Two Indian school girls had made a striking discovery of an asteroid that is slowly shifting its trajectory towards Earth.
The 10th-grade duo – Radhika Lakhani and Vaidehi Vekariya, from the city of Surat in the western Indian state of Gujarat, participated at an event by Space India and NASA.
Schools students in the project allow them to study cosmic photographs taken by a telescope installed at the University of Hawaii, CNN reports.
Though the project, according to Aakash Dwivedi, senior educator and astronomer at Space India, the private institute seeks to introduce science and astronomy to school goers in India.
Participants were taught how to analyze celestial bodies using the same software that is used to analyze images taken from NASA’s PAN Star telescope.
10th-grade Indian school girls discover asteroid heading toward Earth
“We started the project in June and we sent back our analysis a few weeks ago to NASA. On July 23, they sent us an email confirming that we had identified a near-Earth object,” Vaidehi Vekariya, 14 told CNN about their discovery.
The two girls have named the asteroid HLV2514 which is yet to be officially christened by NASA, Reuters report.
As per Space India, the asteroid is presently near the orbit of the Red Planet Mars and in a time of 1 million years, its path will cross Earth’s orbit.
“Asteroids are taken very seriously by NASA. Since this asteroid is changing its orbit it has become news,” Aakash Dwivedi told CNN.
For Vekariya, it was her dream; “I want to become an astronaut,” she was quoted as saying.
About the asteroid, there is nothing to fear as of now. As Dwivedi explained, the near-earth cosmic body is 1 million years late from its predicted cross over with earth, furthermore, at that point of time, the distance between the asteroid and earth will be 10-times of what the present distance between Earth and moon.