Thankfully this asteroid is not hitting earth. Asteroid QE2 is set to sail past Earth on May 31. Asteroid QE2 is huge by any yardstick
A massive asteroid will zip past the Earth on May 31. Called the asteroid 1998 QE2, the big space rock will be moving on a trail that is the closest to the earth for the next couple of centuries. In other words, no such a big asteroid is to zip past the earth in next many centuries. The 1998 QE2, which is 1.7 miles long, will fly by within 3.6 million miles of our planet. However, the asteroid is not to poise any threat to Earth as it was previously expected, scientists said.
NASA scientists are finding it as a good chance to learn more about the asteroids and their effect to the earth if they pass the earth that nearer. Using a pair of advanced radar telescopes; NASA’s 230-foot Goldstone dish in California and the 1,000-foot, the study is expected to push out more details about asteroids, their nature and origin. Scientists are all set to look into the entire details about the 1998 QE2 with much passion.
â€œWhenever an asteroid approaches this closely, it provides an important scientific opportunity to study it in detail to understand its size, shape, rotation, surface features and what they can tell us about its origin,” said Lance Benner of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. â€œWe will also use new radar measurements of the asteroid’s distance and velocity to improve our calculation of its orbit and compute its motion farther into the future than we could otherwise,â€ he added.
Asteroid 1998 QE2
This asteroid was found in August 1998 by astronomers, who were working with MIT’s Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) mission in New Mexico. It is one of the largest asteroids human has ever found out and since then it has been in observation of the space scientists. Against the common belief, it is not named in homage to England’s Queen Elizabeth II or the well-known 12-deck ocean liner that ended service in 2008.
Instead, the â€˜1998 QE2â€™ is a simple moniker from the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Mass., The center used to name newfound asteroids as per an established alphanumeric scheme that exposes its date of finding. It is the asteroid that was said to smack New York City and other major parts of the U.S. But, the worry is nothing to do with its May 31 fall. It will easily bypass the earth and will go deep into the space in a few days.
Meanwhile, astronomers are all prepared to study 1998 QE2 deeply from May 30 through June 9 in help of the Goldstone and Arecibo dishes. It is said that Goldstone images can expose the features of the asteroid even from around 4 million miles (6.4 million kilometers). In this stage, it will be as small as 12 feet (3.75 meters), scientists said.
â€œIt is tremendously exciting to see detailed images of this asteroid for the first time,â€ Mr. Benner said. â€œWith radar we can transform an object from a point of light into a small world with its own unique set of characteristics. In a real sense, radar imaging of near-Earth asteroids is a fundamental form of exploring a whole class of solar system objects.â€
NASA team is also working hard to identify potential threats of the 1998 QE2 asteroid. Though it was believed previously that the asteroid would hugely harm the planet, it is not to make any such direct impacts. Yet, chance is high that our earth would be pummelled by space rocks in future as long as there have been a lot of such asteroid attacks throughout its 4.5-billion-year history.