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NASA Observes Stadium-sized Asteroid Near Earth: A Threat or Safe Passage?

Nasa Spots Stadium Sized Asteroid Near Earth

According to Interesting Engineering, Nasa’s Deep Space Network planetary radar has released the initial detailed images of the large asteroid named 2008 OS7.

The asteroid, which flew by Earth on February 2, was not a threat as it was orbiting at a safe distance of 1.8 million miles (2.9 million km), about 7 ½ times the Earth-Moon distance.

Capitalizing on a unique chance, Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California used the 230-foot (70-meter) Goldstone Solar System Radar antenna dish at the Deep Space Network’s Barstow facility to capture detailed images as the asteroid made a close approach.

In 2008, the Catalina Sky Survey found this asteroid, allowing scientists to collect detailed data because of how close it was.

The data collected enabled JPL scientists to evaluate the asteroid’s dimensions, rotation, structure, and surface characteristics. Light measurements showed that the asteroid’s width varied between 500 and 650 feet (150 and 200 meters), and it rotated slowly, taking around 29 ½ hours to complete one full turn.

Nasa’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) used recent distance measurements to improve calculations regarding the asteroid’s orbit around the Sun.

2008 OS7 is classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid because of its proximity and size. Despite this classification, it posed minimal risk during its closest approach on February 2, which was the closest it would come to Earth in at least two centuries.

CNEOS, which is managed by JPL, concentrates on identifying and tracking objects larger than 460 feet (140 meters) that have the potential to cause significant damage if they were to impact Earth.


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