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NASA's new warning system can spot incoming asteroids

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NASA's new asteroid-monitoring system spotted a massive asteroid flying past Earth Sunday night. 

Thanks to the new computer program called Scout, astronomers knew the asteroid wouldn't hit Earth. In fact, it helped astronomers predict the asteroid's flight path. 

The new tool is currently being tested at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, according to NPR

The NASA surveys are finding something like at least five asteroids every night.
Astronomer Paul Chodas

Scout is essentially constantly scanning data from telescopes, looking for comets and asteroids, which are known as Near Earth Objects. 

Once one is detected, Scout can make quick calculations to determine whether that object poses any sort of threat to Earth. 


As for the asteroid that flew by Earth Sunday night, it was spotted the night of Oct. 25-26 by the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System in Maui, Hawaii. 

According to NPR, Scout quickly determined that the massive rock would miss Earth by about 310,000 miles.

Right now, Scout  is still in a testing phase. Once it is fully operational it will join Sentry, another system that's already up and running. 


Sentry has a similar function, but it is designed to identify large objects that could hit Earth and wipe out an entire city. 

 The overall goal is to eventually be able to identify an asteroid's path and be able to assure the public that no one is in danger. 

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