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2 Asteroids will harmlessly fly by Earth this weekend

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Washington DC: NASA is tracking two medium-sized asteroids that are expected to safely zoom by our planet this weekend.

The space rocks will fly by Earth overnight from from September 13 to September 14 EDT, NASA said in a press update. Near-Earth asteroid 2010 C01, which is estimated to be 400 to 850 feet in size, will safely cruise by our planet at 11:42 p.m. EDT on September 13, while the second object, 2000 QW7, which is about 950 to 2,100 feet in size, will pass by Earth at 7:54 p.m. EDT on September 14.

If you’re concerned about these Near-Earth objects (NEOs) coming in close proximity to our planet, NASA says not to worry: Orbit calculations ruled out the chance that the asteroids could pose a threat to Earth.

“These asteroids have been well observed—once since 2000 and the other since 2010—and their orbits are very well known,” said Lindley Johnson, planetary defense officer and program executive for the Planetary Defense Coordination Office at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. “Both of these asteroids are passing at about 14 lunar distances from the Earth, or about 3.5 million miles away, but small asteroids pass by Earth this close all the time.”

NASA’s Near-Earth Object (NEO) Observations Program scouts, tracks, and monitors near-Earth asteroids and comets. Astronomers supported by the program use telescopes to follow-up with the discoveries and make more measurements. The Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, which is located at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, also uses this information to calculate high-precision orbits for all known near-Earth objects and predict future close approaches by them to our planet.

At the start of this year, the number of spotted NEOs totaled over 19,000 and as of now, it has surpassed 20,000. Over 95 percent of these objects were detected by NASA-funded surveys for the past 21 years.

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Nasa finds Chandrayaan-2 lander Vikram with help of Indian engineer

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New York: NASA has found the crash site and debris of India’s Chandrayaan-2 Vikram moon lander following a tip from an Indian space enthusiast who examined pictures of the area of the moon taken by a US orbiting camera.

The site was located by Shanmuga Subramanian, who on his own scoured the pictures taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbital Camera (LROC), NASA and Arizona State University announced on Monday confirming the find.

The first mosaic image of the likely crash site made from pictures taken by the LROC on September 17 was downloaded by several people to look for signs of the Vikram, NASA said.

One of them, Subramanian, contacted the LROC project with a positive identification of debris, it said.

Arizona State University (ASU), where the LROC project is located, said: “After receiving this tip, the LROC team confirmed the identification by comparing before and after images.”

When the images for the first mosaic were acquired on September 17, the impact point was poorly illuminated and could not easily be identified, it said.

But two image sequences were acquired on October 14 and 15, and on November 11 were better.

The November mosaic shows best the impact crater, ray and extensive debris field. The three largest pieces of debris are each about 2×2 pixels and cast a one pixel shadow.

The three largest pieces of debris are each about 2×2 pixels and casts a one pixel shadow.

The university said that based on Subramanian’s tip, the LROC team scoured the surrounding area in the new mosaics and found the impact site and the debris field.

The impact site is located at 70.8810 degree S, 22.7840 degrees E, at an elevation of 834 metres, it said.

“The debris first located by Shanmuga is about 750 metres northwest of the main crash site,” ASU said.

Vikram lost contact with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) following its launch from Chandraayan-2 moon orbiter on September 6 when it tried to make a softlanding near the moon’s south pole.

In a statement NASA said: “Despite the loss, getting that close to the surface was an amazing achievement.”

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