Science & Tech

An asteroid the height of the Eiffel Tower is set to hurtle past earth

A massive asteroid is set to hurtle toward Earth next month (and we’re talking the height of the Eiffel Tower massive).

According to NASA, the asteroid, 4660 Nereus is classed as a “Potentially Hazardous Asteroid” (PHA) and given the 1,080ft-long space rock is three times the size of a football pitch and larger than 90 per cent of asteroids we can understand why.

Set your calendars for 11 December because that’s when the space rock is supposed to pass Earth at the dizzying speed of 4,000mph.

Although any impact on Earth would be disastrous, fear not because it is no threat to our planet and will travel 2.4 million miles away from Earth (in simpler terms, it’s ten times the distance between Earth and the Moon, so VERY far away from us).

If a space mission were to launch today, it would take 426 days to reach the asteroid.

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However it won’t be the last we see of it as the asteroid is set to be a regular visitor over the course of the next 175 years - 12 times to be exact.

Orbiting the sun every 664 days, we’ll see the space rock once more in March 2031, and again in November 2050.

February 2060 is set to be the closest encounter to Earth, with it travelling just 750,000 away according to experts.

It was back in 1982 that Nereus was first identified by American astronomer Eleanor F. Helin, and the asteroid is a member of the Apollo group of asteroid which are known for crossing the path of Earth when they orbit the Sun.

Meanwhile, it’s not the first asteroid to hurtle past Earth this year.

Just last month, an asteroid bigger than Elizabeth Tower otherwise known as Big Ben - also categorised as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA) - was within 1,804,450 miles of Earth.

This is actually relatively close, when your consider that the Moon is only 238,855 miles away.

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