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Earth Trojan Asteroids!

This is The Discovery Files, from the U.S. National Science Foundation.

Asteroids are made up of materials dating back to the beginnings of our solar system and, when they orbit the sun on the same path as a planet, are classified as trojans.

And much like the Trojan Horse of Greek mythology, they may harbor secrets inside.

An international team of astronomers, supported in part by NSF, has confirmed only the second known Earth Trojan, which is designated 20-20 XL5.

Researchers analyzed years of archived images taken by telescopes at NSF’s NOIRLab in Chile, to help map this trojan asteroid’s orbit.

While earth now has two confirmed trojan asteroids, Jupiter has over nine thousand, eight hundred.

XL5 is nearly three times the size of 20-10 TK7, the first confirmed Earth Trojan, and could provide extraordinary insight into the building blocks of our solar system.

Asteroids swoosh through the cosmos at phenomenal speeds. Yet, earth trojan asteroids might someday become ideal bases to explore our solar system and mine for natural resources.

Discover how the U.S. National Science Foundation is advancing research at nsf.gov.

“The discovery files” covers projects funded by the government’s National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research — brought to you, by you! Learn more at nsf.gov or on our podcast.

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