Asteroid 4660 Nereus will approach our planet next week. It is egg-shaped, about 330 meters long, which means that it is slightly larger than the Eiffel Tower. The cosmic body is, on average, close to Earth once every decade. But this time, it will be very close.
Asteroid 4660 Nereus is elliptical and about 330 meters long, which is 30 meters more than the Eiffel Tower in Paris. On December 11, that is, upon entering the Earth’s orbit, the body will accelerate to a speed of 23.7 thousand. kilometers per hour.
Astronomers do not expect an asteroid to collide with Earth. However, they confirmed that the object was not very close to our planet 20 years ago. It would be about 3.86 million km away, 10 times the distance between Earth and the Moon. On a cosmic scale, it’s like a stone’s throw away.
4660 Nereus Near Earth
The asteroid is named after Nereus – the Greek god of the sea, who was the son of Gaia (who was in turn the personification of the Earth).
NASA defines any space object 193 million km from our planet as a “Near-Earth Object”. The target is close to the groundt, NEO), and any rapid movement about 7.5 million km from Earth as a “potential hazard”. After marking these objects, astronomers carefully monitor them and look for any deviations from the expected trajectory that could lead to their possible collision with Earth.
seductive search object
First discovered in 1982, the asteroid Nereus orbits the Sun for 1.82 years, and approaches Earth approximately every 10 years. Since it often visits our region of the solar system, NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA once thought about sampling it with the Hayabusa space probe. In the end, a different asteroid (25,143 Itokawa) was selected.
NASA predicts that Nereus will approach Earth again on March 2, 2031 and in November 2050. A closer meeting is scheduled for February 14, 2060 – after which the asteroid will be about 1.2 million km from Earth.
Scientists say Nereus is tempting to study, too. According to the Asterank database, which monitors more than 600,000 asteroids, this “potentially dangerous object” contains huge deposits of nickel, iron and cobalt with a total value of $4.71 billion.
Main image source: stock struggle
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