Indian Schoolgirls Spot Asteroid Headed to Earth

Indian Schoolgirls Spot Asteroid Headed to Earth

July 29, 2020
A pair of 10th graders from India has discovered an asteroid that will eventually find its way toward planet Earth.
Schoolgirl scientists: Radhika Lakhani and Vaidehi Vekariya got to name their celestial discovery HLV2514, which they chanced upon while participating in a joint project by Space India and NASA.
Subscribe to
NextShark's Newsletter

A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.

Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.

Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive.

  • Students across India participated in the educational event that allowed them to analyze photos from the telescope situated at the Haleakala Observatory in Hawaii, CNN reports.
  • The participating students were taught how to use image analysis software to identify objects in space.
  • Lakhani andi Vekariya, who both hail from Surat, Gujarat, were among those who studied the pictures captured by NASA’s Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS). 
  • According to Space India senior educator Aakash Dwivedi, the aim of the project was to involve students and educate them in science and astronomy.
Spotting an asteroid: After searching for moving objects in the pictures, Lakhani and Vekariya submitted their analysis to NASA and later received a confirmation. 
  • “We started the project in June and we sent back our analysis a few weeks ago to NASA,” 15-year-old Vekariya was quoted as saying.
  • Vekariya shared that they received an email confirmation from the space agency on July 23 that they had identified an asteroid near Earth.
  • The asteroid, which is currently near Mars’ orbit, is set to change its orbit and eventually move closer to Earth. 
  • As Dwivedi explained, this will occur in 1 million years and will be at an actual distance of over 10 times that of our moon’s distance from Earth.
  • “Asteroids are taken very seriously by NASA. Since this asteroid is changing its orbit it has become news,” he added.
  • The discovery elated Lakhani and Vekariya although they can’t celebrate it due to the pandemic.
  • “This was a dream. I want to become an astronaut,” she said.
Feature Image via SPACE Surat
      Ryan General

      Ryan General is a Senior Reporter for NextShark




      Many people might not know this, but NextShark is a small media startup that runs on no outside funding or loans, and with no paywalls or subscription fees, we rely on help from our community and readers like you.

      Everything you see today is built by Asians, for Asians to help amplify our voices globally and support each other. However, we still face many difficulties in our industry because of our commitment to accessible and informational Asian news coverage.

      We hope you consider making a contribution to NextShark so we can continue to provide you quality journalism that informs, educates, and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for supporting NextShark and our community.

      © 2023 NextShark, Inc. All rights reserved.