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Researchers Tweak Software To Help Near-Earth Asteroid Studies

Creating a model and movements of the asteroids which are closing in on Earth have become 25 times quicker with the help of research done by Washington State University. Scientists from WSU have modified the software which was used to trace thousands of asteroids and comets that are coming close to Earth. They are termed as 1.3 times of the distance to sun or being within 121 million miles. Their work has proved to be phenomenal and would heavily contribute to the study of asteroids and understanding how much risk does any of those pose of a possible collision with Earth.

PhD scholar working under Professor Scott Hudson, Matt Engels in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at WSU has been leading the research and his paper has published in July in Astronomy and Computing. Researchers claimed that they would want to have better information on asteroids including the data on those which might crash into Earth. The rocks are also capable of giving enough data on the basic questions of formation of solar system and proper knowledge on the earlier state of planets. In fact, gathering more information on the composition of asteroids might bring forth chances in asteroid mining.

NASA has a catalogue where the organization has records on 20,000 comets and asteroids. During mid 1990s, scientists only knew about 500 such space rocks. Gradually, with modification of equipments and better telescopes the number of asteroids known to scientists has vastly increased. However, only little information could be gathered on each asteroid. After a new asteroid is seen, modeling it takes a long time and with more knowledge the research gets more difficult.

Hudson has an asteroid after his name and had modeled the basic software which was used for research into understanding the behavior of asteroids. The latest version of the software would operate at a much faster rate. Several operations can be done simultaneously, thus saving up on time.