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Scout: NASA’s Intruder Alert System Discovers Massive Rock Close Enough To Earth

First Posted: Nov 25, 2016 02:48 AM EST

Scientists and astronomers have discovered a massive asteroid that was close to the vicinity of the Earth on Nov. 20, 2016. But they are confidently sure it would not collide with the planet, thanks to a new NASA tool designed to detect potentially dangerous asteroids.

According to Scoop.It!, the space rock was detected in Maui, Hawaii, by NASA's newly computer based program called Scout. The tool is developed to detect incoming dangerous asteroids that probably targeting the Earth.

The computer-based program is still undergoing test at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasedena, California. It aims to scan data from telescopes located worldwide and report calculations such as the estimated size, speed and the trajectory of the NEO or (Near Earth Object) that could potentially hit the Earth.

According to Paul Chodas, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab Astronomer, "The NASA surveys are finding something like at least five asteroids every night. When a telescope first finds a moving object, all you know is it's just a dot, moving on the sky." In addition, "The more telescopes you get pointed at an object, the more data you get, and the more you're sure how big it is and which way it's headed. But sometimes you don't have a lot of time to make those observations."

Furthermore, JPL's Davide Farnocchia said that, "Objects can come close to the Earth shortly after discovery, sometime one day, two days, even hours in some cases." The main objective of Scout is to determine the discovery process as fast as it could possibly be.

NPR reported that space rock that whizzed on Oct. 26 was discovered on the night of Oct. 25 to Oct. 26 by the NASA-funded Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) in Maui, Hawaii. After a few hours, initial details appeared on the web page, which was maintained by the Minor Planet Center at the Smithsonian Observatory. Finally, Scout calculated that the rock will miss on striking the Earth by 300,000 kilometers.

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