1966 Long Lost NASA Rocket Booster Dubbed “Minimoon” Makes Final Pass By Earth
2020 SO as NASA knows it by, is a minimoon entirely man made, it’s a rocket booster launched in 1966 and has been orbiting the sun on its own ever since. In September of 2020, it got caught by earth’s gravity and begun an elliptical orbit around the earth and the sun, and on December 1, made its closest approach to earth at 144,000 miles. But now the minimoon is on a trajectory that will see it depart earth again and begin a lonely orbit of the sun.
If you’d like to watch it depart our orbit the Virtual Space Telescope Project will be holding a watch party on Feb 1. NASA ran some calculations and learned this made made minimoon has approached earth before, but apparently we were non-the-wiser. Space.com summed up a good farewell….
Godspeed minimoon 2020 SO. We built you. We abandoned You. And now you abandon us.