Tuesday, August 16, 2011

We’re Not Alone

Scientists have discovered what’s known as a Trojan, a small asteroid that shares our orbit, diligently forging ahead of us as we circle the sun. Mars has a few. So does Neptune. Jupiter has nearly 5,000. Ours is three football fields across and leads us through space by about 50 million miles. At the same time it moves backwards and forwards in a crazy elliptical pattern, sometimes getting closer, sometimes quite a lot further away. Sketch out the rings and you get a fantastic cosmic fingerprint.

Unimaginatively our Trojan has been called 2010 TK7 (apparently you have to wait until you’ve got a better feel for its orbit before you can give it a real name). I feel a re-brand coming on. What do you think earth’s new friend should be called?