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September 23, 2002

Wandering Moon

There is gathering evidence that the third moon I mentioned earlier is in fact "the Apollo 12 S-IVB third stage, which was left in a distant Earth orbit after it was launched on November 14, 1969 and passed the Moon four days later." According to this article, that rocket stage escaped Earth orbit via a 'portal' aligned with the L1 Lagrange point in 1971, and has returned by a similar mechanism.

It now appears likely that the object will escape back into solar orbit in June 2003 after its brief six-orbit visit to our planet. In 30 years time the Earth may once again capture J002E3 for another brief tour around its home planet.

Ain't physics grand?

Posted by dpwakefield at September 23, 2002 11:30 AM