'NEW MOON' MAY BE
SCIENTISTS think a newly-found object orbiting the Earth could be a remnant from the Apollo era.
Experts at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory believe its brightness and distance shows it's a rocket booster.
'J002E3' was discovered on September 3 and listed by scientists as a minor planet or asteroid. With its 50-day orbit around Earth, the object would be our planet's third moon if confirmed as natural.
But NASA's Donald Yeomans believes that the object is probably man-made space junk.
He told Space.com: "It's most likely a spacecraft. It's not likely to be a natural object, not in that kind of orbit."
He said minor planets or asteroids tend to be on strange orbits gravitationally influenced by the Sun. This does not appear to be the case with this object.
NASA is currently running computer calculations and expects to be able to identify the object conclusively soon.
Earth's second satellite, which is called Cruithne, was discovered in 1986. It takes a convoluted horseshoe path around our planet as it is tossed about by the gravity of the Earth and the Moon.