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There’s more than one moon orbiting Earth?
That’s what smartmindmag.com claimed on an undated post headlined "NASA Has Just Confirmed Earth Has A New Moon."
"According to new reports from NASA, there is a quasi-moon orbiting around Earth for almost a century, and we have missed it all along," the website claimed. "The new moon isn’t as big as THE MOON is, but, it still keeps our original moon company while traveling across space."
The post heavily borrows from a June 2016 NASA report but takes liberties to stretch the truth.
NASA in 2016 announced the discovery of a small asteroid which as it orbits the sun, "appears to circle around Earth as well." But NASA did not say that the asteroid, labeled 2016 HO3, was a new moon orbiting Earth.
"It is too distant to be considered a true satellite of our planet, but it is the best and most stable example to date of a near-Earth companion, or ‘quasi-satellite’," the NASA report said.
A satellite is an object that moves around a larger object, and both the Earth and the moon are considered "natural" satellites, NASA explains. 2016 HO3’s characteristics only elevate it to "quasi-satellite."
The smartmindmag.com post included legitimate quotes that appear on NASA’s 2016 post, but jumped to a conclusion that NASA did not establish.
Both the NASA report and smartmindmag.com quote Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object (NEO) Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., as saying: "Since 2016 HO3 loops around our planet, but never ventures very far away as we both go around the sun, we refer to it as a quasi-satellite of Earth."
Other more prominent news outlets ran similar headlines in 2016 about Earth having two moons, based on NASA’s report. Business Insider: SURPRISE: Earth has two moons.
But other websites covered the story more accurately. Slate’s headline hinted that details matter: Another Moon for Earth? Well, Not Really, but It Depends on Your Point of View. Gizmodo also explained the nuances in a story headlined: Earth's New 'Quasi' Moon Will Stick Around for Centuries.
NASA has not confirmed that Earth has a new moon, as smartmindmag.com claimed.
We rate the claim False.
Smartmindmag.com, NASA Has Just Confirmed Earth Has A New Moon
Slate.com, Another Moon for Earth? Well, Not Really, but It Depends on Your Point of View, June 17, 2016
BusinessInsider.com, SURPRISE: Earth has two moons, June 16, 2016
Gizmodo, Earth's New 'Quasi' Moon Will Stick Around for Centuries, June 16, 2016
Nasa.gov, What Is a Satellite?, Feb. 8, 2017
Jpl.nasa.gov, Small Asteroid Is Earth's Constant Companion, June 15, 2016
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