that will be used by the sample return capsule of its Tianwen-2 mission to grab samples from the near Earth asteroid dubbed 469219 Kamoʻoalewa.

The mission will launch on a Long March 3B rocket in 2025, and rendezvous with the asteroid in 2025. After getting its samples and releasing the sample return capsule, the plan is to then send Tianwen-2 to Comet 311P/PANSTARRS, arriving in the 2030s.

The probe uses fanlike solar panels, apparently copied from those used by NASA’s Lucy asteroid probe. China also has copied the touch-and-go sample grab methods used by OSIRIS-REx and Hayabusa-2, but it will also try its own original idea, to anchor to the asteroid and use drills in the probe’s landing legs.