Huge earth-passing asteroid identified as `entirely new beast`
Washington: Scientists have discovered that a big asteroid that flew past Earth last month belongs to a new category of space rock, thanks to new radar images captured by the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.
Asteroid 1998 QE2 and its moon sailed within 3.6 million miles (5.8 million kilometers) of Earth on May 31, making their closest approach to our planet for at least the next two centuries.
Arecibo`s Ellen Howell reveled in a statement that the asteroid is dark, red, and primitive - which means that it hasn`t been heated or melted as much as other asteroids, Discovery News reported.
Howell added that QE2 is an entirely new beast in the menagerie of asteroids near Earth.
The asteriod was discovered in August 1998 by astronomers working with MIT `s Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research program in New Mexico. The space rock completes one lap around the sun every 3.8 years.
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