According to the conclusions drawn after months of observing the so-called near-Earth objects, the early remnants of space flight are likely to return to their original planet for a short visit. 2020 year.
According to a scientist, 2020 SO enters what scientists call the Earth’s sphere, and the gravity of the Earth determines the behavior of objects. NASA statement. Scientists say the object will form two leisurely cycles around the earth, and then slip away to restore its path around the sun in March.
However, although scientists first discovered it in a September survey aimed at identifying asteroids, the object appears to have quickly become Something completely different —The rocket̵
Alice Gorman, an archaeologist who focuses on space heritage, told Space.com: “If this is the upper stage of the Centaur, it is the object itself. This is the rocket stage, but it is also related to all other Things are related.”
related: A strange story from SO in 2020: How asteroid turned into rocket junk and NASA scientists figured it out
This special metal block left the earth on September 20, 1966, and inhabited the first stage of Atlas D, carrying a spacecraft named Surveyor 2 on top of it.Three days later, the spacecraft accidentally Fall into the moon. At the same time, the breeze of the metal cylinder that provided it swept across our celestial neighbors and settled in a position in series with our planet that more or less revolved around the sun.
Obviously, it has been doing this for 54 years. In the past few years, the centaur’s successor has continued to spread, throwing countless rockets from the earth to many earth orbits and planetary exploration missions.
Long career with simple design
In a sense, the Centaur has played a key role in space exploration throughout the entire space history. This is the result of a partnership between NASA (and its predecessors) and the commercial sector in the late 1950s, which was first launched in March 1962.
According to a scientist, this stage is an important development of rocket technology, because it is the first successful design that relies on dangerous but lightweight and effective liquid hydrogen. History of NASA publications Component. The success of the Centaur established that liquid hydrogen can be used safely and helped the United States catch up with the Soviet Union in the space race.
However, despite playing a leading role, the upper part of the Centaur is deceptively simple. Gorman said: “This is a very simple rocket.” “It’s like a large fuel tank with a few rocket engines.” And it’s very flexible: Although it was most commonly used in the first stage of Atlas for many years, It can be used with a series of rockets. In the 1980s, it was even adjusted to be launched inside NASA’s space shuttle to guide the satellite into the proper orbit, although it never flew in this configuration.
Today, only half of the Centaur aircraft continues to fly in the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, but for the following reasons, the Centaur aircraft is also designed for use in the company’s future Vulcan Centaur rocket Launch next year.
Goldman said that the long history of the Centaur is a good reminder of the ephemeral, hybrid and matching nature of each rocket. Launch vehicles take much more time than a single device, because their components are usually distributed over a wide area.
She said: “In our minds, we have this vision for the rocket. This is a tall spike on the launch pad, but the rocket only exists for a short period of time.” “It was assembled within a week before launch. …Launch, separate and leave debris.”
Survey the moon
The Centaur special drill that is now swaying briefly around the earth is part of a series of vital tasks that lead to Apollo Project It was proved that it could land safely on the moon, even though its specific spacecraft failed.
Between 1966 and 1968, the United States launched 7 missions Surveyor, Each designed to land on the moon. In general, the plan was successful. When Crasher 2 crashed into the surface of the moon, it was the only exception.
Its predecessor probe Surveyor 1, Making the United States land on the moon for the first time.
“Going to the moon is really exciting; now it’s like landing on Mars,” Paul Chodas, director of the NASA Center for Near-Earth Objects Research at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, saw the discovery during the asteroid exploration. The object realized and told Space.com that it might be Surveyor 2 Centaur. “This is particularly exciting because I do remember these tasks. Surveyor 1 was a very exciting landing on the moon-as a kid, I was watching the moon landing with a telescope.”
A successful soft landing is also history Apollo 11 human landing on the moon Three years later, Gorman said.
“There were two theories about moondust at the time: one is that it is too deep, so if you perform a human mission, they will only sink into the dust, and the other is that the dust is not so deep, Gorman said. “So one thing the surveyor did was to prove that the dust was not a metre deep in at least the seven mission landing sites, so for much heavier ships, it could land safely on the water. It is of great significance in the overall development of human space and lunar science. “
However, although Surveyor 2 may not fail its siblings, its Centaur is likely to be the first Solar orbit Scientists rediscovered rockets from the 1960s. Astronomers are planning to observe the object in an attempt to determine this connection, but for Jodas, the trajectory itself is convincing evidence.
Jordas said: “It can be closely linked to the Surveyor 2 launch 54 years ago, which is really surprising.” “This is the first time I can have such a strong connection with the rocket launch of the 1960s. .”
Email Meghan Bartels to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @meghanbartels.follow us On Twitter @Spacedotcom and Facebook.