NASA has shown that a "potentially dangerous" hippopotamus asteroid has just flown over the earth – and it will not be visible for more than 50 years. It is officially known as the 2003 SD220 Asteroid and shows radar that it's a mile long
An asteroid shaped like a waddling hippopotamus was taken by NASA at a distance of 1.8 million miles (2.9 million km ) discovered by the earth.
The Space Agency has classified space rock as "potentially dangerous" because of its proximity to the Earth, but says that it does not pose a threat to life on our planet.
This is the closest asteroid approach for more than 400 years, and it will not be 52 years, astronomers say.
Radar images show that the rock rotates every 12 days and has a complex rotation, much like a badly thrown American football, NASA claims.
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. An asteroid in the form of a wading hippopotamus (pictured) was discovered by NASA at 1.8 million miles (2.9 miles) from the Earth. It is officially known as the Asteroid 2003 SD220, and new images of space rock are at least 1.6 km long
. It is officially known as the 2003 SD220 Asteroid, and new images of space rock are at least a few miles long.
NASA compared the shape of the asteroid to that of an "exposed section of a hippopotamus wading in a river."
The most notable feature of the asteroid, according to NASA, is a ridge that protrudes more than 300 feet (100 meters). above the surface.
All images were obtained through a partnership between NASA's 70-meter antenna in California, the National Science Foundation's 100-meter telescope in West Virginia, and the Arecibo Observatory's 305-meter antenna in Puerto Rico.
"The radar images achieve unprecedented levels of detail and are comparable to those obtained from a spacecraft flyby," said Lance Benner of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and the scientist who led the observations at Goldstone.
The most striking surface feature is a distinctive ridge that seems to wind partially around the asteroid at one end.
"The ridge extends about 330 feet [100 meters] above the surrounding terrain.
" Numerous small light patches are visible in the data and may be reflections of boulders.
"The images also show a collection of dark, circular elements on the right edge, which can be craters."
A potentially dangerous asteroid (PHA) is an asteroid whose orbit is closer to Earth than 0.05AU (about 7.5 million km) lies. It is assumed that the earth is hit once every 200-300 years (image)
WHAT IS A POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS OBJECT?
A potentially dangerous asteroid (PHA) is an asteroid whose orbit comes closer than 0.05AU (about 7.5 million km) to Earth.
He also has a diameter of at least 100 meters.
According to the International Astronomical Union, there are about 1500 dangerous asteroids.
While this does not pose any threat to the Earth, asteroids of this size can cause devastation when they land on our planet, especially in heavily populated areas.
It is assumed that every 200 – 300 years one meets the earth once.
The images combined data and resources from the three different observatories and produced a resolution of 3.7 meters (12 feet) per pixel – 20 times finer than the previous images.
"The new details that we discovered in the geology of the SD220 from 2003 will allow us to reconstruct shape and rotation, as was the case with Bennu, the target of the OSIRIS REx mission," said Edgard Rivera. Valentín, USRA scientist at the LPI.
"The detailed reconstruction of the shape allows us to better understand how these small bodies have formed and evolved over time."