Life-cycle of an Asteroid discovered! NASA reveals how exciting discovery was made | Tech News

Life-cycle of an Asteroid discovered! NASA reveals how exciting discovery was made

The discovery was made by a team of scientists at NASA’s Ames Research Center.

| Updated on: Aug 18 2022, 11:21 IST
Asteroid whizzes past Earth in close encounter: NASA
1/5 On Wednesday, a giant fireball was seen and heard across the Mississippi, US. While locals were left wondering whether they saw an alien ship or an asteroid, NASA tells us the truth. (Pixabay)
2/5 According to, it is at a maximum distance of 380 million kilometers away from the Sun. On the other hand, its distance from the Earth was just 2.74 million kilometers, equivalent to 0.02 astronomical units. An astronomical unit (AU, or au) is basically a unit of length equal to the average, or mean, distance between Earth and the Sun, that is, 149,597,870.7 km (92,955,807.3 miles). (Pixabay)
3/5 The report says, “The asteroid 2022 OX3 flew past Earth on August 02 at 18:45 at a distance of 2.74 million kilometers at a speed of 16 kilometers per second.” Although NASA has stated that this asteroid didn’t pose any viable threat to Earth, it was still classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid due to the close proximity of its encounter with Earth. (NASA)
4/5 The Near-Earth objects (NEOs) are monitored by NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office which monitors the sky with telescopes and keeps a track of upcoming flybys. Keeping a track of these NEOs has become relatively easy with the advancement of technology. With the help of advanced telescopes, more than 750,000 asteroids have been discovered to date out of which over 27,000 are near-Earth asteroids. (Pixabay)
5/5 This is not the first encounter where an asteroid has flown close to Earth. On May 9, Asteroid Asteroid 467460 (2006 JF42), flew close past Earth. Previously, on April 28, Asteroid 418135 (2008 AG33), passed by our planet. (Pixabay)
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An asteroid is essentially a space rock. (Pixabay)

A team of scientists at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, have achieved what seemingly was impossible – to discover the origin and the conclusion of a space rock. The team of scientists conducted this study on nearly 600 fist-sized asteroids, according to The San Jose Mercury News.

Peter Jeniskens of the SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center told The San Jose Mercury News, “It's like a small window into the very early times of our solar system … before there was such a thing as Earth.”

But what is an Asteroid?

An asteroid is a small, rocky object and when seen in a telescope, it appears as a point of light, according to NASA. Most asteroids are found in a ring between the orbit of Mars and Jupiter called the asteroid belt.

These celestial objects are the remains of the period during which our solar system formed, over 4.6 billion years ago.

To discover the life-cycle of a meteor is not an easy task. Scientists began by studying an 88-ton asteroid called 2008-TC3. They mapped its trajectory and impact point. When it entered the Earth's surface, it burned up and broke up into small chunks which fell onto the surface and were later recovered by the team, according to The San Jose Mercury News.

Andrew Fraknoi, Emeritus Chair of the Department of Astronomy at the College in Los Altos Hills told The San Jose Mercury News, “What makes this work particularly exciting is that scientists were able to track the incoming meteorite, to know where it would have fallen, and then was able to find specific remains.”

The asteroid chunks landed in Sudan where Jeniskens flew to in a hope to find the missing pieces and the first piece was found after a tedious search of about 19 miles across the sandy Sudan.

“There are a lot of rocks in the desert,” Jeniskens told The San Jose Mercury News, “But we were looking for rocks covered in a ‘fusion layer' of dark glass.”

“The very first meteorite was found in the afternoon search in just 2 1/2 hours. Everyone started dancing and singing and shouting. We had a big party,” he further told The San Jose Mercury News.

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First Published Date: 16 Aug, 09:20 IST