The near-Earth asteroid turned out to be a spent upper stage

Analysis of the orbit of the near-Earth asteroid 2022 UQ1 has shown that it is an artificial object. Apparently, this is a spent upper stage of the Atlas V rocket used to launch the Lucy probe.

Comparison of the orbits of the Lucy probe and object 2022 UQ1. Source:

Object 2022 UQ1 was discovered on October 18 by one of the automated telescopes of the ATLAS system. It was classified as a near-Earth asteroid of the Aten family. The diameter of the body was estimated at 10 m. 

However, astronomers quickly suspected that 2022 UQ1 may have an artificial origin. This was indicated by the fact that 2022 UQ1 flew over the Earth on the same day as the Lucy probe. Moreover, the object was in the vicinity of our planet on the same day when the device went into space. This suggests that it represents the Centaur upper stage, which gained the second space speed, which was used to launch Lucy. As a result, the Minor Planet Center excluded 2022 UQ1 from the list of asteroids.

This is not the first time that a celestial body, taken for a near-Earth asteroid, actually turns out to be made by human hands. So, at one time, it was proved that the object J002E3 is the upper stage of the Saturn rocket used to launch the Apollo 14 mission.

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