Asteroid the size of the Eiffel Tower heads towards earth next month

Scientists hope to explore the new asteroid named 4660 Nereus when it passes earth on December 11.

Asteroid the size of the Eiffel Tower heads towards earth next month
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An asteroid estimated to be about the same size as the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris is heading for Earth next month. But according to the US space agency, NASA, there is no cause for alarm.

The 4660 Nereus

The asteroid, named 4660 Nereus, 330m wide and is thought to be a ‘potentially hazardous’ rock. However, NASA’s asteroid tracker assures that is unlikely to pose any threat when it passes within 2.4m miles of earth on December 11. It is expected to make a dozen more close passes in the next four or five decades.

It has been predicted that the closest the steroid might get to earth will be on February 14, 2020, from a distance of 745,645 miles. For some context, the distance between the Earth and the Moon is around 239,000 miles.

Scientists first discovered 4660 Nereus in 1982, and because of its close orbit to Earth it is potentially accessible by spacecraft.

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Next month’s event will give scientists the opportunity to explore the moving space rock Getty Images

Worth Exploring

Next month’s event will give scientists the opportunity to explore the moving space rock. Although there are no immediate missions planned for the asteroid, it is being considered and could happen before it passes earth.

Massive asteroids have a tendency to pass by Earth. In March, CBS News reported that an asteroid close to the size of the Golden Gate Bridge passed by Earth. It was thought to be the largest and fastest space rock to pass by Earth in 2021.

Asteroids are considered targets for future mining operations, with three countries having previously landed spacecraft on them. Last month, the United Arab Emirates announced plans for missions to explore asteroids, and would become the first Arab country to do so.

Scheduled to start in 2028, the UAE’s missions will include exploration of seven asteroids as well as Venus, culminating with a 2033 asteroid landing.

An Asteroid Big Enough To Wipe Out A Continent Will Be Heading Towards Earth Next Week An Asteroid Big Enough To Wipe Out A Continent Will Be Heading Towards Earth Next Week