Two young Indian women have made an exceptional discovery as part of a project in partnership with NASA. The duo shed light on a new asteroid heading towards our planet. However, do not worry since the object will not risk hitting Earth for a very long time.
An asteroid orbiting Mars
Vekariya and Radhika Lakhani are fourteen year old sisters from the state of Gujarat (India). They participate in a program set up by Space India and the United States Space Agency (NASA). This project allows students to analyze images captured by the Pan-STARRS telescope located at the top of the Haleakalā volcano, on the island of Maui in Hawaii (United States).
In June 2020, the two sisters discovered an unknown near-Earth asteroid currently orbiting the planet Mars. For now, the object is named HLV2514, pending confirmation by NASA of its orbit. However, it could take a few years. After this verification, the two young girls can rename it as they wish. Meanwhile, SPACE India confirmed the news in a tweet posted on July 25, 2020.
No danger for a very long time
HLV2514 is heading towards Earth, however, there would be no need to worry about this asteroid since it poses no danger to earth. The fact is that the object will not approach our planet for about a million years! In any case, NASA has confirmed that this is indeed a major discovery.
“We started the project in June and sent our analysis back to NASA a few weeks ago. On July 23, they sent us an email confirming that we had identified an object near Earth,” Vekariya Lakhani said in a CNN article. The girl has also indicated that she plans to become an astronaut when she grows up.
Commissioned in December 2008, the Pan-STARRS telescope is under the responsibility of the University of Hawaii. In 2011, this installation led to the discovery of comet C / 2011 L4 (PANSTARRS). The telescope also made it possible to discover (469219) Kamo‘oalewa in 2016, a quasi-satellite of the Earth, but especially 1I / ʻOumuamua in 2017, a small interstellar body which could be the fragment of a super-Earth.
Mandell is currently working towards a medical degree from the University of Central Florida. His main passions include kayaking, playing soccer and tasting good food. He covers mostly science, health and environmental stories for the Scientific Origin.