May 29, 2012
Newly Found Asteroid Passes Earth At Safe Distance
In the early hours Tuesday morning a newly-discovered asteroid whizzed by Earth at a relatively safe distance of 14,000 miles, also posing no danger to communication satellites in orbit, according to reports.
The asteroid, named 2012 KT42, entered the Clark Belt of geosynchronous satellites and passed by the planet shortly after midnight, SN Raghunandan Kumar of Planetary Society of India told PTI.
The less-than-20-foot-wide asteroid ranks in the top ten closest Earth approaches. While the object passed over the Pacific Ocean, with Hawaii being the closest approach point, it was invisible to the naked eye.
Even though it passed by at a safe distance, the rock would have not posed any significant danger if it did strike. Because of its small stature, the asteroid most likely would have disintegrated in the atmosphere, showering the planet with tiny meteorite fragments, said Kumar.
Experts said 2012 KT42 should not be mistaken for 2012 KP24, which also recently made a pass by Earth.
Go to http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=2012%20KT42&orb=1 to view a diagram of the path of 2012 KT42.