Lunar-like silicate material forms the Earth quasi-satellite (469219) 2016 HO3 Kamoʻoalewa

Benjamin N.L. Sharkey, Vishnu Reddy, Renu Malhotra, Audrey Thirouin, Olga Kuhn, Albert Conrad, Barry Rothberg, Juan A. Sanchez, David Thompson, Christian Veillet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Little is known about Earth quasi-satellites, a class of near-Earth small solar system bodies that orbit the sun but remain close to the Earth, because they are faint and difficult to observe. Here we use the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) and the Lowell Discovery Telescope (LDT) to conduct a comprehensive physical characterization of quasi-satellite (469219) Kamoʻoalewa and assess its affinity with other groups of near-Earth objects. We find that (469219) Kamoʻoalewa rotates with a period of 28.3 (+1.8/−1.3) minutes and displays a reddened reflectance spectrum from 0.4–2.2 microns. This spectrum is indicative of a silicate-based composition, but with reddening beyond what is typically seen amongst asteroids in the inner solar system. We compare the spectrum to those of several material analogs and conclude that the best match is with lunar-like silicates. This interpretation implies extensive space weathering and raises the prospect that Kamo’oalewa could comprise lunar material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number231
JournalCommunications Earth and Environment
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)

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