ISLAMABAD: A massive asteroid that flew past Earth yesterday has its own tiny moon.
NASA made the discovery using its Deep Space Network antenna system, with the radar images showing the small satellite, measuring 70 metres across.
The 325-metre asteroid passed by Earth at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometres – or just over three times the distance between the Earth and moon, Science Daily reported.
NASA said that roughly 16 percent of asteroids that are 200 metres or larger are binary (one primary asteroid and a smaller satellite) or even triple systems.
The space agency also said that Monday’s flyby is the closest the asteroid will come to Earth for at least two centuries.
It won’t be the last time NASA takes a close look at near-Earth asteroids either, with the agency’s future Asteroid Redirect Mission aiming to redirect an
asteroid into an orbit around the moon.
The agency then plans to send astronauts to explore the asteroid in the 2020s.