Snoopy may have been seen in space.
No, the character Peanuts – a lunar module that hides in the depths of the Milky Way since 1969.
In May of that year, the Apollo 10 crew, working on a command and service module called Charlie Brown, launched a lunar module called Snoopy toward the Moon on an expedition to examine its surface.
Snoopy, led by astronauts Thomas Stafford and Eugene Cernan, traveled miles from the moon, but did not travel all the way. The mission served as a test before the Apollo 11 astronauts were sent to the real moon two months later.
When his work was finished, and because the technicians could not retrieve the lunar module, Snoopy released his leash, wandering alone into space. So far.
Nick Howes, a member of the Royal Astronomical Society, told SkyNews he was "98% convinced" that his team finally located the rogue module. Howes was talking about Cheltenham Science Festival in the UK
Howes and others began hunting for Snoopy in 2011, digging optical data and observations in Mount Lemmon, Arizona.
Howes took Twitter to say that recent luck as well as previous discoveries in 2018 have reinforced his theory that the module they discovered is actually Snoopy.
"Until we get close to radar data, no one will know for sure … but it's promising," he tweeted.
"A mission of approximation, given the distance and magnitude of the object, will be the only way to prove this conclusively."
With the module out of reach, Howes says the remark is "almost impossible" – so he's trying to be creative.
"I would love to have Elon Musk and his amazing spacecraft pick up and drop," he told the science festival, according to SkyNews.
Howes says a suggestion from the festival's audience also brought the idea of sending a miniature satellite, known as cubes, to get closer to what might be the Snoopy. But he's not too worried about finding him.
"What our quest for Snoopy proved is the huge interest in space archeology," Howes wrote on Twitter.
For now, he says that "we have 102 observations … some good orbital data … some" interesting "radars (observations) and a very small man-made object flying through space."
E-mail: [email protected]