Final confirmation of the identity of 2020 SO came from a team led by Vishnu Reddy, an associate professor and planetary scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona. “My job description is pretty simple—if something is going to hit the Earth, I tell what it is made of…before it hits us of course!”says Reddy, who performed follow-up observations using NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility. He and his team compared the spectrum data from 2020 SO with that of 301 stainless steel, the material used to construct Centaur rocket boosters in the 1960s.
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