This tweet seems to suggest that the details will be released only after a mission is planned and funder, or at least $50 million is put in escrow, or a bitcoin wallet is offered, but I am not sure I understand the full story.

Frankly if someone said "here's $50 million to develop the mission to prove it's Snoopy" I'd genuinely reply "here's the details for a very worthy charity ..please give it to them"


So here's my challenge .. if we want to prove it's Snoopy ..can we get a few 12u or a hit bigger cubesats/sats launched on an intercept trajectory with SAR and optical . 12u minimum to permit suitable course correction capability


Common question..how do we know it's Snoopy ? Answer ..we don't 100% as I made clear in my talk .. it's a best guess based on the 103 obs..size ..orbit..and work by JPL scientists . Our team also working STK orbital data


When WT1190F was proven to not be Snoopy ..then we had more confidence that ours was a possible..

Question: Has the Snoopy candidate been publicly identified, or is it a secret? Is all we have to do is to search some database for an object with 103 published observations, or is the raw data privately held?


Will the real Snoopy please stand up?

is inspired by the famous line from To Tell the Truth. (spaceflight-related example)

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Now I can't get that childrens' song "Where oh where oh where is Snoopy?" out of my head. Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 0:53
  • $\begingroup$ to the "unclear what you are asking" close-voters, you probably didn't read through the question, or you would have seen Question: Has the Snoopy candidate been publicly identified, or is it a secret? Is all we have to do is to search some database for an object with 103 published observations, or is the raw data privately held? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 12:06
  • $\begingroup$ You might want to copy the question to the top of the post, in bold. For the record, I voted to keep open because I scrolled through the whole post, saw the question, and understood what you meant. $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 14:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The question could be improved by providing a lot of context at the start. My interpretation of the tweet is that the "details" refer to details of a charity, not of a candidate object, and the suggestion of extortion is a severe misread. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 0:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Ugh I was about to add a context graf to the question with a link to an external article but the best article I found for context was the one on Sky & Telescope that is the core of John Holtz's answer, so it almost obviates the question. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 19:00

2 Answers 2


Sky and Telescope identifies the object as 2018 AV2.

Astronomers started the hunt in 2011 using the Faulkes North Telescope in Hawai'i, the Faulkes South Telescope in Australia, and data from the Catalina Sky Survey, located outside of Tucson, Arizona. The break came last year during observations taken at the Mt Lemmon and other survey observatories, with the discovery of the small Earth-crossing asteroid 2018 AV2. Orbiting the Sun once every 382 days, 2018 AV2 spends most of its time trailing Earth in its orbit around the Sun. Two factors grabbed astronomers' attention: its low orbital inclination (less than 1°) relative to the ecliptic, and its low speed, less than a kilometer per second relative to Earth's orbital velocity.

Other factors also led to the conclusion that 2018 AV2 is likely to be Snoopy. It's already listed as an artificial object on the International Astronomical Union Minor Planet Center's Distant Artificial Objects page. According to Howes, the object's brightness also corresponded to "a size in the right ballpark." In addition, Howes says he had received mail "from a trusted astronomer at the Arizona Sky Survey indicating that JPL teams had also worked on it, and it looked like it was in the right place in 1969."

However, confirmation is not likely to be imminent:

Unfortunately, 2018 AV2 is currently 0.374 astronomical units (34.7 million miles) from Earth, making it a faint +29.5 magnitude object. Its next close approach won't come until July 10, 2037, when it will pass 4 million miles from Earth, equivalent to 16 times the Earth-Moon distance.

However, it would theoretically be possible to observe the object now: Howes notes that a Falcon Heavy or Delta IV rocket could traverse the current distance in a year. Another possibility would be to send a small CubeSat along with a future SLS launch, with the purpose of flying by the object to make observations.

Spectral analysis, a radar profile, and other observations would go a long ways towards confirming or rejecting the object's identity. After all, hollow metallic artificial objects react differently to solar heating and radiative pressure (known as the Yarkovsky effect) than solid space rocks.

  • $\begingroup$ 2018 AV2 it is then (the candidate at least), thanks! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 0:58
  • $\begingroup$ Curiously, Horizons doesn't have an asteroid 2018 AV2 $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Commented Dec 3, 2022 at 2:56

It's common in academia to withhold details of a discovery until a formal paper can be published; from the lack of any googleable evidence of the details, I assume this is the case here. Howes & his team likely are close enough to publishing that they are willing to make statements that might provide clues to the identity of the target without worrying that someone else will publish first.

In a couple of his tweets, Howes nods to Mt. Lemmon Observatory for having made the initial observations; one presumes that University of Arizona is not holding their information private, though it may not be trivial to access.

I'm fairly certain Howes isn't holding the identity of Snoopy for ransom. In light of this tweet:

Anyway ..given the problems our world currently faces .. spending millions to go out and image a lunar module from 1969 may seem very frivolous .. and the scientific value as I said in my talk.. would be minimal

I think the first tweet you link is just Howes saying $50 million would be better spent on other things.


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