(Daily News) – Two Indian high school students have discovered an asteroid that is gradually changing its orbit and moving toward Earth. Tenth-graders Radhika Lakhani and Vaidehi Vekariya discovered the asteroid, which they named HLV2514 while working on a school project.
The girls, both from the western Indian city of Surat, were taking part in a joint project between Space India and NASA that lets students analyze images from NASA’s PAN Star telescope which is housed at the University of Hawaii.
Aakash Dwivedi, a senior educator, and astronomer at Space India told CNN that the students involved in the project used special software to analyze the images and search for moving objects. “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,” Vekariya, who is 15 years old and hopes to become an astronaut, told CNN.
Luckily, the asteroid, which is at the moment more aligned with Mars’ orbit, is not scheduled to get closer to Earth for about 1 million years. Even then it will still be more than 10 times the distance between the Earth and the moon, more than 2,389,000 miles, though a collision is not out of the realm of possibility. READ MORE