Two Indian schoolgirls discovered an asteroid that is slowly changing its orbit and moving towards Earth.
Radhika Lakhani and Vaidehi Vekariya, both in 10th grade, were working on a school project when they discovered an asteroid called HLV2514.
Girls from the city of Surat in western Gujarat, India, participated in the Space India and NASA project, which allows students to analyze images taken with a telescope at the University of Hawaii.
Aakashas Dwivedi, a senior educator and astronomer at Space India, told CNN that students across India were trained to observe celestial bodies using software that analyzed images collected by NASA̵7;s PAN Star telescope. Students then searched for moving objects in the pictures.
The project, Dwivedi explained, was designed to engage and educate students in science and astronomy.
“We started the project in June. And a few weeks ago, we sent NASA our analysis. July 23 “They sent us an email confirming that we had identified a nearby Earth object,” Vekariya, 15, told CNN.
Dwivedi explained that the asteroid is currently close to the orbit of Mars, but in 1 million years it will change its orbit and get closer to Earth, even though it will still be more than 10 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
“NASA takes asteroids very seriously. As this asteroid changes its orbit, it has become news, ”said Dwivedi.
Asteroids, also called small planets, are small rocky objects that orbit the sun.
Vekariya said the pandemic prevented students from celebrating the discovery, but added, “It was a dream. I want to become an astronaut. “
She said: “It’s such a huge topic. Searching in space has no limitations, especially in black hole theory. “
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