Two teenagers in India discovered an asteroid near Mars that is currently on its way toward Earth, according to multiple reports.
Vaidehi Vekariya and Radhika Lakhani, who are both 14, took part in a program with Space India and NASA, which allowed them to view images through a telescope in Hawaii. They used special software to look at images snapped by the telescope.
That’s when they made a discovery — an asteroid, named HLV2514, hanging out near Mars and slowly shifting its orbit toward Earth.
DISCOVERY ALERT!— SPACE India (@Spacian) July 25, 2020
We are proud to announce VAIDEHI VEKARIYA SANJAYBHAI and RADHIKA LAKHANI PRAFULBHAI, two students of P.P. SAVANI CHAITANYA VIDYA SANKUL (CBSE) from Surat with the help of SPACE-AIASC discovered a new Asteroid which is a Near-Earth Object named HLV2514. pic.twitter.com/HXpOvrwxNY
The asteroid won’t hit Earth for 1 million years, CNN reports. It will likely still be 10 times farther away than the moon, too. So no need to panic.
Aakash Dwivedi, senior educator and astronomer at Space India, told CNN that the discovery means something despite it being far off from Earth.
“Asteroids are taken very seriously by NASA. Since this asteroid is changing its orbit it has become news,” said Dwivedi.
The asteroid currently has a random name. But the two teenage girls plan to give it a better name once they have time to think of something.
The girls reportedly found 20 different objects in their photos, according to Vice.
Interestingly, India saw two young schoolboys discover two asteroids within a two-week period before, according to Vice. This happened despite India’s conservative approach to spending on space technology.