NASA writes that a giant, “dangerous” space rock larger than the Eiffel Tower will pass through Earth this week. Space.com.
The egg-shaped asteroid 4660 Nerius, which is 330 meters long, will enter Earth’s orbit at a speed of 23,700 kilometers per hour on Saturday, December 11. Fortunately, for all our weekend projects, we expect this asteroid to pass close to Earth at a safe distance, but it will be closer than 20 years.
Nerius, named after the Greek god of the sea, son of Earth, Gaya, is about 3.86 million kilometers, about 10 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. This may seem like a huge gap, but by cosmic standards it is actually a stone’s throw away.
According to NASA’s classification, any celestial body larger than 150 meters, passing close to 7.5 million kilometers from Earth, is considered hazardous and is being monitored.
Nerius’s 1.8-year orbit, discovered in 1982, brings the Sun closer to Earth every 10 years.
NASA estimates that the asteroid will have its next orbit in March 2031 and November 2050. On February 14, 2060, Nerius is expected to form a very close orbit 1.2 million km from Earth (three times the distance from Earth to the Moon). ).
This short distance makes it tempting from a mining perspective, writes Space.com. Asterang, a database of more than 600,000 asteroids, estimates that Nerius has $ 4.71 billion in nickel, iron and cobalt deposits.
Because Nerius regularly visits our solar system, NASA and the Japanese space agency Jaxa once planned to send the Hayabusa spacecraft to collect soil samples, but eventually sent a collection mission to another asteroid (25143 Itokawa).
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