Surat Schoolgirls Discover New Asteroid Moving Towards Earth, Await Confirmation From NASA
Two schoolgirls from Surat, Gujarat, have discovered an asteroid moving towards Earth. According to a private space institute, SPACE India, two of its students — Vaidehi Vekariya and Radhika Lakhani — both aged 14, analysed the images captured by the Pan-STARRS telescope with the help of specialised software in June.
A SPACE India spokeswoman told Reuters that the asteroid ‘HLV2514’ is near Mars and will be christened only after NASA confirms its orbit.
Vaidehi Vekariya expressed her desire to name the asteroid, adding that she wants to become a professional astronaut.
The discovery was made during an asteroid search campaign conducted by SPACE India and the NASA-affiliated citizen scientist group, International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC).
IASC Director J Patrick Miller has confirmed the Indian teen girls’ discovery in an email, a copy of which is in possession of Reuters.
In 2013, an asteroid exploded over Russia and injured over 1,000 people as it weighed more than the Eiffel Tower. Every year, thousands of asteroids and comets are discovered by scientists all over the globe. However, HLV2514 is not a threat to Earth as it is currently orbiting near Mars and will take around a million years to reach the Blue Planet.
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