World Held Its Breath As Valentine's Asteroid Neared Earth

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February 14, 2000. Just a regular Valentine’s Day! ???? Some flowers and candies, the beginning of the new millennium, and… A good day to make history. A spacecraft finally got a date with asteroid 433 Eros. This "date" almost didn’t happen because an engine misfire caused it to miss the asteroid. But engineers decided to let the spacecraft do the circle around the Sun for one more year, and it eventually made it.

Asteroid 433 Eros is indeed the smallest body in our solar system that got its own spacecraft orbiting it. This asteroid is special in another way too. Most of them end up somewhere between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars and simply pass us by at a safe distance. But not Eros. It became the first of Near-Earth Asteroids. We're now keeping a close eye on this asteroid that's getting too close to Earth for comfort!

More on that and some other mind-blowing space objects. Like the first outer space visitor that entered our solar system! ????????

#brightside

Preview photo credit:
Glimpses into Eros' Shadows: By NASA/JPL/JHUAPL – , Public Domain ,
Animation is created by Bright Side.

CC BY :
Fried Egg Nebula: By ESO/E. Lagadec - ,
The Galactic Centre and Sagittarius B2: By ESO/APEX & MSX/IPAC/NASA,
Artist’s impression of 55 Cancri e: By ESA/Hubble, CC BY ,
Abell 33 Picture Details: By Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona - , CC BY-SA us ,
CC BY-SA :
Three white iPhones side-by-side (from left): 4, 5, and 6: By Eric Jiang,
Tesla Model X P100DL with open falcon wing doors: By Turnstange,
Asteroid Eros Reconstructed: By NEAR Project, NLR, JHUAPL, Goddard SVS, NASA, Public Domain ,
NASA Image and Video Library
Animation is created by Bright Side.
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