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Asteroid the Size Of The Eiffel Tower Moving Towards Earth

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Asteroid the Size Of The Eiffel Tower Moving Towards Earth

An asteroid the height of the Eiffel Tower is heading in the direction of earth and due to reach its closest point just before Christmas.

4660 Nereus is classified as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid and would cause a devastating impact if it hit Earth.

But NASA's asteroid monitor has confirmed it poses no threat to humanity, despite being bigger than 90% of other asteroids at 330m.

Moving at 6.578km/second Nereus is almost 11 times faster than an F-16 fighter jet's top speed.

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Credit: Space Reference
Credit: Space Reference

On 11 December it will pass within 3.9 million kilometres of Earth - only 10 times the distance between us and the moon.

It will then move further away to 23 million kilometres on its next pass before dropping by for another close encounter of only 1.2 million kilometres in 2060.

Nereus is an Apollo-class asteroid that crosses the earth's path as we orbit the sun.

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It was first observed on September 30 1981 according to website Space Reference.

We could reach it for exploration purposes in 426 days with a modern human-made rocket.

And scientists have even considered the adventure, according to The Mirror.

Japan once considered sending its spacecraft Hayabusa to check Nereus out.

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Even NASA plotted to reach the over three football pitches-wide asteroid with its Robotic Asteroid Shoemaker Rendezvous probe (don't ask).

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

But all plans ultimately fell through.

We on earth are in fact no strangers to these great lumps of fast-moving rock as large asteroids have entered earth's orbit before.

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An asteroid larger than our very own Big Ben's clock tower travelling at over 80,000km/hour was due to enter our orbit in September.

2021RL3 is up to 110m wide and came within 2.9 million kilometres of us.

That's only seven times the distance to the moon and back, and I bet none of you even knew.

In another close scrape an asteroid the size of the Golden Gate Bridge passed by the earth in March this year.

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It was the largest and fastest space rock to pass our planet in 2021 according to CBS News.

We can be glad Nereus is only dropping by for a wave and a chat.

2021 has been enough for most of us already, and any closer than its current trajectory would be a very antisocial distance.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: UK News

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