Asteroid listed by Nasa as ‘hazardous’ set to enter Earth’s orbit next week

Asteroid listed by Nasa as ‘hazardous’ set to enter Earth’s orbit next week

An asteroid that is reportedly bigger than the Eiffel Tower is set to skim by Earth with the next few days.

Asteroid 4660 Nereus will break into Earth’s orbit on December 11 but should thankfully pass the planet by without harm. This will mark the closest point it has been to Earth in the last 20 years.

That being said, Nasa still lists the meteor as “potentially hazardous” due to its close proximity to Earth of 4.6 million miles away, which is about 10 times the distance between the Moon and Earth.

While that is still quite a distance away from Earth, it is still considered by Nasa to be a “Near Earth Object” – which is anything that is passing within 120 million miles of our little blue dot.

That being said, Forbes reports that Nasa is already observing the rock for data that could be used on future study missions. Due to Nereus’s shape and orbital path with the Sun, it would make an ideal asteroid to send a robotic craft to and also for mining purposes.

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Previous studies have suggested that Nereus would be an ideal asteroid to mine for minerals such as nickel, iron and cobalt.

A paper published in 2009 names Nereus as a “strong candidate for a rendezvous mission” as “spacecraft orbits about Nereus are feasible.”

Although its trajectory isn’t currently on a collision course with Earth any small change could be catastrophic. Last week, Nasa unveiled their plans to crash an asteroid into an asteroid that is heading to Earth.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test, assessed whether it is possible to crash a spacecraft into an asteroid to see if it could be knocked off of its path.

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