The discovery of the nearest recognized SUV-sized asteroid to travel past Earth has been attributed to two IIT Bombay (Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay) students named Kunal Deshmukh and Kritti Sharma, who was working on a research project. The large space rock, named 2020 QG, flew by the Earth on Sunday, August 16, without impacting the earth. Both students are from Pune and Haryana.
Before the 2020 QG, the previously known record-holding asteroid 2011 CQ1, discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey in 2011, had passed above Earth about 2,500 km higher than the 2020 QG, according to an official statement.
The students — Deshmukh and Sharma — working on a research project to hunt for “Near Earth Asteroids” — discovered the space rock just hours later using data from the robotic Zwicky Transient Facility, (ZTF), California.
According to an official statement from IIT Bombay, the celestial object 2020 QG was identified by Deshmukh, a final year student in the Department of Metallurgy and Materials Science. Deshmukh had been scanning that day’s images along with Sharma, who is also a student at IIT Bombay, and Chen-Yen Hsu at the National Central University, Taiwan.
Meanwhile, the space rock 2020 QG is said to be between 10 to 20 feet across or roughly the size of an SUV and could have burnt up in the Earth’s atmosphere.
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