NASA Deep Space Network snaps Potentially Hazardous Asteroid passing by Earth | Tech News

NASA Deep Space Network snaps Potentially Hazardous Asteroid passing by Earth

NASA recently captured radar images of Potentially Hazardous Asteroid 2008 OS7 as it made a close approach to Earth. Know all about it.

| Updated on: Feb 29 2024, 19:06 IST
NASA Boeing Crew Flight Test mission set to launch historic Starliner spacecraft with astronauts
asteroid 2008 OS7
1/7 Join NASA in witnessing a milestone moment as part of the Commercial Crew Program- the launch of NASA's Boeing Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station (ISS). This mission marks Boeing's inaugural crewed flight aboard the Starliner spacecraft. (NASA)
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2/7 NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams will take off on this historic journey aboard the Starliner, to be launched by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Their destination: the ISS, where they will spend up to two weeks conducting vital tests and experiments. (NASA)
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3/7 Mission Details: Scheduled for liftoff in mid-April 2024 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, the mission will evaluate the end-to-end capabilities of the Starliner system. This includes the launch, docking, and the spacecraft's return to Earth in the western United States desert. (@NASAKennedy)
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4/7 Certification Process: Following a successful mission, NASA will initiate the final certification process for the Starliner and its systems, paving the way for future crewed missions to the ISS. The outcome of this mission is crucial for the continued success of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. (NASA)
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5/7 Exclusive Photo Opportunity: U.S. media has the opportunity to apply for a unique photo opportunity during the rollout of the Starliner spacecraft from Boeing's Commercial Cargo and Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This event is scheduled for early April, adding an extra layer of excitement to the pre-launch preparations. (NASA)
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6/7 For those eager to be part of the action, NASA Social registration opens on Wednesday, Feb. 21, and closes at 3 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Feb. 27. This is a chance to engage with the mission online using #NASASocial. Registration is limited to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. (NASA)
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7/7 How to Watch and What's Next:  If you can't attend in person, don't worry! The launch will be broadcast on NASA Television and Follow regular updates on @NASA, @NASAKennedy, and @Commercial_Crew. Stay tuned for more NASA Socials in the future, and watch for confirmation emails regarding your registration status by March 1. (NASA)
asteroid 2008 OS7
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Stadium-sized asteroid 2008 OS7 sparked curiosity among scientists with its intriguing surface features. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA recently provided a fascinating glimpse into the cosmos by capturing radar images of a stadium-sized asteroid as it passed by Earth. The asteroid, known as 2008 OS7, made a close approach to our planet on February 2, prompting NASA to utilize its Deep Space Network radar system to obtain detailed images of this celestial object.

NASA snaps Asteroid 2008 OS7

Measuring between 650 feet and 1,640 feet wide, the slowly-spinning asteroid posed no threat to Earth as it drifted past at a safe distance of approximately 2.9 million kilometers, a NASA report stated. This distance is over seven times the gap between our planet and the Moon, ensuring that there was no cause for concern regarding any potential impact. NASA said this asteroid was the size of a stadium! It was declared a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA) by NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). This means its massive size, along with the close distance of approach, could potentially threaten Earth and could cause catastrophic damage if it is impacted.

How was it discovered?

Originally discovered on July 30, 2009, by the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey, 2008 OS7 was identified during routine search operations for near-Earth objects. Analysis of the light reflected by the asteroid provided valuable insights into its size, estimated to be between 200 and 500 meters wide, with a rotation period of approximately 29 and a half hours.

However, the recent radar images obtained by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory revealed intriguing details about the asteroid's surface features. Utilizing the powerful 70-meter Goldstone Solar System Radar antenna dish at the Deep Space Network's facility near Barstow, scientists observed a mix of rounded and angular regions on the asteroid's surface. Moreover, these radar observations indicated that 2008 OS7 was smaller than initially estimated, highlighting the importance of precise measurements in understanding the characteristics of near-Earth objects.

NASA's ongoing efforts to study asteroids and other celestial bodies play a crucial role in enhancing our understanding of the solar system's dynamics and potential hazards. By leveraging advanced radar technology and observational capabilities, scientists continue to unravel the mysteries of the cosmos while ensuring the safety and security of our planet.

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First Published Date: 29 Feb, 19:06 IST