Radika Lahani and Vaidehi Vekaria, both in 10th grade, were working on a school project when they discovered an asteroid named HLV2514.
Aakash Dwivedi, a senior lecturer and astronomer in space India, told CNN that students across India were taught how to spot celestial bodies using software that analyzes images collected by NASA’s PAN Star telescope. Then the students looked for moving objects in the pictures.
The project, Duvedi explained, aimed to attract and educate students in science and astronomy.
“We started the project in June, and we sent an analysis to NASA a few weeks ago. On July 23, they sent us an email confirming that we had discovered an object near Earth,”; Vecarias, 15, told CNN. .
Dwivedi explained that the asteroid is currently close to the orbit of Mars – but in 1 million years it will change its orbit and move closer to Earth, although it will still be more than 10 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
“NASA asteroids are taken very seriously. As this asteroid changes its orbit, this is news,” Duvidi said.
Asteroids, also known as minor planets, are small rocky objects that orbit the Sun.
Vecarias said students could not celebrate the discovery because of the pandemic, but added: “It was a dream. I want to become an astronaut.”
She said: “This is such a broad topic. There are no limits to space search, especially black hole theory.”