By Rachhpal Sahota , USA
Cincinnati (US), July 29, 2020: Vaidehi Vekariya Sanjaybhai and Radhika Lakhani Prafulbhai, Class 10 students from Surat, Gujarat, made history by discovering an asteroid. NASA confirmed their discovery on July 23, after verifying their reports for a few weeks, and named it HLV2514.
The asteroid is currently close to Mars, but it is newsworthy because of its shifting orbits and moving towards earth.
The discovery occurred during the girls' participation in a NASA and Space India project, intended to involve and educate students in science and astronomy.
Asteroids are small rocky substances that, like planets, orbit the Sun. Unlike planets, asteroids have irregular, jagged shapes, and they vary in size from being hundreds of miles in diameter to small pebbles.
Our solar system is full of asteroids, and although most of them live in an asteroid belt between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars, many are found in other places.
HLV2514 is a near-earth object (NEO). NASA has identified more than 18,000 NEO's and new are being found every day.
Near-earth objects can theoretically hit our planet, and if a large size object makes a hit, it can cause significant damage to life and the environment.
Although the chances of disastrous collision like that are rare, scientists continually monitor these objects.
NASA is contemplating the design of a spacecraft that can deflect a stray NEO away from earth if it happens to venture dangerously close.