Trojan asteroids share the same orbital path as certain planets, either leading ahead of the planet or trailing behind. Jupiter is famous for its many Trojan asteroids, but Mars has a few of them as well. One these Martian companions — asteroid (101429) 1998 VF31 — could be a stunt double for our own moon.
A team led by researchers at the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium (AOP) in Northern Ireland took a close look at asteroid 101429’s composition and drew some fascinating connections to our lunar neighbor in a study set for the January 2021 issue of the journal Icarus.
The planetary scientists used the X-shooter spectrograph on the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile to