According to NASA, the potentially dangerous asteroid 4460 Nereus will make its closest path to Earth in the past 20 years. As scary as it sounds, it wouldn’t pose any kind of problem for us. The agency recently announced two new 2030 space missions.
The oval-shaped asteroid is about 330 meters high, larger than the Eiffel Tower, and it will enter Earth’s orbit next Saturday (11). It travels at a speed of 23,700 km / h and will travel 386,000 km from Earth, which is 10 times the distance between our planet and the Moon, and is considered very close.
NASA considers any space object located within 193 million km of Earth as “close” and if it exceeds the 7.5 million km mark, it is described as “dangerous”. As a result, astronomers began to closely observe these objects, looking for any signs that could change their course and have a direct impact on the planet.
Nereus was discovered in 1982 and passes close to our planet every 10 years. Even NASA and JAXA, the Japanese space agency, considered taking a sample of the asteroid to study, but ended up choosing 25143 Itokawa.
According to NASA studies, Nereus will pass close to Earth again on March 2, 2031 and in November 2050. A closer pass will occur on February 14, 2060, as the asteroid will pass 1.2 million km from our planet, making it just 3 moons.
The asteroid is also a target for those considering space mining. Asterank, a database that tracks more than 600,000 asteroids, estimates that Nereus is rich in nickel, iron and cobalt deposits, valued at 4.71 billion US dollars (27 billion Brazilian reals).
If an asteroid ever has a direct path toward us, space agencies are already thinking of a solution. On November 23, NASA launched a spacecraft as part of a twin asteroid redirection test mission that aims to change the course of space objects through collision.
China also has a similar project, but using Long March 5 series rockets. Live Science reported that tests with the asteroid Bennu showed that Chinese technology was successful and could deflect an asteroid, preventing a catastrophic impact on the planet. The asteroid made the news in August of this year.
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