2.7 km long asteroid set to fly past Earth
In the next 200 years, an asteroid will never come this close to earth as much as it is going to on May 31, 2013 at 4:59pm Eastern time. 2.7km long Asteroid 1998 QE2, which will pass as close as 3.6 million miles from earth does not, however, pose any kind of threat to the planet, despite its gigantic size.
Such kind of an asteroid, which comes in such close proximity to earth gives scientists a whole new experience and a chance to look at it very closely. Scientists are planning to scan through the asteroid with the help of a 230-feet wide dish telescope. Astronomers are expected to study the asteroid QE2 from May 30 through June 9. They expect to explore and come up with interesting facts.
Radar astronomer Lance Benner, the principal investigator for the Goldstone radar observations from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif, said, as quoted by planetsave.com: “Asteroid 1998 QE2 will be an outstanding radar imaging target at Goldstone and Arecibo and we expect to obtain a series of high-resolution images that could reveal a wealth of surface features. Whenever 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.”
“We 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.”
It was on August 19, 1998 that this asteroid was said to be discovered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (Linear) program near Socorro, New Mexico, reported news.com.au.