that's rough, buddy
June 21, 2016 9:37 AM   Subscribe

Small Asteroid Is Earth's Constant Companion: A small asteroid has been discovered in an orbit around the sun that keeps it as a constant companion of Earth, and it will remain so for centuries to come.

"In effect, this small asteroid is caught in a little dance with Earth."
posted by poffin boffin (40 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
someone please illustrate it with sad eyes
posted by Kitteh at 9:38 AM on June 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


This seems like a good subject for an asteroid capture and retrieval mission. It's fairly small and it is closer than just about everything else in he sky.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 9:41 AM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Dear 2016 HO3,

Thank you for being a friend.
Traveled down the road and back again
posted by pangolin party at 9:43 AM on June 21, 2016 [21 favorites]


Is this the one we keep freaking out about?

Dog, it's just your tail. Chill.
posted by amanda at 9:51 AM on June 21, 2016 [7 favorites]


It's our neighborhood catsteroid. Y'know, the one asks for a few belly scratches as you're out on your evening walk, and then sort of follows along behind and occasionally ahead of you, hoping for a few more pets.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:51 AM on June 21, 2016 [8 favorites]


Maybe they're waiting in a holding pattern until they decide they want to land.
posted by dowcrag at 9:53 AM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


I say we name it Fido.
posted by tel3path at 9:57 AM on June 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


"Centuries" is pretty brief at the astronomical time scale. I wonder how it got there and why NASA believes it's going to escape again (relatively) soon.
posted by ardgedee at 9:57 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


SenpaiNoticedMe.gif
posted by zamboni at 10:02 AM on June 21, 2016 [9 favorites]


Define dancing.
posted by Kabanos at 10:04 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


But what of the young people?
posted by tittergrrl at 10:05 AM on June 21, 2016


In my personal canon I've decided that the asteroid is named Greg and I will occasionally wave at Greg.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 10:11 AM on June 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


...an orbit around the sun that keeps it as a constant companion of Earth, and it will remain so for centuries to come.

That's what it wants you to think.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:13 AM on June 21, 2016


WHAT IF it hatches open and even more tinier pseudomoons come out, what then NASA.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:15 AM on June 21, 2016 [6 favorites]


I will occasionally wave at Greg.

*waves back*
I've been called an ass, but never an asteroid
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:16 AM on June 21, 2016 [11 favorites]


That's no moon...
posted by chavenet at 10:34 AM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


it just wants sempai to notice it
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:49 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I wonder if any little princes live on it?
posted by TedW at 11:07 AM on June 21, 2016 [6 favorites]


Nananananananana Katamari Damacy.
posted by aspersioncast at 11:09 AM on June 21, 2016 [7 favorites]


The Bad Astronomy blog has the details:

Another Moon for Earth? Well, Not Really, but It Depends on Your Point of View. A link to the blog post.
...
Because it’s moving on a tilted and elliptical orbit, sometimes it’s a wee bit closer to the Sun and moving a bit faster than Earth, and sometimes it’s a wee bit farther out and moving a bit more slowly. But it never gets closer than about 14 million kilometers from Earth or farther than about 40 million kilometers.
...
But it gets weirder. Because the orbit is slightly longer than Earth’s, you’d expect it to drift away over many years, lagging behind Earth more and more every year. But that’s not the case! Earth’s gravity tugs on HO3, changing the orbit slightly every time they pass. That keeps HO3’s orbit in line with Earth’s, so it never gets too close or too far away. It’ll be our companion for at least the next few centuries.
posted by jjj606 at 11:12 AM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


Rather moth-like.

Not too attracted to the flame, I trust.
posted by jamjam at 11:49 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


simple soups: In my personal canon I've decided that the asteroid is named Greg and I will occasionally wave at Greg.

That's no moon, it's Greg_Ace Greg_Nog!
posted by wenestvedt at 12:05 PM on June 21, 2016


It's where the Little Prince lives.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 12:40 PM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


But he's already on 46610 Bésixdouze
posted by zamboni at 12:45 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


2016 HO3 is one of the strangest asteroids I've seen in some time. I have no idea how this asteroid got wedged into earth's orbit, or why.
posted by ursus_comiter at 12:51 PM on June 21, 2016 [9 favorites]


No one would have believed, in the last years of the twentieth century, that human affairs were being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their affairs they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. At most, terrestrial men fancied there might be ice and rocks upon HO3, perhaps ready to welcome a vigorous scientific probing or to have the name "Trump" emblazoned on them in golden lettering by the new American president. Yet, across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this Earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. And early in the twenty-first century came the great disillusionment.

I mean the alien invasion sucked and everything, but it was far worse and far less believable that Donald Trump had been elected president. (Or maybe, like the common cold in War of the Worlds, Trump will infect the HO3 aliens and they'll elect him their president, thus destroying their civilization and safeguarding the Earth even better than Herman Cain could have.)
posted by XMLicious at 12:53 PM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


That keeps HO3’s orbit in line with Earth’s, so it never gets too close or too far away.

I feel like Earth is stringing HO3 along, not really giving the asteroid the gravitational tug it needs, but not letting it go, either. Earth, make a clean break or I'm taking this to AskMe!
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:57 PM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


Found by NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office. I'm glad they're keeping an eye out.
posted by exogenous at 3:06 PM on June 21, 2016


We should go visit!
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:14 PM on June 21, 2016


There shall never be a second moon for me but Cruithne, with its most delightfully wobbly orbit.
posted by sonascope at 3:59 PM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


So would this one be a good candidate for an experimental mining visit? Does not seem that big, how about if there's anything useful (platinum, gold, H2O, iron, dirt, anything is probably useful) could it be moved a bit closer and used to bootstrap the asteroid economy?
posted by sammyo at 4:42 PM on June 21, 2016


Poor asteroid. Always on the periphery, gazing upon his love Gaia from afar, but she never notices him. There is only loneliness, and Korn.

He's working up the courage to slip his awesome drawing of an awesome barbarian into her locker.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:42 PM on June 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


It's a test. It's a trap. It's the monolith wrapped in rock, when we show that we can get to the center a strange signal will come from One of Jupiter's moon.

If the Other is really fucking with us, it'll be this.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 8:37 PM on June 21, 2016


How many licks of the rock will it take to get to the Monolith center?
posted by tilde at 9:34 PM on June 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


There is only loneliness, and Korn.

Awww. This may be the saddest sentence ever.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 9:40 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's been floating right nearby for a century, unnoticed. Now think about the vast number of unseen nearby space rocks that are not in stable orbits. Let's increase funding for planetary defense, please.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:48 PM on June 21, 2016


I hereby christen this second Moon as "The Dink."

SO SAY WE ALL.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:10 AM on June 22, 2016


Has no one mentioned this awesome post title? It's awesome.
posted by nakedmolerats at 11:01 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


YES I CONCUR
posted by poffin boffin at 11:05 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


and it will remain so for centuries to come.

Then whut?
posted by Fupped Duck at 10:43 PM on June 23, 2016


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