Baku, Azerbaijan, March 29
By Farhad Daneshvar, Dalga Khatinoglu - Trend:
The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has decided to name an asteroid formerly known as (5515) 1989 EL1 after Firouz Michael Naderi, an Iranian-American scientist and the Director for Solar System Exploration at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the scientist said in a Facebook post.
"Tonight at NASA/JPL farewell party I learned that they have named an asteroid after me!!! I was overwhelmed," Naderi posted on his Facebook page March 29.
The scientist also included a diagram of solar system to his Facebook post, which indicates the asteroid named after him. The image resembles the diagrams drawn during the Renaissance period.
"Asteroid formerly known as (5515) 1989 EL1 will henceforth be known as asteroid 'Naderi'," he added.
"It will be going around the Sun for billions of years after I am gone," the scientist also said.
According to Naderi, the asteroid is about 10 kilometers in diameter and orbits the Sun every 4.4 years.
It rotates around itself every 5.2 hours and orbits in the Main Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter, added Naderi.
Saying that the asteroid is not an Earth-crosser, he added that its orbit is a little more eccentric than most asteroids in the main belt.
In a separate post, Naderi explained that the procedure of naming celestial objects follows an international protocol overseen by International Astronomical Union (IAU), which has the mission to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy through international cooperation.
"When IAU receives a petition to name an asteroid after a person the petition is reviewed by the IAU's Committee for Small Body Naming (CSBN) and if they see merit they will approve," he said. "Note neither NASA, nor any other space agency of any other country has the power to rename space objects (planets, moons, comets, asteroid, etc.)."
"In my case the petition was put forward by NASA/JPL and approved through the above process," added Naderi.