NASA Is Tracking Asteroid Nereus As Near Earth Object Worth $5B In Precious Metals

nereus asteroid

An asteroid that’s roughly the dimensions of the Eiffel Tower is nearing Earth’s orbit this month. The large area rock can be estimated to be comprised of valuable metals value practically $5 billion {dollars}.

It has been lower than a month since NASA launched its Double Asteroid Redirection Check (DART), which is sending a satellite tv for pc by area to slam into the asteroid Dimorphos. The take a look at is being performed so as to discover out if doing so can safely alter the trajectory of a big asteroid that has the potential to influence Earth and will trigger large destruction. Whereas NASA doesn’t anticipate an asteroid with that potential within the close to future, ones like Nereus that’s nearing Earth’s orbit remind all of us that sometime the danger may nonetheless be there.

This specific asteroid being watched carefully by NASA and others is known as 4660 Nereus. The identify Nereus is derived after the Greek sea god who was the son of Gaia, the personification of Earth. It is projected to be coming into Earth’s orbit on December eleventh. The very massive asteroid that’s estimated to be across the identical measurement because the Eiffel Tower is touring at a velocity of 14,700 mph (23,700 km/h). This flyby of Earth will probably be round 2.4 million miles (3.86 km) away from our planet, however nonetheless nearer than it has been in 20 years.

nereus size
Asteroid Nereus Measurement Approximation – Credit score: NASA

The asteroid first made the information when it was found in 1982 by E.F. Helin. Nereus made the headlines as soon as once more again in 2009 when NASA deliberate an try to land on its floor and extract minerals from it. The workforce was to be led by Donald Ok. Yeomans, the supervisor of NASA’s Close to-Earth Object Program Workplace on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, along with a Japanese-led workforce. That try was later scrubbed when the Japanese-led Hayabusa mission selected one other near-Earth object, Itokawa, that returned a pattern from its floor in 2010.

Though the danger of Nereus impacting Earth is slim, the occasion continues to be being flagged by NASA as a possible risk. This occurs anytime an object in area comes inside 120 million miles of Earth, however it could be Nereus’ flyby across the 12 months 2060 that has some extra excited. That is when the asteroid is projected to come back inside roughly 0.74 million miles (1.2 million km) of Earth. This locations the vastly mineral-rich asteroid inside three moons distance from Earth and will probably be an especially tempting goal for mining of its valuable metals. It’s thought that Nereus incorporates nickel, iron and cobalt with an estimated worth of round $4.71 billion.

NASA isn’t the one area company planning a direct influence take a look at on asteroids. China can be within the early planning levels of conducting their very own influence take a look at. They’re wanting into the potential of sending 23 of their Lengthy March 5 rockets on a mission to slam into asteroid Bennu, diverting it from a probably disastrous influence with Earth. So, if there ever is a real danger a Earth-bound catastrophic occasion, there are contingency plans being labored on at the moment by varied organizations that may hopefully save us all.

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