The small asteroid examined by NASA last week appears to have a “mini-moon” of its own. The Lucy spacecraft captured images of the discovery on Wednesday.
The asteroid, called Dinkenish, is barely 790 meters wide. NASA’s spacecraft passed Dinkenish’s main asteroid belt, just behind Mars, on Wednesday.
Lucy took a photo of the couple when they were about 275 miles apart. The images show that the young moon is only 220 meters wide.
NASA sent Lucy beyond Dinkenish as training for a larger mission to asteroids near Jupiter. Lucy was launched in 2021 and will reach the first of the so-called Trojan asteroids in 2027. The vehicle will explore there for at least six years.
Dinkenesh means “You are wonderful” in the Amharic language of Ethiopia. It is also the Amharic name for Lucy. This name was given to the remains of a human ancestor more than three million years old that were found in Ethiopia in the 1970s.
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