Super-Close Asteroid Flyby Reveals Space Rock Secrets
Leonard David, SPACE.com's Insider Columnist
Date: 28 June 2012 Time: 12:20 PM ET
Astronomers with the Remanzacco Observatory in Italy
captured this view of the small asteroid 2012 KT42 as it zipped close by
Earth on May 29, 2012.
CREDIT: Remanzacco Observatory
Last month's flyby of Earth by asteroid 2012 KT42 was the sixth-closest asteroid encounter on record. It whizzed by inside the orbital distance of Earth geosynchronous satellites.
This near miss was tracked by the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii, yielding valuable data about the speeding space rock.
Asteroid KT42 was discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey project in Tucson, Ariz., which spotted the object a scant 23 hours before its closest approach on May 29. That allowed time to trigger a preplanned "Rapid Response Program" involving an international team of astronomers led by asteroid experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.
Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
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