Have you ever thought about the Universe as one giant mysterious mechanism with a personality that constantly likes to remind us all about how insignificant we truly are? If your answer is “yes”, it means you’re pretty realistic. Nature follows that recipe pretty often, and an upcoming asteroid could prove it.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the asteroid dubbed 4660 Nereus (aka 1982 DB) will be heading our way in December. NASA’s asteroid tracker confirms the news.
4660 Nereus measures 330 meters long
While the asteroid measures 330 meters long (more than the Eiffel Tower, which measures 300 meters in height), it’s no need to be Einstein to figure out that you certainly wouldn’t want the rock to land anywhere near you. An impact with such an asteroid would be very bad for our planet.
However, there’s no need to worry, as 4660 Nereus will safely miss us.
Passing by Earth at 3.9 million kilometers away
Although the asteroid in question will head towards our planet on December 11, it will go by it at roughly 3.9 million kilometers. This means that there’s no possible way for an impact between the asteroid and our planet.
The 4660 Nereus asteroid also brings some rare opportunities for astronomers to explore it. Due to its orbit, the space rock will often arrive somewhere close to our planet.
Although NASA is usually scanning the sky for potential threats, it cannot possibly locate them all. For instance, one asteroid that passed by our planet recently at less than 2,000 miles away went undetected by astronomers. But the good news is that the latter asteroid was only about the same size as a wardrobe.
Exploring asteroids is also another opportunity to look for traces of alien life. For instance, last month, we learned that NASA is preparing to look for signs of life on trojan asteroids using its Lucy probe.