The binary asteroid 1998 QE2 zipped past the Earth

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QE2 was discovered on August 19, 1998 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research program). It has an elliptical 3.77 year orbit. However, nobody can say exactly where it came from.

“This is a really big asteroid, similar in size to the one that killed the dinosaurs” said for the Times Amy Mainzer, researcher at Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The existence of his moon was a real surprise for the scientists.

The high resolution images captured at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico are a great scientific opportunity to study in detail some physical aspects of this asteroid.

Tracking asteroids is a high priority for NASA and US has the most productive survey and detection program for discovering near Earth objects. In 2012, the Near Earth Object budget was increased from $6 million to $20 million.

Because the study of asteroids and comets is a big opportunity to learn more about the origins of our solar system, the source of water on Earth and even the origin of the life, NASA recently announced a future mission to identify, capture and relocate and asteroid for human exploration.
(Sequence of NASA radar images of the asteroid 1998 QE2. The small white dot is the moon).

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