Two 10th grade girls from India made national headlines after discovering an Earth-bound asteroid.
According to CNN, Radhika Lakhani and Vaidehi Vekariya made the discovery while working on a school project in which students use special software to analyze images captured by the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii. The project is part of an asteroid search campaign launched by SPACE India in partnership with the NASA-affiliated International Astronomical Search Collaboration.
"We started the project in June and we sent back our analysis a few weeks ago to NASA," Vekariya, 15, told the network. "On July 23, they sent us an email confirming that we had identified a near Earth object."
Aakash Dwivedi, an educator and astronomer at SPACE India, told CNN that the asteroid is currently near the orbit of Mars, but is expected to pass Earth in about million years. The object, presently named HLV2514, will reportedly be "at a distance of more than 10 times the distance existing between the Earth and the moon."
"This was a dream. I want to become an astronaut," she said. "It is such a vast topic. There is no limit to search in space, especially the black hole theory."