Asteroid 1998 KY26

Asteroid 1998 KY26

. This lumpy, fast-spinning, near-Earth asteroid is just 30 meters across and it rotates with a period of just 10.7 minutes. These pictures of a computer-generated model were obtained by bouncing radar signals off the object when it passed within 800 kilometers from Earth, or at about twice the distance between the Earth and the Moon. The radar reflectivity showed similarities to carbonaceous chondrites, primordial meteorites that contain 10 percent to 20 percent water, suggesting that this asteroid might contain about a million gallons of water. The asteroid is too small for gravity to play a role in its shape, so its lumpy, round, nearly spherical shape is the result of collisions with other asteroids. (Courtesy of Steven J. Ostro, JPL.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University