First-of-Its-Kind Double Moon Discovered Around Asteroid

Written by Camilla Jessen

Jun.07 - 2024 6:09 PM CET

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Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
"NASA's Lucy probe makes a groundbreaking discovery.

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In a groundbreaking discovery, a team of researchers using NASA’s "Lucy" space probe has identified a double moon orbiting an asteroid.

The double moon consists of two parts that stay together due to their mutual gravitational pull and orbit the asteroid together. According to Stefano Mottola of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), this is the first time such a system has been observed in our solar system.

This information comes from an article in Die Welt.

The two parts of the moon have diameters of 210 and 230 meters and orbit the asteroid Dinkinesh within about 52.5 hours at a distance of 3.1 kilometers. Researchers believe the material of the double moon comes from the asteroid itself.

This discovery was made possible through the analysis of images captured during the Lucy probe’s flyby on November 1, 2023.

The double moon, like Dinkinesh, has an Amharic name and is called “Selam,” which means “peace.”

The Lucy Mission

The NASA probe “Lucy” was launched in October 2021 and is heading toward asteroids in Jupiter’s orbit.

Starting in 2027, it will fly close to seven of the so-called Jupiter Trojans, collecting valuable data on the origin of the planets and the formation of the solar system.

This mission could change our understanding of the solar system and provide new insights into the evolution of celestial bodies.

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