New Delhi: Sunday night brought with it a celestial delight as an asteroid with a 90-million tonne platinum-core worth five trillion dollars hurtled past earth.
Asteroid UW-158, loaded with rich Platinum, passed 1.5 million miles away from Earth, that is, 30 times closer than our nearest planet, according to Slooh Community Observatory.
— SLOOH (@Slooh) July 19, 2015
Being six times further away than the moon’s orbit, the asteroid was far enough and hence not visible to the naked eye.
However, those keen to enjoy the visual delight of the asteroid whooshing past earth were not disappointed as the Slooh Observatory based in Canary Islands played a live-broadcast, tracking the online path of the so-called “trillion dollar baby”.
“It is always fun when an asteroid whooshes past our world, so Slooh will be watching live when UW-158 passes 30 times closer to us than the nearest planet, on July 19,” Slooh Astronomer Bob Berman was quoted as saying by the reports.
The fact that the asteroid contains a rich platinum core was deduced by a company called Planetary Resources, that delves in the future of asteroid mining. Describing the asteroid UW-158 as an "X-type", the company said it was a key example of the asteroid which the company would like to mine in future.
Planetary Resource has recently successfully deployed its test-spacecraft Arkyd 3 Reflight (A3R) from the International Space Station (ISS), that will during its 3-month mission, test some basic technologies to identify near-Earth asteroids for potentially valuable resources.