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Back-to-back asteroids harmlessly fly past Earth

Tuesday - 5/29/2012, 7:21pm  ET

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - A newly discovered small asteroid has harmlessly zipped close to Earth _ just as scientists expected.

The 16-foot-long space rock, discovered on Memorial Day, passed by early Tuesday at a distance of 8,950 miles from the Earth's surface.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which tracks such flybys, said the asteroid _ dubbed 2012 KT42 _ was the sixth closest asteroid approach.

It was the second asteroid encounter this week. On Monday, another asteroid, measuring 69 feet across, flew by at a distance of 32,000 miles.

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