|Discovered by Spacewatch|
MPC designation (163249) 2002 GT
Observation arc 5114 days (14.00 yr)
Absolute magnitude 18.4
|Discovery date 3 April 2002|
Minor planet category Apollo
Discovered 3 April 2002
Asteroid group Apollo asteroid
|Aphelion 1.7945 AU (268.45 Gm) (Q)|
Discovery site Kitt Peak National Observatory
Similar 4660 Nereus, 4015 Wilson–Harrington, 1620 Geographos, 26P/Grigg–Skjellerup, (285263) 1998 QE2
(163249) 2002 GT is an Apollo asteroid with an absolute magnitude of 18.26. It is a potentially hazardous asteroid as its orbit crosses that of Earth.
In 2011, NASA considered sending the unmanned spacecraft Deep Impact toward the asteroid with the aim of performing a flyby in 2020. It was uncertain whether Deep Impact carried sufficient fuel for this operation.
On November 24, 2011 and October 4, 2012, the space probe's thrusters were fired briefly for two trajectory correction maneuvers that targeted Deep Impact for an encounter with 2002 GT in 2020, possibly within a distance of no more than 400 kilometers. However, funding for the flyby mission was not guaranteed. In June 2013 the asteroid was observed in radar by the Arecibo Observatory.
However, on August 8, 2013 NASA lost communication with the spacecraft, and on September 20, 2013, NASA abandoned further attempts to contact the craft. According to A'Hearn, the most probable reason of software malfunction was a Y2K-like problem (at 11 August 2013 0:38:49 it was 232 deciseconds from 1 January 2000).