Astronomers have found 10,000th near-Earth object, i.e. asteroid 2013 MZ5, with the help of the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope atop Haleakala.
According to NASA, this asteroid is about 1,000 feet across and would not cause any harm to Earth.
Pan-STARRS 1 has found nearly 600 out of 10,000 near-Earth objects, said University of Hawaii astronomer Richard Wainscoat. This telescope is operated by the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy and receives NASA funding.
“The first near-Earth object was discovered in 1898,” said Don Yeomans, long-time manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “Over the next hundred years, only about 500 had been found. But then, with the advent of NASA’s NEO Observations program in 1998, we’ve been racking them up ever since. And with new, more capable systems coming on line, we are learning even more about where the NEOs are currently in our solar system, and where they will be in the future.”
“Finding 10,000 near-Earth objects is a significant milestone,” said Lindley Johnson, program executive for NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. “But there are at least 10 times that many more to be found before we can be assured we will have found any and all that could impact and do significant harm to the citizens of Earth.”