Feeds

Approaching space object 'artificial, not asteroid' says NASA

Too small for a proper mothership at ~10m, though

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

NASA boffins report that an unknown object approaching the Earth from deep space is almost certainly artificial in origin rather than being an asteroid.

NASA JPL graphic depicting the 2010 visit of object 2010 KQ.

Not actually an asteroid, according to NASA, but artificial.

Object 2010 KQ was detected by the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona earlier this month, and subsequently tracked by NASA's asteroid-watching service, the Near-Earth Object Program headquartered at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

According to the NASA experts:

Observations by astronomer S J Bus, using the NASA-sponsored Infrared Telescope Facility in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, indicate that 2010 KQ's spectral characteristics do not match any of the known asteroid types, and the object's absolute magnitude (28.9) suggests it is only a few meters in size.

The mysterious artificial object has apparently made a close pass by the Earth, coming in almost to the distance of the Moon's orbit, and is now headed away again into the interplanetary void. The object has used no propulsion during the time NASA has had it under observation. However the spacewatch boffins believe that it must have moved under its own power at some point, given its position and velocity.

"The orbit of this object is very similar to that of the Earth, and one would not expect a [naturally occurring] object to remain in this type of orbit for very long," said Paul Chodas, a brainbox at JPL.

The experts believe that the object must be a spacecraft, or more accurately part of one - sadly not an alien visitor, though. Rather it's likely to be a booster stage from an interplanetary mission of the past, now drifting back in to Earth and out again. The next visit will probably be 2036, at which time there's a small chance that 2010 KQ will crash into the atmosphere and burn up. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?