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Radar images of Near-Earth Asteroid 2005 WK4 captured by NASA

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - 19:30

Zee Media Bureau/Salome Phelamei

Pasadena, California: Scientists at the US space agency, NASA, has captured detailed radar images of near-Earth asteroid 2005 WK4 as it passed Earth.

The images of the asteroid were taken on August 8th, 2013 using 230-foot (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, CA.

The asteroid, which is between 660 and 980 feet (200 and 300 meters) in diameter, has a rounded and slightly asymmetric shape. During observations, the distance of the asteroid 2005 WK4 was about 1.93 million miles (3.1 million kilometres), which is 8.2 times the distance between Earth and the moon.

Scientist Lance Benner of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, led the radar observations of the asteroid 2005 WK4.

“Radar is a powerful technique for studying an asteroid’s size, shape, rotation state, surface features and surface roughness, and for improving the calculation of asteroid orbits,” NASA officials said. “Radar measurements of asteroid distances and velocities often enable computation of asteroid orbits much further into the future than if radar observations weren’t available.”

To prevent damage of our planet from asteroids, NASA scientists are keeping a close track over them. According to the NASA officials, till date the US assets have found more than 98 percent of known near-Earth Objects.

Using a telescope, scientists have discovered the 10,000th near-Earth-object in Hawaii in June. So far, scientists have also found more than 90 percent of the huge space rocks.

NASA will launch a robotic probe in 2016 to one of the most potentially dangerous near-Earth objects called asteroid (101955) Bennu. The mission called, OSIRIS-Rex, will be a pathfinder for future spacecraft designed to carry out exploration on any newly discovered threatening objects and will also take samples from the asteroid when it seizes the space rock in 2020.

(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR)

First Published: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - 19:20

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